Urinary Incontinence -- Male

Urinary incontinence is the loss of voluntary bladder control that can lead to urine leakage. Incontinence can be temporary or long-lasting. It is a symptom, not a condition.

  • Causes

    The causes may vary with the type of incontinence.

  • Definition

    Urinary incontinence is the loss of voluntary bladder control that can lead to urine leakage. Incontinence can be temporary or long-lasting. It is a symptom, not a condition.

  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. You will be asked about your urine leakage and how often you empty your bladder. A physical exam will be done to look for any physical causes. These include blockages or nerve problems. Your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of your urinary habits.

    You may be referred to a specialist. Urologists are doctors who focus on urinary issues.

    Tests to help find the cause of the incontinence may include:

    • Stress test—you relax, and then cough as your doctor watches for loss of urine (this will confirm if you have stress incontinence)
    • Urine tests
    • Tests to explore problems with your prostate (such as a prostate exam or blood tests)
    • Blood tests to detect diabetes
    • Ultrasound—uses sound waves to examine structures inside the body to determine if any urine remains in your bladder after urinating
    • Cystoscopy
      —a thin tube with a tiny camera is inserted into the urethra to view the urethra and bladder
    • Urodynamic tests—used to measure the flow of urine and the pressure in the bladder

  • Prevention

    Incontinence is really a symptom of another condition. There are several ways to prevent incontinence:

    • Reduce your intake of substances that lead to incontinence. These include caffeine, alcohol, and certain drugs.
    • Lose weight.
    • Avoid and treat constipation.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your risk of incontinence include:

    • Age: older than 65
    • History of prostate surgery

    • Prostate enlargement due to
      benign prostatic hyperplasia
      (BPH), infection, or
      prostate cancer
    • Urinary tract infection
    • Obesity
    • Chronic lung disease
    • Urethritis
    • Depression
    • Dementia
      (including
      Alzheimer’s disease
      )
    • Diabetes
    • Stroke
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Spinal cord injury or disease

    • Use of certain substances or medicines:

      • Caffeine
      • Alcohol
      • Beta-blockers
      • Alpha-agonists
      • Cholinergic agents
      • Cyclophosphamide

  • Symptoms

    Urinary incontinence is a symptom of other conditions. Any loss of bladder control can be considered incontinence.

    With stress incontinence, leakage may happen when there is extra pressure on your bladder. This can happen when you laugh, sneeze, lift heavy objects, or exercise.

    With urge incontinence, you may have a loss of bladder control following a strong urge to urinate. You may not be able to hold urine long enough to make it to a toilet.

  • Treatment

    Treatments may include: