Incontinence is a condition in which the bladder leaks urine against a person’s will. This condition may be minor (a few drops here and there), or it may be severe. Below, you will find three myths about male incontinence as well as information on how you can control your incontinence.
Incontinence is a Normal Symptom of Advanced Age
Some people believe incontinence is a natural part of getting older. However, this is not particularly true. Though people do tend to develop incontinence as they grow older, it is not an inevitable sign of growing older.
Some men may be embarrassed to speak with a doctor about their incontinence. However, it is best to seek medical advice if you experience any of the following:
- Incontinence affects your daily routine
- You develop rashes or an infection from having chronically wet skin
- You have diabetes or another disorder that might impact your bladder
- You are overdue for a prostate exam
Incontinence is a Female Problem
Some people believe that, due to differences in anatomy, only females have trouble with bladder control. The truth is, millions of men in the United States also have trouble controlling their bladders. Though females are more likely to develop bladder issues during pregnancy and menopause, men can also develop bladder problems over time. Here are a few risk factors for urinary incontinence:
- Family history
- Other illnesses (such as diabetes or neurological diseases)
One way in which people attempt to combat incontinence is by training their bladders. Go to the bathroom and stand over the toilet every hour, whether you feel the urge to go or not. Then, space out your trips to the restroom. Do this until you are going every 3-4 hours. This may not work for everyone, but the attempt to put yourself on a schedule may help reduce the urge to go so frequently.
Incontinence is a Problem that Must be Tolerated
Some people think that incontinence gets worse with age and that there is nothing that can combat it. In reality, there are exercises you can do and lifestyle choices you can make to help control your bladder. Incontinence is a problem that can be reduced in severity if treated properly.
Contrary to popular belief, Kegel exercises aren’t just for women. Men can do them, too. To do Kegel exercises, you must focus on the muscles in your pelvic floor and contract them. This trains the muscles and strengthens them. Begin by locating the proper muscles. While you are urinating, attempt to stop your flow of urine by using only your muscles in that region of your body. Do not tense your buttocks or hold your breath. Instead, stop the urine flow using only the muscles in your pelvic region. Once you’ve identified these muscles, you are ready to do Kegels.
To do Kegels, contract the muscles for five seconds, and then slowly release them over a period of about five seconds. Do your Kegels for about five minutes at least twice per day. (three times if you can) Do not do Kegels while urinating because it can cause you to prevent yourself from emptying your bladder.
Another helpful tip to prevent urine leakage is to not drink too much fluid before bedtime. Reducing your fluid intake may help reduce waking in the night and not being able to make it to the toilet on time. Some people claim reducing their alcohol and caffeine intake can also ease the strong and sudden urge to urinate.
Incontinence is often considered an embarrassing problem. However, it is a problem that can be reduced in severity with lifestyle changes and medical treatment. If you begin to leak urine without your control and find it impacting your life, seek medical help. A doctor can examine you and determine if you have another medical problem contributing to your incontinence. Get regular prostate exams. If you are diabetic or have kidney disease, you should manage these conditions while under a physician’s care.