While both men and women can develop urinary incontinence — one-quarter to one-third of men and women in the United States have some form of urinary incontinence — the problem typically develops for different reasons in each gender.
As men’s health experts, Dr. Robert Cornell and our team want to focus on those issues that can lead to urinary incontinence in men and, more importantly, how we treat them.
1. An enlarged prostate
A man’s prostate undergoes two growth stages: The first occurs after you pass through puberty and the second starts in your 20s and lasts for the rest of your life. The problem with this growth is that your urethra passes through the middle of your prostate, so as your prostate grows larger, it can impede the flow of urine.
Called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), this condition becomes prevalent with age — half of men between the ages of 51 and 60 have BPH, which increases to 90% of men over 80.
While urinary blockage is the primary problem with BPH, it can also lead to overflow incontinence as urine builds up in your bladder, forcing urine to leak out.
Luckily, we have several effective solutions for BPH, including medications, Prostiva® RF Therapy (radiofrequency thermotherapy), and PlasmaButton™ vaporization to remove excess prostate tissue.
2. Prostate surgery
If you need surgery for prostate cancer, there’s a risk for post-prostatectomy incontinence — 5-10% of patients who undergo radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer suffer from clinically significant post-prostatectomy urinary incontinence.
If you find yourself struggling with incontinence after prostate surgery, the problem is usually due to damage to your external urinary sphincter, which can lead to stress incontinence. As a result, when you sneeze, cough, or laugh, urine can leak out.
In many cases, this problem resolves itself over time. If, however, it’s been nine months or more, we can turn to the AMS 800™ Urinary Control System, which is an artificial urinary sphincter. Men who receive this treatment report a 90% success rate in controlling their urination.
If you only have mild stress incontinence, we can try a less aggressive solution with the AdVance™ Male Sling System, which provides support for your urethra.
3. Older age
While most incontinence problems in men are related to prostate issues, age can also play a role. As you get older, the tissues that support your lower urinary tract can gradually weaken, preventing you from controlling your urination as well.
If you’re struggling with age-related incontinence, we first determine the type of incontinence, and then get you started on a treatment protocol that may include exercises, lifestyle recommendations (curbing caffeine and alcohol, as examples), and interventional techniques such as the ones we mentioned in the other two sections of this blog.
The point here is that no matter how your incontinence develops, we want you to know that there are more solutions than ever for restoring your quality of life.
To learn more about your options for urinary incontinence, please contact our office in Houston, Texas, to set up a consultation.