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Male Bladder Incontinence

Many men suffer from incontinence. Its prevalence increases with age, but urinary incontinence is not an inevitable part of aging and is a treatable problem. For the urinary system to do its job, muscles and nerves must work together to hold urine in the bladder and then release it at the right time. Any disease, condition or injury that damages nerves can lead to urination problems. These problems can occur at any age.

Causes and Contributing Factors

  • Men who have had diabetes for many years may develop nerve damage that affects their bladder control.
  • Stroke, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis all affect the brain and nervous system, so they can also cause bladder-emptying problems.
  • Overactive bladder is a condition in which the bladder squeezes at the wrong time. The condition may be caused by nerve problems, or it may occur without any clear cause.
  • Spinal cord injury may affect bladder emptying by interrupting the nerve signals required for bladder control.
  • If your prostate could be involved in your incontinence, your health care provider may ask you a series of standardized questions, either the International Prostate Symptom Score or the American Urological Association Symptom Scale.

Non-surgical Treatment Options

  • Behavioral Techniques—Lifestyle changes, fluid and diet modification, bladder retraining, Kegel exercises and/or other kinds of physical therapy can improve bladder function.
  • Oral Medications—Some medications help target the muscles associated with bladder function. However, these drugs may cause side effects such as dry mouth, constipation, eye problems or urine buildup, which in some cases cannot be tolerated.
  • Urodynamics Test—Urodynamics is the investigation of how the lower urinary tract functions with regard to bladder filling, storage and emptying. It measures bladder pressures, volumes and flows in order to find the best treatment.

Surgical Treatment Options

Surgical treatments can help men with incontinence that is the result of nerve-damaging events, such as spinal cord injury or radical prostatectomy.

  • Artificial Sphincter—An implanted device that keeps the urethra closed until you are ready to urinate, this device can help people who have incontinence because of weak sphincter muscles or because of nerve damage that interferes with sphincter muscle function. It does not solve incontinence caused by uncontrolled bladder contractions.
  • Collagen Injections—The injection of material into the urethra can help control urine leakage (urinary incontinence) caused by a weak urinary sphincter. The sphincter is a muscle that allows your body to hold the urine in the bladder. When it stops working well, urine leakage results.
  • Male Sling—In this procedure, a surgeon creates a support for the urethra by wrapping a strip of material around the urethra and attaching the ends of the strip to the pelvic bone. The sling keeps constant pressure on the urethra so that it does not open until the patient consciously releases the urine.
  • Neuromodulation Therapy (InterStim®)
  • Urinary Diversion—If the bladder must be removed or all bladder function is lost because of nerve damage, you may consider surgery to create a urinary diversion. In this procedure, the surgeon creates a reservoir by removing a piece of the small intestine and directing the ureters to the reservoir. The surgeon also creates a stoma, an opening on the lower abdomen where the urine can be drained through a catheter or into a bag.

For more information about our incontinence care program, call our health navigator: 470-325-6947.
If you're experiencing a medical emergency, dial 911.