Male Bladder Problems: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments
Male incontinence sneaks up on you. While more common than realized, it is not a situation any man expects to experience.
Are women more understanding of incontinence issues? Probably. Through the process of pregnancy and childbirth, many women experience bladder leaks. Sometimes they occur for the rest of their lives. This kind of “stress incontinence” usually occurs during a good laugh or when running to keep up with the children.
For many men, though, there are no precursors to experiencing bladder problems, no symptoms that an issue is on the horizon until it is present. There are no life events that will give a man bladder problems like pregnancy does for women.
Or, often, there are plenty of signs that a visit to the doctor is in order, but men ignore them in hopes they will go away. There is also the false understanding that bladder issues are the “new normal” when a man ages.
What Causes Bladder Problems in Men?
To understand incontinence issues in men, we must focus on the prostate, bladder, and urethra (helpful illustration of male anatomy here). The bladder stores the urine. The urine flows down through the urethra, which is a tube, and out of the penis. The urethra passes between the prostate which folds around the urethra.
When the system functions properly, the bladder rests on top of the prostate. Urine flows when the brain tells it to and stops when the bladder is empty. A healthy person urinates every 3-4 hours. Problems occur for various reasons.
The prostate could be enlarged to the point that it is choking off the urethra. When that happens, urine can’t flow down from the bladder as easily as it once did. Bladder stones could be causing blocks, too. While these causes sound serious, they are not necessarily cause for alarm.
Common Male Incontinence Symptoms
When the urinary system has a problem, there are several signs:
(Please note: These symptoms are not listed in order. They occur singularly, or all at once, and in whatever order the body pleases.)
- Frequent urination: you have to urinate all the time no matter how much or little comes out.
- It burns during urination: urinating is painful, burns, or feels like there are wounds in the urethra.
- Blood is present in the urine.
- Waking up to urinate (called nocturia): frequent waking in the night to urinate, even if it’s only a small volume.
- You have a slow urine stream.
- You lose the ability to start and stop the flow of urine on your own.
Male Bladder Problems: Diagnosis & Treatment
These signs, and more, are symptoms of problems with the prostate, bladder, or nerves. A doctor must properly diagnose them for treatment. If you suffer from any of these problems, you should alert your doctor, even if they do not cause you stress. The key to solving male incontinence issues is early diagnosis and treatment. It is also important to know that there are a variety of incontinence supplies on the market, many just for men, that make life with bladder problems easier.