Incontinence is a condition few people want to talk about, and this is especially true of males. While females find the issue equally discomforting, males are 60% less likely to speak to a doctor – delaying their diagnosis and often exaggerating the symptoms. With incontinence having a stigma attached to it, the chances of a male speaking to their GP over the issue is significantly reduced.
Many people believe that incontinence strictly affects men and women of a certain age. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Men of all ages can be affected and without open conversation and understanding of what is occurring within the body, males will continue to go undiagnosed.
In this blog, we aim to shine a light on the specifics of incontinence in men – and what you can do about it.
What is incontinence?
Incontinence is a general term for the involuntary passing of urine or faeces. It is usually separated into two areas – bowel and bladder – and both conditions have simple solutions that can make life easier.
The cause of the condition depends on whether it is bowel or bladder incontinence. In most cases, life adjustments and regular exercise can reduce the severity of symptoms. However, for a number of people, it may be necessary to ease your daily routine with incontinence pads for men.
What types of incontinence are there?
If you’re regularly finding yourself leaking when lifting something heavy or you don’t always feel that you’ve entirely emptied your bladder when using the toilet – it’s possible you may have urinary incontinence. Generally speaking, the symptoms are primarily the unintentional passing of urine.
Urinary incontinence is divided into four primary conditions, which include:
Stress incontinence – As touched upon above, stress incontinence is when the bladder leaks urine when under sudden pressure. Whether that’s sneezing or exercise, your bladder can release copious amounts of urine unintentionally.
This form of incontinence occurs when the pressure inside the bladder becomes greater than the strength of your urethra to stay closed. Any sudden pressure (or stress) causes leaks. Examples of conditions that weaken the strength of your urethra include obesity, pregnancy and surgery.
Urge incontinence – As the name suggests, urge incontinence is where a person suffers from a small window between the immediate urge to urinate and the release of urination – without any build-up. This can be triggered by moving or certain sounds.
Also known as ‘overactive bladder syndrome’, it highlights a problem with the detrusor muscles on the bladder walls. Simply put, these muscles are contracting too often, creating an urgent need to urinate. This can be caused by drinking too much alcohol or caffeine, poor fluid intake, constipation or neurological conditions.
Overflow incontinence – Otherwise known as chronic urinary retention, this happens when the bladder cannot empty entirely and swells above normal size. Often, sufferers will regularly pass small trickles throughout the day accidentally.
An overflow is usually caused by something blocking the bladder – whether that’s an enlarged prostate gland, bladder stones or constipation. This obstruction allows urine to build-up which results in leakage throughout the day. An overflow can also be caused by detrusor muscles not fully contracting as a result of nerve damage.
Total incontinence – The most severe form of incontinence is called total incontinence. It involves the afflicted individual passing large amounts of urine involuntarily, including at night.
This kind of incontinence in men means that your bladder struggles to store any urine at all. Common causes are a birth defect or a severe injury that has disrupted the nerve signals between your brain and your bladder.
What about bowel incontinence?
Bowel incontinence, and the need for incontinence pads for men, is equally under-discussed. You should contact your GP as soon as you recognise symptoms of struggling to control your bowel.
Specifically, bowel incontinence is caused by a number of factors:
- Severe or long-lasting constipation or diarrhoea
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Nerve damage caused by diabetes or a stroke
- Inflammatory bowel disease – such as Crohn’s disease
While this condition may sound worrying, there are plenty of ways to manage bowel incontinence – either through medication or changes to your diet. While doing so, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of products available which can allow you to go about your day.
Where incontinence pads can help?
At Incontinence Products Online, we believe that in order to regain control over your life, incontinence pads are the best solution. No longer will you be bound to nearby bathrooms or your home. In fact, you can confidently go about your day with odour-proof technology and complete absorbency.
We have a wealth of experience in the care and mobility market, and it is our mission to destigmatise the reliance on incontinence pads and products. If you’d be interested in restoring your confidence, speak to a member of our team today.