Urinary Incontinence in Men

Urinary incontinence (UI) in men facts

*Urinary incontinence (UI) in men facts medically edited by:

  • The definition of urinary incontinence in men is the unintentional loss of urine. Weak or damaged bladder muscles, overactive bladder muscles, certain prostate conditions, and nerve damage are just some of the possible underlying causes of urinary incontinence in men.
  • There are different types of urinary incontinence in men, including stress incontinence, urge incontinence, and overflow incontinence. Some men may have one, two, or all three types of incontinence.
  • Diagnosis of urinary incontinence in men will involve a medical history and physical exam, and may include keeping a bladder diary. It may also include an ultrasound and urodynamic testing.
  • Treatment of urinary incontinence in men may include behavioral treatments, like bladder training and Kegel exercises, medication, surgery, or a combination of these therapies.
  • Research is ongoing to discover new and better treatments for urinary incontinence in men.

Urinary incontinence (UI) introduction

Urinary incontinence (UI) is the accidental leakage of urine. At different ages, males and females have different risks for developing UI. In childhood, girls usually develop bladder control at an earlier age than boys, and bedwetting -- or nocturnal enuresis -- is less common in girls than in boys. However, adult women are far more likely than adult men to experience UI because of anatomical differences in the pelvic region and the changes induced by pregnancy and childbirth. Nevertheless, many men do suffer from incontinence. Its prevalence increases with age, but UI is not an inevitable part of aging.

UI is a treatable problem. To find a treatment that addresses the root of the problem, you need to talk with your health care provider. The three forms of UI are

  • stress incontinence, which is the involuntary loss of urine during actions -- such as coughing, sneezing, and lifting -- that put abdominal pressure on the bladder
  • urge incontinence, which is the involuntary loss of urine following an overwhelming urge to urinate that cannot be halted
  • overflow incontinence, which is the constant dribbling of urine usually associated with urinating frequently and in small amounts
Picture of the male urinary tract, front and side views.
Male urinary tract, front and side views.

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Urinary Incontinence Causes and Treatment

There are many different types of incontinence, depending upon the reason for the problem. Abnormalities in bladder function can cause so-called urge incontinence, thought to be related to abnormal contractions of the bladder muscle.