Bladder Control What Men Need to Know

What kind of bladder control problems do men have?

Men can have several types of bladder control problems.

  • Urinary incontinence (UI) is the accidental leakage of urine. Urine can leak in three ways:
    • when you cough, sneeze, or lift-actions that put pressure on the bladder
    • following a sudden, strong urge to urinate
    • as a constant dribbling; men with this problem usually need to urinate often and only pass small amounts of urine each time.

  • Overactive bladder is a condition in which the bladder squeezes urine out at the wrong time. You may have overactive bladder if you have two or more of these symptoms:
    • urination eight or more times a day or two or more times at night
    • the sudden, strong need to urinate immediately
    • urine leakage that follows a sudden, strong urge to urinate

What causes bladder control problems in men?

UI and overactive bladder may be caused by prostate or nerve problems. Sometimes the cause of overactive bladder is not clear.

Prostate problems. The prostate is a male gland about the size of a walnut that surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body.

  • An enlarged prostate, common among older men, may squeeze the urethra and result in a weak urine stream, an urgent need to urinate followed by leakage, and frequent urination, especially at night.

  • Surgery or radiation to treat prostate cancer can lead to temporary or permanent bladder control problems.

Nerve problems. Damaged nerves may send signals to the bladder at the wrong time or send no signals at all, leading to bladder control problems. Spinal cord injuries or conditions such as diabetes or stroke may cause nerve problems.

What can I do about bladder control problems?

Just changing some daily habits may help. For example, you could limit fluids at certain times of the day or plan regular trips to the bathroom to avoid an accident.

Don't be embarrassed to talk with your doctor about your problem. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to calm abnormal nerve signals to the bladder. Other medicines relax the bladder or shrink the prostate. Surgery can help bladder control problems caused by nerve damage.

Frequent or painful urination, especially with blood in the urine, could be signs of bladder cancer. If you have these symptoms, see your doctor.

Featured Articles