By Jasmine Schmidt, HealthCentral's Incontinence Expert
Although women are twice as likely as men to experience incontinence, that doesnt mean that we should ignore our male counterparts when it comes to this life-altering condition. As always, its hard to find stats on incontinence, but one UK site reported that 5 to 7% of men under 64 and 10 to 20% of men over 64 experience some kind of urinary leakage. The Mens Health Network, a non-profit committed to improving the health and wellness of men, has declared this as Mens Health Week. With Fathers Day right around the corner, the timing couldnt be better to think about the men in our lives.
Men, as well as women, can experience incontinence for a variety of reasons. However, one of the major contributing causes to incontinence in men is prostate problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, The prostate is a male gland about the size and shape of a walnut. It surrounds the urethra just below the bladder, where it adds fluid to semen before ejaculation. This gland grows in almost all men as they age. In some cases, the enlargement can become troublesomea condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This is a common problem, affecting more than 50% of men in their sixties. BPH has many symptoms that vary from person to person, and it can be treated in many different ways. Depending on the severity of symptoms, BPH can be managed with lifestyle changes, medication or surgery, and some of these treatments, especially surgery, can lead to incidences of incontinence.
BPH is benign, meaning non-cancerous. When there is an abnormal growth of cells in the prostate gland, it is called prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths among men, but when discovered and treated early-on, prostate cancer is often very treatable. As with BPH, many of the treatment options for prostate cancer can lead to varying degrees of incontinence. You can imagine that many men find themselves very frustrated to then be living with a leaky bladder.