What Are the Symptoms of Male Incontinence?

Kristina Brooks | June 8, 2015

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Incontinence, although not a condition, is a set of symptoms that can be disruptive to a man’s daily routine.  This guide can help you stop symptoms early and get proper treatment.

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What causes incontinence in men?

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Incontinence symptoms occur when either the muscles in and around the bladder become too weak or when muscle contractions become overpowering. They can also occur when the bladder is too full. The surrounding muscles are usually compromised due to prostate surgery, treatment, or removal.

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Urge incontinence

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One of the three types of symptoms that can occur are urge symptoms, which are characterized by a strong urge to use the bathroom. This is usually triggered by something that stirs expectation of urinating, such as turning on a faucet, or opening the door when arriving back home. Urinary tract infections (UTI), constipation, or prostatitis (an infection of the prostate) are common causes. Symptoms can also be caused by Parkinson’s, stroke, or bladder stones.

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Do you have urge incontinence?

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Urge incontinence occurs when the male has strong, overpowering bladder contractions. You may have urge incontinence if you experience a sudden onset need to urinate, sudden leakage of large amounts of fluid, or frequently feeling like you have to use the bathroom.

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Overflow incontinence

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Urinary overflow is known to be caused by a blockage of the urethra that doesn’t allow urine to fully release. These blockages can be caused by an enlarged prostate gland, a narrow urethra, a common infection known as BPH, or from prostate cancer. Muscle contractions that are too weak to push urine out fully can also be a cause for overflow incontinence.

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Do you have overflow incontinence?

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You may have overflow incontinence if you experience an inconsistent urine stream that starts and stops, a weak urine stream, leaking small amounts of urine, straining while using the bathroom because you feel your bladder isn’t empty, a sudden need to urinate at night, or even leaking urine at night.

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Stress incontinence

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You may have stress incontinence if fluid is released during activities that create pressure, such as laughing, sneezing, coughing, heavy lifting or a change in posture. This leakage occurs because the muscles around the urethra mistakenly open at the wrong time.

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Risk factors

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Incontinence tends to show up more often as people age, but that isn’t because of aging. There are usually other factors that go along with older age that put a person at higher risk, including weight gain, UTI increase, and alcohol use. Along with prostate injury surgery or treatment, other major risk factors include smoking, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.

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When you notice symptoms

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If you notice symptoms, try to avoid carbonated and caffeinated beverages, and pay very close attention to prescription (diuretics and antidepressants, narcotics) and non-prescription medications (allergy, cold medication). If the incontinence is due to an infection and has a sudden onset, it typically goes away once the infection is treated.

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Abnormal symptoms

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Noticing blood in the urine, or experiencing painful urination are other more serious symptoms that can occur. If any of these occur, a medical professional should be notified immediately.

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Beyond the condition

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In some cases, chronic incontinence may also cause skin rashes or infections, as well as chronic UTIs. Due to the nature of the symptoms, you may also begin to develop anxiety or even depression from altering your daily routines or its effect on sexual function and desire. But treatment is possible, so reach out to a professional for help if you experience symptoms.

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