What kind of incontinence do I have? Stress, Flow or Urge

Although urinary incontinence impacts 1 in 6 men in USA and millions of men annually, how it impacts them individually can vary. Learn more about the kinds of incontinence here.

Types of Incontinence

If you are managing urinary incontinence it probably looks like one of the types described below.

Stress incontinence – This type of incontinence is typically caused by undue pressure on the bladder as with lifting, coughing, laughing or sneezing. Stress incontinence and associated leakage of urine is common in men immediately following prostate surgery. Obesity is also a frequent cause of stress incontinence as the pressure of extra weight (particularly abdominal fat) places a strain on the bladder. Weight loss has been shown to be effective in reducing or eliminating some urinary incontinence. Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor and urinary sphincter also provide some relief.

Urge incontinence – With urge incontinence bladder contractions produce an urgent need to toilet. The urge may feel so great that accidents and urine leakage may occur because of inability to reach the bathroom in time. This type of incontinence is common in men who have had radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Other common causes of urge incontinence are bladder inflammation, brain injury (for example, stroke), bladder cancer and spinal cord injury.

Mixed incontinence – Some men experience more than one kind of incontinence. Managing both stress and urge symptoms of incontinence is called mixed incontinence.

Overflow incontinence – If you are experiencing overflow incontinence your bladder does not empty completely with urination. It may also be difficult to sense when the bladder is full. Overflow incontinence symptoms include leaks and maybe even wetting the bed. Certain medications, enlarged prostate, nerve damage (such as with Parkinson’s disease) and diabetes are common causes of overflow incontinence. Urinary tract infections are common with overflow incontinence as bacteria proliferate when urine stands in the bladder for long periods.

Managing incontinence

In addition to making lifestyle changes such as:

  • Avoiding foods that irritate the bladder (acidic or spicy foods)
  • Losing weight if your BMI (body mass index) is greater than 25
  • Quitting smoking

You can also make behavioral changes such as daily Kegel exercises, timed drinking, timed toileting and double voiding. To double void, urinate and wait a few moments and urinate again to completely empty the bladder.

Your healthcare provider is a good source of information about the latest available medications and surgical options. You can also talk with your doctor about Men’s Liberty. We offer an easy to use, discreet incontinence management system. Covered by many insurance plans including Tricare, Medicare and most private insurance you may be able to enjoy stress free protection at little or no out of pocket costs (standard deductibles and copays apply). Give us a call if you have questions. We are here to help.

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