Bladder control problems in men and women are caused when folks have trouble controlling their flow of urine. Urinary incontinence affects the genders differently with girls typically gaining control of their bladder earlier than boys. They consequentially wet the bed less. However, as adults, women are much more likely to develop bladder control problems and although it is less common in adult men, the prevalence of incontinence is known to increase with age. To understand what causes urinary incontinence in men, it is important to understand how the urinary system works in the human body.
Your bladder is a muscle that stores urine. While urine is being stored, the muscle relaxes. When you need to eliminate urine, or go to the bathroom, the muscle tightens to squeeze the urine out. The urine leaves the body through a tube called the urethra, which is surrounded by two sphincter muscles. The sphincter muscles, in combination with the pelvic floor muscles under the bladder, squeeze to keep the urethra closed.
Humans are not born with the ability to control urination. As folks mature the body develops the ability to recognize nerve signals sent by the brain letting you know it is time to go to the bathroom. Folks also develop the muscles that are necessary to control the urinary system.
Symptoms of Bladder Control Problems in Men
Men who develop urinary incontinence will notice some awkward changes, as they get older. They experience difficulty or a delay in passing urine. They start and stop several times during the urination process. After they are finished, more urine may trickle out. Men will notice that it takes them longer to urinate than it did before, due to a weaker stream. They also feel that they have not fully emptied their bladder.
Causes of Bladder Control Problems in Men
Several causes contribute to bladder control problems in men. To start with, any disease or injury that causes damage to nerves can cause bladder control problems. For example, men that have had diabetes for many years suffer from nerve damage that affects their ability to control their bladder. In addition, men who have Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or have suffered from a stroke may have developed nerve damage that may lead them incontinent.
Nerve damage may result in an overactive bladder. This happens because the body does not interpret the signals that the brain sends and the bladder squeezes at the wrong time. This can result in frequent and urgent urination, as well as urge incontinence.
Another main cause of urinary incontinence in men is problems with the prostate. The prostate is a gland that surrounds the male urethra. It lies right beneath the bladder. As men get older, the prostate often enlarges. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. As the prostate gets bigger, it places pressure on the urethra. The walls of the bladder get thicker and urination becomes more frequent. Experts say that over half of men over the age of sixty suffer from bladder control problems caused by BPH.
A radical prostatectomy, which is the surgical removal of the prostate, can also contribute to bladder control problems in men. The surgery itself may cause damage to nerves leading to urinary incontinence.
Treatment of the prostate may also cause men to develop problems with their urinary systems. The therapy uses an x-ray machine to deliver radiation to the enlarged prostate. This procedure can cause significant loss of bladder control.
Men who are experiencing a loss of bladder control should see their physicians to get treatment. Treatments will depend on the severity of the problem as well as the cause. Doctors will also consider lifestyle and personal preferences when suggesting treatment for bladder control problems in men.