Urinary incontinence: It’s an embarrassing condition that no one wants to talk about, but anyone who has it desperately wants to cure.
It’s a very common problem for men, especially as they age. Incontinence can range in severity from occasional light leakage to a completely uncontrollable bladder. However, urinary incontinence itself is a symptom, not a disease or medical condition.
There can be many causes of urinary incontinence in men, ranging from an enlarged prostate to caffeine consumption. Fortunately, there are many ways to control and improve urinary incontinence without resorting to medical intervention.
Ultimately, it largely depends on the underlying cause, but many men can get control over their bladder and regain their freedom by making lifestyle adjustments.
1. Take Steps to Ease Constipation
Constipation is another common cause of urinary incontinence. The problem with constipation is two-fold. The bladder and rectum share many of the same nerves, and because of their close proximity, the compacted stool can put pressure on the bladder.
There are many remedies for constipation that don’t involve medication or medical intervention. Increasing fiber intake is a solution that commonly provides relief.
The fiber adds bulk to stool, which helps move it along the intestines at a faster pace. Exercise also helps alleviate symptoms of constipation by stimulating the intestinal muscles.
2. Make Diet Adjustments
There are a number of foods that are known to increase urinary incontinence.
These foods include:
- Spicy foods
- Acidic foods
- Artificial sweeteners
It should be noted that food affects everyone differently. It’s possible that all or none of the foods above could be causing urinary incontinence. Moderation is the key, and experimentation will help you narrow down the foods that trigger incontinence.
3. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption
Both caffeine and alcohol can increase the urge to urinate. They can also irritate the bladder and worsen urinary incontinence. These beverages are diuretics, which interacts with your kidneys.
This causes you to urinate more liquid that you drank, and can actually cause dehydration and a desire to drink even more water. Eliminate one or both from your diet entirely to see if it makes a difference. If so, make an effort to limit consumption to just an occasional drink.
4. Using a Discreet External Catheter
A number of products can help with urinary incontinence issues, but most are cumbersome, embarrassing or simply don’t work well. When a product or device is needed, external catheters are usually the preference over internal catheters and adult diapers.
For years, one of the best options was a condom catheter, although leakage is a common problem. The solution lies in enhanced external catheters which can provide advanced control when other lifestyle changes aren’t enough.
5. Exercise to Lose Excess Weight and Improve Muscle Strength
Exercise can help improve urinary incontinence in men who are overweight. Excess weight puts additional pressure on the bladder and abdominal region. This can make it more difficult to control urination. Losing excess weight is beneficial for general health and may lessen incontinence symptoms.
Kegels are another exercise all men with urinary incontinence should do on a daily basis. There is a common misconception that Kegel exercises are something that only benefits women.
Kegel exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles as well as the muscles around the bladder. Strengthening these muscles can help men regain more control over the bladder.
6. Check Your Medications
Some medications can increase the urge to urinate and ultimately lead to incontinence. Relaxants, heart medications, blood pressure medications, and sedatives are all known to cause temporary incontinence.
Men who are experiencing urinary incontinence should check the symptoms and side effects of all medications that they’re taking. If frequent urination or loss of bladder control are potential side effects, discuss other medication options that can be used.
7. Stop Using Tobacco Products
There are many health reasons for avoiding tobacco use. However, few men realize there is research that suggests tobacco use can intensify urinary incontinence. Studies have found that cigarette smokers are more susceptible to stress urinary incontinence.
This is because smoking can frequently trigger chronic coughing which puts stress on the bladder and may even damage the pelvic floor muscles.
Men are strongly urged to seek the medical advice of a primary care physician if incontinence persists or becomes unmanageable. A doctor can examine the underlying causes to determine if a medical condition is creating incontinence symptoms.