Incontinence is the inability to completely control the bladder or bowels. Any type of incontinence will occur by degrees from mild to severe and will have an array of causes. Urinary incontinence, though most common among women, occurs in men and manifests in different ways, as well. The National Association for Continence indicates that in the U.S. alone there are more than 20 million people dealing with some sort of incontinence, and this explains the huge array of incontinence products available.
As the University of Rochester reports, “while sales of adult diapers now outpace sales of baby diapers, incontinence is rarely discussed”. In fact, it often goes unreported because urinary incontinence in men and women of any age can feel embarrassing or may even be (wrongly) viewed as a normal part of life and/or aging. In this article, we are going to review the basic facts about urinary incontinence in men, which is not as often discussed as incontinence in women. While it is not as common, it exists in men of all ages and must be addressed, examined by a doctor and treated accordingly.
Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Men
So, first things first – why would men experience a loss of bladder control or urinary leakage?
Urine leakage, a key sign of urinary incontinence in men and women, occurs in a similar manner regardless of gender. As the experts at WebMD explain , “urine moves from your kidneys to your bladder through tubes called ureters. Your bladder stores your urine until a signal tells your brain that your bladder is full. Then urine leaves your body through a tube … called the urethra. Urinary incontinence happens either because the signal to your brain gets scrambled or doesn’t happen, or because of a problem somewhere in your urinary tract.”
Leakage might be due to overactive bladder (also called urge incontinence), muscle weakening in the area around the bladder or urethra, problems with fully emptying the bladder which causes it to become overly full, blockage, structural issues from birth, infection, medication, medical conditions, and more. What you need to realize, though, is that urinary incontinence in men (and women) is a symptom, typically, and not usually a condition on its own.
For example, for many men, an issue with their prostate may cause leakage. So, in that case, their incontinence would be a medical issue with the prostate. It is important to determine the cause of urinary incontinence in men rather than just live with it and ignore it as a symptom of something larger.
Symptoms of Urinary Incontinence In Men
Prostate issues – Enlarged prostate glands can be benign or due to cancer. The enlargement blocks the urethra and cues the bladder to work harder, building up the walls of the bladder and causing great difficulty in fully emptying it over time. Those who have been treated for prostate cancer may also find that nerve damage leads to incontinence.
Disease – Neurological diseases such as MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and even stroke can cause malfunctions in the nerves, leading to urinary incontinence in men and women alike. Allergies, though not a disease, may lead to behaviors like chronic bouts of coughing that can also weaken pelvic floor muscles and lead to urinary leakage. Urinary tract infections can also be a cause.
Obesity – A general lack of exercise may contribute to urinary incontinence in men but paired with obesity or too much extra body weight and it creates an amount of pressure on the bladder that can lead to urgency, an inability to hold urine, and urine leakage. Lack of exercise may lead to constipation, which itself can be a cause of urinary incontinence due to pressure on the urinary tract.
Surgery – An array of surgical procedures, in addition to prostate surgery, may lead to urinary incontinence in men. Back surgery, bowel surgery and other procedures might be a cause.
Lifestyle – It is known that consuming too much caffeine or alcohol (both diuretic in nature) may lead to incontinence, using narcotics or certain medications, and drinking too much fluid at once can also lead to leakage.
Of course, the loss of muscle tone over time and due to age may be a major contributing factor in the loss of bowel and/or bladder control. However, assigning blame to “old age” is unwise and not an excuse to skip a visit to a physician when urinary incontinence occurs.
Visiting the Doctor is a Good Choice
Whenever changes in bowel or bladder habits occur, it is wise to head to the doctor. For men, the following changes signify the need for a medical exam:
Leak urine if you cough, sneeze, laugh hard, lift something heavy or stand up quickly
Using the toilet more than eight times a day
Often fail to reach the toilet before some urine leaks out
Bladder has a sense of being full even after emptying
Pain with urination
Strain to pass urine
Lower abdominal area feels pressured
Your doctor will do a physical exam, look at your medical history, discuss your current lifestyle and may even run urine tests or more in-depth testing to determine the cause. They will then suggest the right treatment.
Treating Urinary Incontinence in Men
Just as there are many reasons that men develop urinary incontinence, there are also many treatments. These may range from more preventative measures such as bladder training (i.e., using a fixed schedule of fluid consumption and elimination), learning how to do kegel training, making lifestyle changes, and more. However, it could be that you may require medications or surgical intervention to improve your symptoms, including rubber sphincters being implanted around the urethra or male slings.
If the issue is not able to be entirely controlled, there are many male incontinence products that include well-designed undergarments with special materials that allow everyday activities, while maintaining discretion that a garment is even in use. There are skin care products, incontinence bed pads and sheeting, and much more to control odor and allow the user to have a normal and healthy life in spite of incontinence issues.
Maggie Fox of NBC News Health writes that an injection of Botox works about as well as a surgically implanted device to help women with very severe incontinence, according to researchers.
It’s good news for women with severe urge incontinence, who can choose between treatments based on preference, said Dr. Cindy Amundsen of Duke University, who led the study.
“What we have learned from the study is the treatments are both good and it will just help inform physicians and patients who are trying to make a decision between these two therapies,” Amundsen said.
“We are actually not surprised that there isn’t a big difference between the two because both therapies are effective at relaxing the overactive bladder muscles.”
Women can choose between a surgical procedure, which is more expensive at first, versus regular Botox injections, which are less costly and less invasive but which could add up over time, Amundsen said.
The team studied women with severe incontinence who could not be helped with drugs or other treatments. The women in the study had to suffer at least six episodes of incontinence over three days.
The Botox injections freed 20 percent of the women in the study of incontinence, compared to 4 percent who had a nerve stimulator implant, Amundesen and colleagues reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“Forty-six percent in the onabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) group and 26 percent in the sacral neuromodulation group had at least a 75 percent reduction in the number of episodes of urgency incontinence,” they added.
Incontinence may sound funny, but it’s no joke, the researchers said.
“Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and the structure of the female urinary tract account for this difference.”
The researchers at nine medical centers did a head to head comparison of a single Botox injection to the implanted medical device, assigning 381 women to randomly get one or the other treatment. The women were asked to keep diaries for six months.
Both treatments calm down the nerves responsible for signaling the bladder to empty.
On average, both treatments cut the number of “accidents” – Botox by almost four times a day and the nerve stimulator by about three times a day.
But both groups of women reported equal satisfaction, and more women in the Botox group got urinary tract infections – 35 percent versus 11 percent in the surgery group. Amundsen said it’s not clear why but her team is studyingthis to find out.
They’re also studying the cost difference. Most women who get either treatment have insurance that pays, Amundsen said.
Incontinence is embarrassing and troubling to men and women alike, who are often unwilling to even tell a doctor. They end up staying close to home and avoiding travel, shopping and visits.
There are different types of incontinence. This study covered urge incontinence, but there’s also stress incontinence, which is caused by pressure on the bladder.
Overflow incontinence is caused when the bladder never really empties. That can be a problem for men with enlarged prostates.
Doctors usually try to start people off with lifestyle treatment, such as weight loss, drinking less caffeine and alcohol, and avoiding lifting heavy objects. Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles can help, as can “bladder training” to accustom the body to urinating at regular times.
If you are caring for someone with incontinence issues, we understand how difficult it can be to know which adult incontinence products to choose for each situation. This buyers guide, provided by our friends at TENA, can be used by caregivers to understand each type of adult incontinence product and how they work best.
Description: Sized between a pad insert and a full brief, these are designed to replace regular undergarments. An elastic band with buttons or other type of attachment device connects to button holes in the brief.
Changing in bed
Frequent changes without having to remove all clothing
Description: These may be in the form of fitted brief or taped brief, but have added absorbency to reduce changes and leakage through the night. Most are also designed to wick moisture away from the skin to prevent skin breakdown.
Overnight use when getting up or changing is not possible
Use instead of regular undergarments for someone difficult to change or transfer
For someone who is bedridden
Not so good for: Someone who may get frustrated and pull the garment off and/or apart. (There may be little absorbency balls in the garment that spread if the cloth is ripped.)
Elderly incontinent patients in nursing homes are vulnerable to urinary tract infections (UTIs) and skin conditions. The federal government and states have guidelines in place to ensure patients receive quality consistent personal care. Government regulations require facilities to provide residents with a personal care routine that includes clean and dry skin from urine and feces.1 Facilities typically change a patient’s adult brief or adult diaper approximately every two hours to ensure compliance with personal care guidelines. These frequent changes force facilities to consider cost over quality and comfort when selecting adult diapers or protective underwear. Adult diapers have improved in absorbency and quality over the years. Specialty fibers that are highly absorbent and unique cores that incorporate quick wick technology to pull moisture away from the body help foster healthy skin. High quality incontinence products typically have a higher price tag. Whether you are a caregiver in a nursing home, hospice facility or home setting AllegroMedical.com offers you value branded diapers to meet your patients’ incontinence needs.
Staydry Breathable Briefs made by McKesson are for heavy urinary incontinence and offer users comfort and superior leakage protection at an economical price by incorporating Sophisticated Sectioning System technology (S3).
Quick drying absorbent core pulls fluid into Blue StayDry Strip™ for improved skin health and odor control
Fecal target area locks up loose stool
Soft, ventilated panels allow skin to breath and heat to escape
McKesson’s Staydry Breathable Adult Diaper is well respected in the homecare community with a price per diaper of $.35-$.56 from AllegroMedical.com.
Tranquility ATN (All-Through-the-Night) Disposable Adult Diapers provide maximum absorbency holding over 32 ounces of fluid. According to the manufacturer at the core of the Tranquility ATN brief is the “Peach Mat Construction” which neutralizes urine and inhibits bacterial growth which helps to reduce UTI’s in incontinence patients.2 This patented construction promotes skin dryness and odor control all while providing uninterrupted sleep for your patients without jeopardizing skin health. Tranquility ATN is a trusted premium adult brief with a price per diaper of $.73-$1.19 from AllegroMedical.com.
Fifty percent of nursing home residents in the U.S. are living with some form of incontinence. Urinary and fecal incontinence care in the elderly contributes to a significant portion of nursing home care dollars spent annually.3 Balancing your budget and skin health of residents is challenging. AllegroMedical.com has been assisting homecare facilities with affordable quality medical supplies like incontinence products since 1997.
Gentlemen, if it’s any consolation, you’re not alone when it comes to bladder weakness. An estimated 3.4 million men experience some form of urine loss – and it is especially common among men with prostate issues or other medical conditions. And we know the last thing you want to advertise, or discuss, is your incontinence. What you need are discreet products that work . . . no matter what.
On par with discretion, we understand that protection and comfort are of vital importance to you. That’s why we’ve put together a full line of tried-and-tested bladder protection products just for men. These male incontinence products are specially designed products to fit the male anatomy; combat odors; and have excellent absorbency and retention.
Whether your bladder weakness is very light or extremely heavy, temporary or chronic, Allegro has the perfect incontinence product for you.
Maintaining healthy skin can be challenging for anyone, especially in the winter months, but even more so for caregivers and practitioners. Rashes, fungus, skin breakdown or the threat of skin tears are a constant battle and a true test of perseverence. Skin Care is much easier with today’s ultra-formulated medical creams and emollient-rich ointments – available to consumers and caregivers without a prescription.
Allegro’s most popular creams and ointments and are primarily barrier type or moisturizing products designed to help protect and heal skin irritations from incontinence, diaper rash, wound drainage, fistulas, feeding tube leakage, minor burns and perspiration. We also carry specialized skin products and antifungals for specific skin conditions. Browse our Shop by Condition: Skin Conditions area to find all of Allegro Medical’s top skin care and personal care products.
Remedy Skin Repair Cream – Specially formulated for those at risk for skin breakdown. Remedy Skin Repair uses water molecules to moisturize and deliver nutrients of Olivamine to the cells. Also provides relief to dry skin and protects and relieves damage caused by frequent hand washing. Ideal as a facial moisturizer. Available in 4 oz tubes, 2 oz tubes, 32 oz pump or Remedy Skin Repair Kit
Calmoseptine Ointment – Contains calamine, zinc oxide, menthol and lanolin to provide a multipurpose moisture barrier. Protects and heals skin irritations from feeding tube leaks, incontinence, burns, scrapes, diaper rash, wound drainage, fecal or vaginal fistulas and moisture. Temporary relief from discomfort and itching.
Bacitracin Zinc Ointment – 1/32 oz foilpac – Compares to Baciguent. Used topically to prevent infection in minor cuts, scrapes and burns. Ask a doctor before using this in the case of deep or puncture wounds, animal bites or serious burns. Don’t use longer than a week without talking to your doc.
Aloe Vesta 3-n-1 Protective Ointment – An ideal barrier and ointment for routine incontinence care. This easy-to-apply petrolatum-based ointment provides an effective barrier that seals out moisture, contains protein-rich emollients and is non-sensitizing and fragrance free.
BAZA Antifungal Cream – This anti-fungal is also a moisture barrier against urine and feces. The zinc-oxide based formula with 2% Miconazole Nitrate inhibits fungal growth and treats yeast/monilia, jock itch, ringworm and athletes foot. Another very popular antifungal moisture barrier, formulated for perineal skin irritation due to fungal infection is the Critic-Aid Clear AF.
Sween Cream Moisturizing Body Cream – Cracked knees or elbows? Red, sore, irritated skin? Look no further. Sween Cream is known the world over for its ability to immediately restore dry, fragile skin at risk for cracking. Non-occlusive formula absorbs quickly. Won’t interfere with the adhesion of tape or ostomy appliances.
Medseptic Skin Protectant Cream – This superior moisturizer is formulated to treat adult diaper dermatitis, denuded skin and minor burns. Contains 50% USP approved lanolin. Recommended by the Foot and Ankle Institute for diabetic patients to help hold moisture in, especially on the feet, ankles, elbows and hands.
My Personal Favorite – Deep Healing Foot Cream – Diabetic feet, sensitive feet or not, you’re heels will love this cream. It contains mineral oil, urea, lanolin and vitamins A, D & E. Also works great on hands. I use it every night before bed. It’s non-greasy and safe for all your body parts. Get some!
Here’s wishing you clear, smooth skin throughout your life. As always, we appreciate your business and thank you for being an Allegro customer.
Gentlemen, we know the last thing you want to discuss, or advertise, is your bladder weakness. What you need are discreet products that work . . . every time. And hey, if it’s any consolation, you’re not alone when it comes to incontinence. An estimated 3.4 million men experience some form of bladder weakness or urine loss – and it is especially common among men with prostate issues or other medical conditions.
Over the years, we’ve put together a full line of tried-and-tested incontinence protection just for men. We understand that discretion, protection and comfort are of vital importance to you. These products are specially designed products to fit the male anatomy; have excellent absorbency and retention; and combat odors.
Whether your bladder weakness is very light or extremely heavy, temporary or chronic, Allegro has the perfect incontinence product for you.
Ladies, the good news is that there arebladder protection products, trustworthy products, for every one of your incontinence needs. And with advances in absorbent materials, TENA products just keep getting more comfortable, thinner and more reliable. Whether your bladder weakness is very light or extremely heavy, temporary or chronic, TENA has the perfect incontinence product for you.
The hard part is knowing which product to buy to cover the levels of absorbency you need. Hear this: With today’s super polymers and space-age absorbent fibers, thin doesn’t equal light protection any more than a thick pad means heavy protection. Extra coverage, or extra length pads, don’t necessarily mean more absorbent. You must rely on the absorbency levels. Let us help you choose what is right for you.
When it comes to intimate skin care products, there are several notable medical supply companies that make it their business to understand your condition and create solutions to improve your quality of life. At-risk skin caused by incontinence, diabetes, infection, wounds, surgeries, dermal ulcers and other medical conditions can easily lead to much bigger problems that may be easily avoided with a consistent protocol.
From pediatrics to geriatrics, Allegro Medical trusts and recommends the following skin care brands:
Are you taking care of your skin? No matter what your skin condition or skin type, there is likely a product that will make it smoother, softer, cleaner or will reduce the pain, itch, bumps, scales, redness, swelling – you name it.
What is causing your skin problems? Things like illness, disease, aging, nutrition, weather, hydration, stress and environment can no doubt reek havoc on even the most pampered skin. The good news is that there is help.
Types of Skin Care and Bath Wash Products
Barrier Products – Barrierointments are used primarily for incontinence care to prevent or treat diaper dermatitis (diaper rash) or other skin irritations that occur when moisture is trapped next to the skin.
Body Cleansers – No need for water with these body washes, wipes and foams. You can cleanse your skin and even wash your hair with the no-rinse products made especially for those who are bedridden or otherwise unable to bathe. Great for caregivers! Also ideal for campers, trekkers or people on the go.
Skin Creams – Skin cream is by definition thicker than a skin lotion, made to lubricate and penetrate – essentially “melt” into the skin. Creams are usually used to help heal dry skin, burns, sunburns, fungus. Creams are sometimes thought of as more restorative than preventative.
Diabetic Skin Care – Good skin care for diabetics starts with infection prevention in the form of daily skin care and skin inspection. Skin must be kept moist to prevent cracking and potential infection of desensitized skin. There are a variety of skin products made specifically for diabetic skin therapy.
Skin Lotion– Lotions are generally formulated to moisturize the skin to prevent dryness. You should use a daily moisturizer to keep your skin soft and hydrated. Choose from name brand and medical lotions.
Ointments –Ointments are usually thick petroleum based protective creams, sometimes with zinc oxide or antifungals. They are used for everthing from wound care to make removal to diaper care to hand cream.