Incontinence - An introduction

One in every four men over 40 years old* deals with urine leakage, also known as incontinence. The best way to find a solution is to learn more about how incontinence works.

One in four men deal with urine leakage

The most common types of incontinence

There are a number of different types of incontinence, but the ones that are most common are urge incontinence and dribbles (also known as post-micturition dribble and terminal dribble). It's not uncommon to be dealing with a combination of the two. Other types of incontinence are overflow urinary incontinence (an involuntary leakage while having a full bladder often caused by enlarged prostate problems) and stress incontinence. The best way to establish which type you are dealing with is to consult a doctor who can help you find the right treatment. A consultation with a doctor can also help you rule out if the urine leakage is a side-effect caused by other issues.

Urge urinary incontinence

Urge incontinence refers to involuntary leakage with an intense feeling of needing to pass urine. There are a number of things that can cause this condition. One of the main causes is when the detrusor muscles, which are the voluntary muscles in the sphincter, are overactive and cause involuntary contractions. This sends nerve messages to the brain, giving you the sensation that you need to pass urine when you don't want to. In some cases it could be because of a bladder irritation from an infection, or kidney stones. It could also develop as a complication of a nerve or brain-related illness (a stroke, Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis).

Stress urinary incontinence

Stress incontinence refers to involuntary leakage due to effort or exertion of the bladder (such as when you cough, laugh, or sneeze). The sphincter or pelvic floor muscles and ligaments that support the bladder are too weak to hold urine in. This type of incontinence mainly occurs in women, but around 1% of men can develop this after prostate surgery.

How to get better

There are different ways to improve your bladder control. Doing pelvic floor exercises and changing certain things in your diet are two ways for example. The best way to start getting control back is to consult your doctor, so that you can find the best solution for yourself.

You are also welcome to learn more on our pages about exercises and tips and advice.

* Based on survey conducted by SCA in 2012, with men over 40 in the US, UK Germany, Italy, Russia and Mexico. Data on file not published.

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Types and causes

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Types and causes of urine leakage and incontinence



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