Better conversation ahead: How to talk about urine leakage and open up

For a lot of men, talking about personal issues like urine leakage can feel uncomfortable, but the key to finding a solution is an honest and frank dialogue with both your doctor and your loved ones.

Men eating in the garden

The ‘Guy’s Guide’ to Talking About Urine Leakage

Urine leakage in men is much more common than it seems. It’s a battle that affects millions and can seriously affect people’s confidence and wellbeing. Unfortunately, many men also contend with feelings of shame and embarrassment, often in silence.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Our latest research revealed that 93% of men are aware urine leakage affects men. However, only 17% said they would be willing to discuss incontinence with their friends. It’s a taboo – a taboo that only makes life more difficult for those already dealing with issues.

The only way to break a taboo is to open the floodgates, so to speak, and encourage honest and open dialogue about the subject between men and their peers. After all, 51% of men agreed they already share on topics like sex, salaries and sports. Men know how to open up with each other when the topic is right. Its time to add male incontinence concerns to that list, for everyone’s benefit.

So, how do you have a conversation with a guy about urine leakage? Read our tips below to learn how.

How to have better conversations about urine leakage

Everyone communicates differently. But men will often find communicating about personal subjects difficult.

Whether you’re trying to open up to your friends about urine leakage or encouraging others to be open with you, use these tips on how to listen so men will talk.

1. Don’t make it too serious

Talking about urine leakage doesn’t have to be a big deal. In fact, most of the time it shouldn’t be a big deal.

However, can be a sensitive topic. Keeping things light can be liberating and make incontinence or other sensitive subjects less intimidating. As a listener, remember to be conscious that opening up about urine leakage can be difficult, so be understanding.

2. Allow and create space

If you’re trying to talk about incontinence and things become stressful, allow space for the conversation to slow down or pause. Men tend to withdraw when a conversation becomes stressful and can even become defensive if pressed on a subject they aren’t comfortable with.

Allow the conversation to ebb and flow naturally and take their lead. Don’t worry about rushing to say something or fill in the gaps. Be thoughtful and considerate. It’s more important to actively listen when someone is opening up, rather than offering a solution or trying to say the right thing. Create space for them to do the talking.

3. Provide a distraction

Many men will find it easier to talk when there is a distraction to reduce pressure. A distraction such as watching sport, doing chores or driving can help direct some of the attention away from them. It also allows the conversation to shift away from incontinence naturally when necessary. This is why many men prefer to talk while their hands are busy.

4. Be empowering

Try to use language that’s empowering, where possible. Many men want to project an image of confidence and strength, even when they are really struggling. Helping men to feel empowered while talking about urine leakage is key to building confidence and encouraging the conversation. Instead of thinking of someone as suffering from urine leakage, talk about how they are handling it. It’s a subtle difference. But it’s important.

5. Body language and positioning

You can use body language and strategic positioning to help encourage more openness during conversation, especially with men. Try talking while standing or sitting side by side (known as sideways listening). This is a common tactic used by therapists and counsellors to take pressure of the person doing the talking.

This will help reduce pressure and increase men’s comfort levels. Eye contact can be seen as a challenge sometimes, even subconsciously. Making it possible for men to talk without having to worry about maintaining eye contact or reading someone’s expressions is key to helping them focus on expressing their feelings.

6. Show you understand

When you’re sure the person opening up has expressed their feelings and have been reassured, you can reciprocate. Sharing your own relevant experiences can be a powerful way to help a person see you know where they are coming from. This can help men to understand they aren’t alone in dealing with issues like incontinence and encourage further openness in future. 

Doing this does require some caution, however. Make sure never to overshadow or interrupt a person with your own experiences. It’s also important not to use someone opening up as a chance to get things off your own chest. First and foremost, you need to always remain an active listener.

7. Seek medical advice

Incontinence is a medical condition, and there are ways to mitigate and reduce the symptoms. For example, pelvic floor exercises can help reduce or stop urine leakage. Unfortunately, only 14% of men over 40 have tried to improve their pelvic floor health, and 84% have never attempted to improve their pelvic floor health at all. 

It’s also not uncommon for men to avoid seeing the doctor to address health concerns, despite 79% of men saying they would speak to their GP about incontinence, if given the chance. Men’s mental health support will also play a role in this process, so don’t be afraid to organise or advise someone to see a doctor.

Talking to your loved ones

Talking to your partner, a close friend or a therapist can help you cope with your situation. By taking the first step to open up and talk about it, it will become easier for you to get the help you need to find the right solution.

It's good to remember that you're not alone. Millions of otherwise healthy men are successfully managing urine leakage and bladder issues every day. It's even possible that some of your friends are dealing with the same issues as you.

Last but not least, nothing should stop you from doing the things you enjoy, so make sure to take the first step towards recovery by talking about your problem with someone you trust.


For many men, intimate health difficulties like urine leakage or frequent urination can seem hard to discuss. However it's good to remember that while the subject might feel embarrassing for you to talk about in person, it's simply medical for a doctor. So don't be afraid to ask questions, after all, it's the only way to get answers.

Here are some good ways to prepare for your appointment with your doctor:

  • Making a list of your symptoms can help the doctor diagnose what type of urine leakage you are dealing with and also determine what the cause of the problem is.
  • It's easy to forget some questions you may have while talking with your doctor. That’s why it’s a good idea to write them down before your visit to ensure you get all the answers you need during your appointment.

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