Incontinence Advice

Prostate Problems - Causes of Bladder Weakness in Men

In this article, we will look at the issues relating to the prostate gland which may lead to urinary incontinence – a condition that affects countless people worldwide. By understanding the connection between prostate health and bladder control, we can shed light on the challenges faced by those dealing with prostate problems. 


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Recognising Symptoms of Prostate Problems

Men might experience any of these urinary symptoms:

 
  • Slow or interrupted urine flow.
  • Trouble starting urination.
  • The need to urinate more regularly.
  • Feeling like the bladder isn't fully emptied.
  • Leaking pee after peeing or between trips to the bathroom.
  • Urgency, feeling the need to rush to pee because the bladder must work extra hard to overcome a blockage.
  • Waking up at night one or more times to pee (nocturia).
  • Revisiting the bathroom shortly after peeing.
  • Burning or discomfort when urinating.
  • Pee with blood in it.
  • Passing very little or no pee at all (urinary retention). This requires immediate medical attention.

After prostate surgery (also called prostatectomy or Transurethral Resection of the Prostate - TURP), incontinence is a common issue for men. Often, men frequently find this to be the toughest part of the recovery process. We have outlined the main 7 bladder problems in men that discusses signs, symptoms and solutions for men’s bladder problems.

How to Control Incontinence after Prostate Surgery

Incontinence can occur after prostate surgery or radiation therapy (for those being treated for prostate cancer). The good news is that doctors and surgeons are working hard to protect the bladder muscles as much as they can.


After surgery, the most common kind of urine leakage is stress incontinence. This often happens to men whose prostate gland has been removed. On the other hand, after getting radiation therapy and treatment, a different type of leakage called urge incontinence might occur. Fortunately, over time, urine leaks tend to get better. Most men see an improvement anywhere between one to six months after surgery.

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Helpful tips for Managing Incontinence Caused by Prostate Problems

If you're getting ready for prostate surgery, we recommend having a discussion with your GP. This way, you can learn about the potential side effects and make informed choices.


For those dealing with incontinence due to prostate problems, making a few changes might be helpful. You could consider adjusting your habits, like cutting back on particular fluids, especially before bedtime, or skipping caffeine and alcohol. We have a helpful article on the best bladder friendly drinks to help manage this condition. Exploring Kegal exercises is also worth considering (you can learn more by checking out these pelvic exercises, and don't forget to discuss this with your GP).


5 Types of Prostate Problems

There are many reasons causing issues with the prostate. The main reason is when the prostate becomes larger, which happens to many men as they age. 


Another issue that may arise is if the prostate becomes swollen and sore. However, the most serious concern is prostate cancer. These problems can make it hard to control urine sometimes. If you need an operation or radiation therapy to fix your prostate, it might also make it hard to control urine, but that might not last forever.


  1. Prostate Enlargement (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia - BPH)

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, commonly known as BPH, is a common issue, mainly in older men where the prostate gland slowly grows larger. This glad wraps around the tube carrying urine from the bladder (called the urethra). When the prostate becomes enlarged, it may press against the urethra, making it hard to start or stop urinating.

 

The flow of urine can also become weak, and sometimes, urine might stay in the bladder. In serious cases, the bladder stretches too much, making its muscles weak and raising the chances of leakage. If this occurs, there are incontinence products for men which will help manage this problem. For more information on how to treat BPH, you can check on the NHS website. 


  1. Prostate Inflammation (Prostatitis)

Prostatitis is when the prostate gland gets inflamed, often due to infections or other reasons. This swelling can bother the nearby tissues and interfere with how the prostate works, which can lead to urine problems. Sometimes, it causes a sudden and strong urge to pee, which can be difficult to control. This is called urge incontinence.


  1. Prostate Cancer and Treatment

Prostate cancer and its treatments, like surgery and radiation therapy, can affect how well you pass urine. When a part or all the prostate is taken out (surgery called prostatectomy), the support the prostate gives to bladder control goes away. The bladder's "stop leaks" muscles can get weaker, making stress incontinence more likely. Stress incontinence means urine can leak when you cough, sneeze, or even lift objects.


  1. Nerve Problems

Around the prostate are nerves that help control how you empty the bladder. Anything hurting these nerves, like surgery or nerve diseases, can interfere with your bladder control. This can lead to different types of leaks: urge leaks (sudden urge to urinate), stress leaks (when pressure on your bladder makes urine escape), or overflow leaks (when the bladder doesn't empty completely).


  1. Muscle Weakness and Problems

Prostate issues and treatments can weaken the muscles that control when you urinate. The prostate and its nearby muscles help seal the bladder to stop urine from leaking. But if these muscles get weak because of prostate problems, it's hard to keep urine in, and leaks can happen.


Steps to Regain Bladder Control

Did you know that there are simple, effective ways in which you can maintain control of your bladder whilst handling prostate problems? Here is what you can do: 


Exercise Your Pelvic Floor Muscles: Training these muscles can speed up your recovery and lessen leaks. Ignoring them might mean more consistent leakages. Doing pelvic floor exercises both before and after prostate surgery is crucial for your recovery. After the catheter is removed, restart these exercises to prevent bladder discomfort.


Stay Hydrated: Drink enough to quench your thirst. Ask your GP how much fluid is right for you. Cut down on caffeine, alcohol, and fizzy drinks as they could irritate your bladder.

Develop Healthy Toilet Routines

Use the toilet when you genuinely feel your bladder is full – avoid the routine of going "just in case." Following prostate surgery, you might not feel the sensation of a full bladder. Over time, this sensation will come back as you gain the ability to wait longer. It is important to train yourself to retain urine to help your bladder expand its capacity for holding urine.

Control Prostate Problems In Men
In conclusion, prostate problems can impact men's urinary health in various ways. It's crucial for men to understand these potential impacts as shown in this article, seek medical advice from a GP, and adopt healthy habits to manage urinary health effectively.
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FAQs

How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

Prostate cancer is typically diagnosed through a combination of a digital rectal exam (DRE), a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test, and possibly a biopsy if abnormalities are detected.


What are the treatment options for prostate cancer?

Treatment options for prostate cancer include active surveillance (monitoring the cancer's progression), surgery (prostatectomy), radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy in advanced cases.


Can prostate problems affect sexual function?

Yes, prostate problems like an enlarged prostate or prostate cancer treatments can impact sexual function by causing erectile dysfunction or changes in ejaculation.


How can men maintain good prostate health?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking, can contribute to good prostate health. Regular check-ups with a doctor are also important, especially for men over 50.


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