Optimal Care | Incontinence
Overflow Incontinence In Men
Overflow incontinence, also known as chronic urinary retention, mainly affects older men. Here you can find out everything about the causes, symptoms and possible treatments for those affected. If you are experiencing issues with overflow incontinence then you can use our incontinence pads for men to help you manage this condition.
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Overflow incontinence (chronic urinary retention) in menThe prostate, a gland only found in men, plays an important role in the production of semen and is also a part of the urinary system. As men age, the prostate can enlarge, leading to a condition known as overflow incontinence. In this article, we'll explore the causes, symptoms and treatments of this common male issue.
Benign Enlarged Prostate - A Common Cause of Problems
An enlarged prostate, commonly referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is often the cause of urinary problems in older men. The prostate, which is normally about the size of a chestnut, begins to enlarge around age 50 due to age-related hormonal changes. This slow growth can cause the urethra to become obstructed, leading to difficulties in urination and typical symptoms of an enlarged prostate, such as:
- Weak urine stream
- Intermittent urination
- Difficulty starting urination
- Feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Dribbling after urination
- Sudden strong urge to urinate and involuntary loss of urine
- Pain, burning and pulling during urination
- Blood in urine
In severe cases, the urethral obstruction can progress to complete urinary retention, causing painful bladder expansion and requiring immediate medical intervention.
Chronic Urinary Retention and Overflow Incontinence
Overflow incontinence, also known as "drip incontinence," is a result of chronic urinary retention. The blockage of the urethra causes urine to accumulate in the bladder, gradually stretching its wall muscles and increasing pressure. This can cause urine to continuously leak and even lead to kidney problems if the urine backs up.
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Other Causes of IncontinenceThe most common cause of overflow incontinence is mechanical obstruction below the bladder outlet, often due to an enlarged prostate. Incontinence can also occur from scarring from improper catheteriszation or from a single instance of bladder overstretching during surgery. Neurogenic or psychogenic forms of incontinence, which are less common, are related to underlying conditions such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Overflow Incontinence
To effectively treat overflow incontinence, the underlying cause must be identified. If an enlarged prostate is suspected, the doctor will perform a physical examination, measure the urine stream and residual urine, and possibly conduct an ultrasound examination. A blood test for the tumor marker "prostate-specific antigen" (PSA) may also be conducted to distinguish between benign and malignant growth.
The treatment of overflow incontinence depends on the stage of the disease. In early stages, medication may be sufficient. As the prostate enlarges and symptoms worsen, surgery may be the most effective option. Neurogenic or psychogenic forms of incontinence can be more difficult to treat and usually require symptomatic treatment with medication.
To gain a better understanding of the different treatment options available, be sure to read our article "Treatment Options"
Incontinence After Prostate Surgery
Urinary incontinence and bladder leakages after prostate surgery is a common occurrence, but it is important to remember that it is usually only temporary. The removal of the prostate during surgery can result in stress incontinence, similar to womens‘ stress incontinence. However, pelvic floor training can help strengthen the external sphincter muscle and improve its locking force. If you have recently undergone prostate surgery and are concerned about incontinence, be sure to read our article "Incontinence after Prostate Surgery" for more information and guidance.