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How is Incontinence in Men Treated?

By Amanda Barnhart
Updated May 17, 2024
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Incontinence in men can be treated in many different ways, including simple lifestyle changes, medications, or even surgery for severe cases. Which treatment is best depends largely on the cause and severity of the loss of bladder control. Doctors typically try conservative treatments first to avoid catheterization and surgery if at all possible. Men who experience chronic urine leakage or loss of bladder control should see their doctors for help, since incontinence can be a sign of a serious underlying condition, such as kidney stones or prostate problems.

Lifestyle changes and behavior modifications can effectively treat incontinence in men in many cases if the loss of urinary control is not caused by a serious medical problem. Refraining from drinking caffeinated and carbonated beverages can help reduce incontinence, as can limiting certain foods that can irritate the bladder, including tomatoes, citrus fruits, dairy products, and spicy foods. Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet can help patients reach and maintain a healthy weight, a large factor in controlling urinary incontinence in men. Behavioral changes, such as setting up specific times to try to urinate every three or four hours, and trying to urinate again after voiding the bladder and relaxing for several minutes can also help.

Several different prescription medications can be used to treat incontinence in men who do not see an improvement with lifestyle alterations and home treatment. Men who have urinary problems as a result of a swollen prostate are often given antibiotics to help clear the infection. Other medications help control bladder spasms and other problems that lead to incontinence. Certain antispasmodic and antidepressant medications can also help treat incontinence in men caused by stress or other factors.

If behavioral strategies and medications fail to adequately control incontinence symptoms, doctors usually resort to catheterization or surgery to correct the problem. For short-term relief from incontinence, men may use a condom catheter, which is a sheath that fits over the penis with a tube attached to allow urine to drain. Long-term catheterization involves a thin, flexible tube inserted into the urethra to the bladder, and allows urine to drain.

Surgical procedures to treat incontinence in men are generally the last treatment method suggested, since they carry risks and sometimes long recovery periods. Surgeons can implant a device around the urethra called an artificial sphincter that can be deflated and inflated to control urine leakage. The other common surgical procedure for incontinence is a bulbourethral sling, which suspends and supports the urethra to remove excess pressure that can result in incontinence.

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