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Stress Incontinence in Men

Overview

Stress incontinence means that you leak a small amount of urine when you do something that puts stress, strain, or pressure on your bladder. It can happen when you cough, laugh, strain, lift something, or change position.

What causes stress incontinence in men?

Stress incontinence can happen when the prostate gland is removed or after radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

After a man's prostate gland is removed, the bladder no longer has enough support from the prostate. The lower part of the bladder may not have enough support if there has been damage to the nerves or to the muscle (sphincter) that surrounds the urethra.

The sphincter must then do all the work of holding urine in. The extra pressure when you sneeze, cough, or strain forces urine past the sphincter.

How is it treated?

Pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels) are one way to treat stress incontinence in men. These exercises can help strengthen some of the muscles that control the flow of urine. Biofeedback can help you improve control too.

Medicines may also be used. An antidepressant medicine called duloxetine may help with bladder control.

Stress incontinence caused by removal of the prostate gland may also be treated with surgery if the incontinence isn't cured after a period of watchful waiting.

There are several different kinds of surgeries for severe stress incontinence that doesn't improve with other treatments. These surgeries try to lift or compress the urethra. This makes you less likely to leak urine when you sneeze, cough, or laugh.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: October 18, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Avery L. Seifert MD - Urology