Health Watch: Bladder Control Affects 1 in 10 over the age of 65

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Male Incontinence: Urinary incontinence (bladder control problem) is a condition that affects one out of 10 people over age 65. It can be embarrassing, but understanding what causes the incontinence can improve your chances of managing it.

SLUCare urologists offer several treatment options – non-surgical and surgical – for men who are struggling with incontinence and want control and quality of life back.

Incontinence affects 25 million Americans (11 to 34 percent of men).  Urinary incontinence occurs when the muscles in the bladder that control the flow of urine contract or relax involuntarily. This results in either leaking or uncontrolled urination. It can range from mild, occasional leaking to chronic, uncontrolled urination.

Dr. Clay McDonough, a SLUCare urologist says, "there are folks that leak 10 pads a day. They're obviously very miserable from that."

He explains the two most common types of incontinence are stress and urge incontinence:.

  • Stress incontinence occurs when there is unexpected leakage of urine caused by pressure or sudden muscle contractions on the bladder (coughing, sneezing, etc.). This can affect men, who’ve recently had prostate surgery.
  • Urge incontinence (or overactive bladder) occurs when a person feels the urge to urinate but is unable to hold back the urine long enough to get to a bathroom.

McDonough says, “for stress incontinence, it really tends to be a surgical treatment. Urge incontinence on the other hand almost always is a medical treatment. We’ve got a battery of medicines called anticoagulants that work very well to calm the bladder down.”

If the prescription medications don’t help, there are some surgical treatment options. The two most common surgical procedures used to treat stress incontinence include sling procedures and artificial sphincter procedures. Slings are for less severe cases of incontinence and require, whereas the artificial sphincter is for more advanced cases and can last 15-20 years. Most patients choose to avoid a mechanical device, opting for the male sling over the artificial urinary sphincter.

Sacral nerve stimulation can be used to treat urge incontinence. It involves a surgical procedure to implant a small device below the skin of the buttock. This device periodically generates a mild electrical stimulation to the sacral nerves, which results in increased tension in the bladder, sphincter, and pelvic floor muscles.

SLUCare urologist can help you determine the best treatment, so you can get back to enjoying life without worrying about leaks or bladder accidents.

"I won't tell patients what to do. It's not my job. My job is to put the cards on the table and help them make an informed decision."

To learn more about SLUCare urology options, click here.


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