Causes of Male Incontinence
Causes of Male Incontinence: Prostate Problems
The prostate is a male gland about the size and shape of a walnut. It surrounds the urethra, just below the bladder, where it adds fluid to semen before ejaculation.
- Radical prostatectomy: The surgical removal of the entire prostate gland -- called radical prostatectomy -- may be recommended to treat prostate cancer. The surgeon may approach the prostate through the abdomen, or through the perineal area (between the scrotum and the anus). The surgery may lead to erection problems and UI, although nerve-sparing procedures in the abdominal approach may make these side effects less likely.
- External beam radiation: This therapy uses an x-ray machine to deliver radiation to the prostate gland. The treatment is not painful, but can cause side effects, including:
- BPH: The prostate gland commonly becomes enlarged as a man ages. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or benign prostatic hypertrophy. As the prostate enlarges, it may squeeze the urethra. The bladder wall thickens and becomes irritable, and the bladder begins to contract, even when it contains only small amounts of urine. This results in more frequent urination. BPH rarely causes symptoms before age 40, but more than half of men in their sixties, and up to 90 percent in their seventies and eighties, have some symptoms of BPH. The symptoms vary, but the most common ones involve:
- Changes or problems with urination, such as a hesitant, interrupted, weak stream
- Urgency and leaking or dribbling
- More frequent urination, especially at night
- Urge incontinence.
Problems with urination do not necessarily signal blockage caused by an enlarged prostate. Other changes associated with aging can cause urination problems experienced by both men and women.