When you are no longer able to control when urine is released from your body, it may be time to consider treatment options for incontinence. As men’s bodies age, a number of changes occur that can result in urinary incontinence (UI). At West Jefferson Medical Center, our New Orleans urologists have the relevant experience and the latest tools to help our patients regain control of their lives.
What causes incontinence?
There can be many causes for UI in aging men. Those with diseases such as diabetes or Parkinson’s Disease, or those who have suffered a stroke are more likely to deal with urinary incontinence.
UI is primarily caused by:
- Nerve issues – Damage to bladder control can result from stroke and other diseases of the nervous system. These complications can cause overactive bladder and overflow incontinence, where urine is frequently released in small amounts
- Prostate concerns – Prostates swell as men get older. As the prostate is closely located to the urinary stream, swelling can lead to UI by cutting off circulation. Solutions can be prostate removal or radiation therapy
Detection & treatment
For a physician to learn more about a UI case, they will first need to examine a patient’s medical history. Depending on past surgeries or medications, UI may have occurred because of side effects or residual scarring. They may also ask a patient to keep a diary of when they urinate throughout the day to identify any patterns.
Physicians may also search for UI causes with:
- Electroencephalogram/Electromyogram – Using wires taped to either the head (EEG) or the abdomen (EMG), doctors can test the way muscles operate and identify any problems
- Ultrasound – Imaging specialists use sound waves to create a detailed picture showing the muscle and other tissue found within the bladder and urinary tract
- Urodynamic testing – Wires placed on the abdomen near the bladder measure the pressure with which urine leaves the body and can help to determine where problems are located
Urinary incontinence can be treated through simple lifestyle changes as well as surgery. Some patients with UI learn new habits such as limiting fluid intake during certain times of the day. Medication can also be used for some patients to relax muscles or shrink the prostate.
Others may require surgical procedures such as:
- Artificial sphincter – Works by keeping the urethra closed with a manually operated cuff until the patient is ready to urinate
- Urethra sling – Prevents urination until the patient chooses to release urine
- Urinary diversion – Changes the outlet of urine through the use of a stoma