Male incontinence - An introduction

One in every four men over 40 years old* deals with urine leakage, also known as incontinence. The best way to find a solution is to learn more about the causes and types of male incontinence.

Illustrated icon showing 8 out of 32 men in a lighter shade of blue
One in every four men over 40 years old* deals with urine leakage. The best way to find a solution for bladder problems in men is to learn more about the causes and types of male incontinence.  
 
 
*Based on a survey conducted by Essity in 2012, with men over 40 in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Russia, and Mexico. Data on file not published. 

The most common types of bladder problems for men

Although bladder pain in men is not a common symptom of incontinence, a bladder that is unable to empty properly is uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing, and you will want to get a diagnosis. The best way to establish which type of bladder problem you are dealing with is to consult a doctor. Once they understand the cause, they can rule out other issues and begin to help you find the right treatment.  
 
There are a number of different types of bladder problems that are common for men. Read about the main types of urinary incontinence below. 

Urge urinary incontinence

Urge incontinence is the most common type of incontinence in men and refers to a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by involuntary leakage. One of the main causes of urge incontinence in men is an enlarged prostate, which causes bladder-emptying difficulties, and gives you the sensation of needing to pass urine when you don’t want to, including during the night. In some cases, such urges may be the result of bladder irritation from an infection or bladder stones. It can also develop as a complication of a nerve- or brain-related illness such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis. 

Stress urinary incontinence

Stress incontinence refers to involuntary leakage that occurs when you exert pressure on your bladder by for example sneezing, laughing or lifting something heavy. The sphincter or pelvic floor muscles and ligaments that support the bladder are too weak to hold urine in. This type of incontinence is not generally common in men but may develop in some men after prostate surgery.  

Post-micturition dribble

This condition involves involuntary leakage immediately after passing urine, and is the result of urine remaining in the urethra. Many men over 60 experience PMD, but it can also appear at a younger age. PMD may be due to weakness in the pelvic floor muscles that surround the urethra. If so, it can be treated by exercising the pelvic floor muscles, and by milking the urethra after voiding.  
 
When urine remains in the urethra, a dribble can occur after urinating. “Milking” the urethra can be helpful. This is done by pressing gently on the urethra behind the scrotum, to push out the trapped urine. 

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The Prostate and Male urine leakage

While the prostate and incontinence ‘isn’t the sexiest of cocktail party topics,’ it’s important to know how one impacts the other. To clear up any confusion on the issue, we sat down with Ralph Peeker, Professor and Chief Physician at the Department of Urology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg.

Male incontinence - An introduction

One in every four men over 40 years old* deals with urine leakage, also known as incontinence. The best way to find a solution is to learn more about the causes and types of male incontinence.