It is more or less common knowledge that women often experience incontinence issues for a variety of reasons, most often relating to the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. The weakened muscles can be caused by childbirth, medical conditions, and just the natural aging process. However, what is not so commonly known is men can also suffer from incontinence. While the condition in men can also be caused by the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, incontinence in men is more often the result of a medical condition.
Located between the coccyx and the pubic bone, the pelvic floor muscles support the bowels, bladder, rectum, and prostate in men and the uterus and vagina in women. In addition to incontinence, weakened pelvic-floor muscles in men may also contribute to erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. While occasional sexual issues are not a cause for concern and can strike men of any age, persistent erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation will affect your sex life and can lead to anxiety, stress, lower self-confidence, and cause relationship issues.
Types of Incontinence
For men, incontinence is often the result of an underlying medical condition such as prostate issues, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease and can be caused by complications from some surgeries as well. Even though it often has different root causes, incontinence in men can typically be treated through the same methods as in women. Also, similarly to women, men can suffer from four types of incontinence:
1) Urgency Incontinence: This is the most common type of incontinence in men, accounting for up to 80 percent of cases. Urgency incontinence occurs when there is a sudden and powerful urge to urinate that can’t be postponed. This results in bladder leakage that may range from just dribbling in minor events to full-stream leakage in more severe cases.
2) Stress Incontinence: Less common in men, this type of incontinence accounts for roughly 10% of all cases. It occurs when the pelvic floor muscles and supporting tissues of the urethra that control the urinary sphincter weaken. It is possible for stress incontinence to occur with urge incontinence.
3) Functional Incontinence: This type of incontinence is typically associated with some sort of physical or cognitive impairment, with the primary symptom being urine leakage. Functional incontinence is diagnosed if no urge or stress symptoms are present but you still cannot make it to the bathroom in time. Symptoms include a sudden and compelling urge to urinate and urine leakage during daily activities, but without experiencing an urge to urinate.
4) Overflow Incontinence: Causing a constant urine leak or dribble. This type of incontinence is due to an enlarged prostate or other problem that causes the bladder to have a reduced volume, causing it to overflow.
The good news is multiple incontinence treatment options are available, including behavioral therapies, medications, and surgery. However, a newer and non-invasive nerve-stimulation therapy called Emsella can often improve and even eliminate symptoms.
Causes of Incontinence
For most men, the most common cause of urinary incontinence is BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia. This is a condition common in older men where the prostate gland enlarges as men age and takes up space that would normally be available for the bladder to expand. As a result, the bladder has less room to expand, so the need to urinate becomes more frequent. Prostate surgery can result in or lead to damage of the sphincter muscle that can, in turn, result in incontinence.
Incontinence Treatment Options
Aside from surgery and medication, behavioral therapy and dietary changes may be of some help. These include:
- A surgeon may implant an artificial urinary sphincter to help control leakage.
- Medications, like alpha blockers, can help the muscles that control urinary functions relax and allow for fuller bladder emptying.
- Behavioral modifications include bladder training to increase control. This involves trying to hold off going for a few minutes and gradually increasing the amount of time you wait before urinating after the urge occurs.
- Lifestyle changes can improve symptoms. These include reducing or avoiding foods that stimulate urine production, such as caffeine, highly acidic foods, and alcohol.
- Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor to increase urinary control.
- Electromagnetic therapy is a newer FDA-approved form of non-invasive urinary incontinence therapy that is showing marked results. Emsella is designed to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor by provoking muscle contractions.
Other Male Bladder Issues
The bladder has elastic properties that allow it to expand as it fills as the kidneys process water and minerals into the urine. Once the bladder has expanded enough to stimulate the pelvic parasympathetic nerves located on the spinal cord, the urge to urinate occurs. During urination, the sphincter muscles around the urethra relax to release urine from the bladder in coordination with the detrusor muscle contraction that helps squeeze urine out of the bladder and through the urethra. Incontinence occurs when these muscles and/or nerves have become compromised.
It is important to note that, like a balloon, the bladder has more potential for space than actual size. Issues like an enlarged prostate contribute to reducing the amount of space available for the bladder to expand. This will typically increase the frequency of urination, especially after going to bed. This is often a significant issue for men as they age, requiring multiple trips to the bathroom during the night. This is primarily due to the legs retaining more water as people age, and the water drains after lying down when the body is in a prone position. With less room for the bladder to expand, this causes men to have to get up during the night to urinate.
Benefits of Emsella
Emsella therapy uses a specially designed chair that produces a non-invasive but powerful, high-intensity focused electromagnetic charge to create electrical currents that are sent to the pelvic floor muscles. The charge results in triggering contractions to strengthen all the muscles that support the bladder, prostate, and rectum to improve neuromuscular control of the bladder function. In fact, one HIFEM treatment is the equivalent of performing almost 12,000 Kegel exercises in a single 28-minute secession! The treatment is completely painless, and you will only experience a mild tingling in the pelvic-floor muscles during the session.
Male patients typically undergo a treatment course of six to eight sessions over three to four weeks and see a noticeable decrease in incontinence. Another benefit for men of strengthening the pelvic floor muscles is improved sexual performance with increased erectile firmness and control of ejaculation, which can result in restoring self-confidence and self-esteem. Emsella can also improve sleep quality by reducing or possibly eliminating nighttime trips to the bathroom. Many men begin to notice changes after just one session, with improvement continuing over the course of treatment.
Emsella treatment can be an effective urinary incontinence therapy option for both urinary and sexual dysfunction in men. If you have been struggling with either condition, consider trying Emsella therapy. Be Still Float wellness studio offers a host of therapies, including Emsella in Jacksonville, Florida. Visit them online at BeStillFloat.com for more information, or call them at 904.593.2458 to schedule a consultation or make an appointment.