Men's Incontinence Guide

Have some basic questions about male incontinence or Depend® incontinence products for men? We've divided common questions from men like you into five categories. Each is filled with answers you need.

  1. Incontinence Basics
  2. Living & Managing
  3. Product FAQs
  4. Support FAQs
  5. Prostate Health & Incontinence
  1. Incontinence Basics

    • Q

      What is urinary incontinence?

      A
      Urinary Incontinence is the medical term for the "complaint of any involuntary leakage of urine." This definition was standardized by the International Continence Society and is being used more consistently by medical professionals, researchers and industry.

      Involuntary urine leakage for any reason is more common than the general public is aware of. Symptoms are sometimes related to temporary or reversible conditions and other times related to long term conditions or risk factors. The good news is that with access to good information you can find how to reduce, eliminate and/or manage the risk factors that may be involved for your symptoms. If the symptoms are very bothersome, please do not hesitate to consult with your primary physician or urologist.Start by getting the facts about urinary incontinence and the things you can do to help relieve your symptoms in our free Information Booklet.
    • Q

      How common is urinary incontinence?

      A

      Recent research using the standardized definition of any involuntary urine leakage, indicates that millions of adults, between the ages of 20-85 years old, in the United States may experience some symptoms. Over 65 million Americans experience bladder leakage and nearly half of them are under age 50. This translates to about 1 in 4 Americans that may experience bladder leakage.

      Bladder leakage is not a condition that just affects older adults, 22.9 million Americans under the age of 45 experience also have some bladder leakage. That’s approximately three times the population of New York City and eight times the population of Chicago. These numbers include both men and women, although women are about 3 times more likely to have any urine leakage than men.

      We hope these facts inspire you to seek the information about the range of solutions available to meet your needs without embarrassment. It is also advisable to consult with your doctor about your urine leakage symptoms since in some cases it can be associated with another condition or drug interaction that may need medical evaluation.

    • Q

      What causes urinary incontinence?

      A

      There are many causes of urinary incontinence. Some include weak bladder muscles, an enlarged prostate, stroke, complications from surgery, radiation treatment, or chronic diseases like diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Parkinson's disease. Other diseases that affect the bladder nerves or spinal cord could also cause urinary incontinence.

    • Q

      How does my bladder work?

      A

      Your body stores urine in the bladder. During urination, muscles in the bladder tighten to move urine into the urethra – a tube below the bladder. At the same time, the muscles around the urethra relax and let the urine pass. Incontinence occurs if the urine leaves the bladder and urethra without warning.

    • Q

      What are the different kinds of incontinence with the symptoms and potential causes?

      A
      Stress Incontinence
      • Loss of urine when you place pressure or ‘stress' on your bladder
      • Leakage when you sneeze, cough, laugh, exercise, or lift heavy items
      • Causes may include: physical changes from being overweight or the removal of the prostate gland
      Urge Incontinence
      • Sudden, intense urge to urinate – often followed by involuntary loss of urine
      • Sudden or frequent emptying of bladder; getting up two or more times per night to urinate
      • Causes may include: bladder or urinary tract infections, bladder irritants, stroke, neurological diseases such as Parkinson's or Multiple Sclerosis
      Overflow Incontinence
      • Frequent or constant dribble of urine
      • Feeling your bladder is never empty; sometimes only a weak stream of urine
      • Causes may include: damaged bladder, blocked urethra, diabetes
      Functional Incontinence
      • Inability to reach bathroom in time
      • Physical or psychological impairment where you cannot reach the bathroom in time
      • Causes may include: mobility limitations, pain with movement, medications, arthritis
    • Q

      What health and lifestyle habits can help reduce the likelihood of incontinence?

      A
      There are several simple things you can do to help maintain bladder and urinary health, including:
      • Urinate regularly and don't delay having bowel movements.

      • Monitor your fluid intake

        Drink at least six to seven 8 oz glasses of water a day to keep your bladder healthy. When you drink less water, your urine is more concentrated and may irritate the lining of the urethra and bladder.

      • Pay attention to your diet

        A lot of things—including caffeine, alcohol, acidic foods (like tomatoes and citrus fruits) and drinks, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, hot spices and carbonated drinks—can irritate your bladder. Take time to learn what foods and drinks trigger your leakage and then remove them from your diet.

      • Consider the weight factor

        A 5% to 10% weight loss can help relieve the added pressure excess weight puts on your bladder and surrounding muscles and aid in controlling your incontinence.

      • Practice pelvic floor muscles exercises, also known as Kegels, to strengthen the muscles that help control urination.
    • Q

      I think I might have urinary incontinence. How do I talk to my doctor?

      A

      First of all, educate yourself. Learn how your body works (especially your urinary system) and what's normal. That way you can give your doctor better information.

      One of the best ways to do this is to a keep a bathroom journal. At least a few days before your appointment, begin keeping track of information such as how much fluid you drink and when you drink, how often you urinate, when you experience incontinence and under what circumstances (exercising, lifting something heavy, laughing, etc).

      If you're feeling embarrassed or find it difficult to talk with your doctor, write down your questions at home before you go to the doctor's office. You might even want to practice saying these questions out loud when you're alone. That will make it easier to say them during your appointment. Here are some questions you might consider:

      • "Could what I eat or drink cause bladder leakage?"
      • "Could my medicines cause bladder leakage?"
      • "What are the treatments to regain bladder control? Which one is best for me?"

      Remember, under a doctor's care, incontinence can be treated and possibly cured. Even if treatment is not completely successful, careful management can help you feel more relaxed and confident.

    • Q

      What's a "bathroom journal" and why should I keep one?

      A

      In many cases, you can train your bladder to empty at the appropriate time. One key re-training tool is a bathroom journal. This journal answers a lot of questions about your bladder health and patterns and creates a baseline picture of your bladder control that you can share with your doctor.

    • Q

      What's bowel incontinence and what causes it?

      A

      Bowel incontinence is the inability to control your bowel movements, causing stool (feces) to leak unexpectedly from your rectum. Also called fecal incontinence, bowel incontinence ranges from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control.

      Bowel incontinence affects more than five million Americans. Both men and women suffer from this problem, although it's more common in women because of the injury to the anal muscles or nerves that can occur during childbirth. It becomes more common with advancing age as the muscles that control bowel movements (anal sphincter muscles) weaken.

      Many people resort to altering their social and physical activities, even their employment, to cope with the problem. However, finding the right incontinence product can go a long way in boosting their confidence. To find the product best for your needs, use our product finder.

    • Q

      What's irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and what causes it?

      A

      Nearly one in five American adults have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is characterized by abdominal pain or cramping and changes in bowel function, including bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and fecal incontinence.

      It's not known exactly what causes IBS. If you have IBS, the muscles that line your intestines may contract stronger and last longer than normal, forcing food through your intestines quicker, causing gas, bloating and diarrhea. Conversely, food passage slows and stools become hard and dry. Abnormalities in your nervous system or colon may also play a role, causing you to experience greater than normal discomfort when your abdomen stretches from gas.

      For many people, IBS causes symptoms that are mild, which do not interfere with daily activities. For others, IBS may severely compromise their quality of life. Finding the right incontinence product can go a long way in boosting his or her confidence. If you have symptoms and suspect you may have IBS, please speak to your doctor or medical provider.

    Back to the top
  2. Living & Managing

    • Q

      How can I prevent and manage accidents?

      A

      A weakened or overactive bladder doesn't have to keep you from living your life. There are steps you can take to prevent accidents or to manage them discreetly when they do happen.

      • Make simple changes
        • Keep the path to the bathroom clear and well lit at night.
        • Wear easy-to-open clothes.
        • Empty your bladder before bed, a big meeting or a trip.
      • Use the right incontinent product. Depend® Brand offers many styles and products designed to fit your needs and lifestyle. We have a comprehensive range of sizes and absorbency levels. Use our product finder to find the most appropriate products for your needs.

      • Minimize odors Though you can't prevent odor completely, you can curb it. First, stay hydrated. The more concentrated your urine is, the stronger it smells. Next, consider taking urine-deodorizing tablets, such as vitamin C, or supplements made for this purpose. You can also help reduce urine odor by drinking apple, pear, cherry or other non-citrus juices.

      • Stay sensibly hydrated Drink at least six to seven 8-oz. glasses of water a day to keep your bladder healthy. When you drink less water, your urine is more concentrated and may irritate the lining of the urethra and bladder.

      • Pay attention to your diet A lot of things—including caffeine, alcohol, acidic foods (like tomatoes and citrus fruits) and drinks, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, hot spices and carbonated drinks—can irritate your bladder. Take time to learn what foods and drinks trigger your leakage and then remove them from your diet.

      • Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles You can do Kegels anywhere, without anyone noticing. With a little practice, Kegels can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles—and that can help reduce feelings of urgency, the need to frequently urinate and accidents.

    • Q

      How do I get a good night's sleep?

      A

      Preparation is everything. Take these steps to prevent accidents from happening:

      • Limit your fluid intake before bedtime, try not to drink liquids after 6 p.m.

      • Avoid bladder-irritating foods and beverages. This includes caffeine, alcohol, acidic foods (like tomatoes and citrus fruits) and drinks, chocolate, artificial sweeteners, hot spices and carbonated drinks.

      • Urinate twice right before bed

      • Do pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels)

      • Use the right incontinent product. Modern incontinence products, like Depend®, Brand, use super absorbent polymers (SAP) that lock in urine and hold more fluid so they're more protective. Depend® Brand offers many sizes, styles and absorbency levels designed to fit your lifestyle. Use our product finder to find the most appropriate products for your needs.

    • Q

      How do I talk to my loved ones about incontinence?

      A

      First, figure out a good time and place to talk. Look for a quiet, comfortable environment where you'll have privacy—and be sure to give yourselves enough time. Think about what you're going to say in advance. You'll want to explain the nature of your condition, why it has happened, how it affects you, and what treatment you're trying.

      Plan to give your loved ones a chance to ask questions. Experts say people with incontinence often overestimate how much the news will embarrass or upset their loved ones. And by trusting them enough to tell them, you could make your relationship much stronger than before.

    • Q

      How do I manage incontinence at work?

      A
      • Use the right incontinence product. Modern incontinence solutions, like Depend® Brand products, use super absorbent polymers (SAP) that lock in urine and hold more fluid so they're more protective. We have a comprehensive range of styles, sizes and absorbency levels designed to fit your needs and lifestyle. Use our product finder to find the most appropriate products for your needs.

      • Avoid the caffeine or water. The caffeine in coffee makes it diuretic, which increases your need to go.

      • Wear dark-colored business attire. It's a timeless look, and it hides a multitude of problems, including little stains.

      • Practice pelvic floor exercises (Kegels)—even in meetings. To do Kegels, contract the muscles that you would use to stop the flow of urine. Hold the contraction for three seconds and then relax. Do this eight to 10 times, at least three times a week.

    • Q

      How do I do Kegels (pelvic floor muscle exercises)? And do they help?

      A

      Kegel exercises help tighten your pelvic floor muscles. They work the muscles that you use to stop urinating, making these muscles stronger helps you hold urine in your bladder longer.

      Locate the pelvic muscles by pretending to stop the flow of urine. Squeeze and hold these muscles for three seconds, then relax for a count of three. Your goal is to try to do 10 tightening/relaxing exercises for a set. Rest and then do two more sets (30 exercises total) each day. Your doctor can give you more exact directions.

      Yes, exercises often help, particularly for persons with the stress type of bladder problem. You should consult with your doctor about the type of bladder weakness you have, and which exercises are best for you.

    • Q

      How long before Kegel exercises begin to help?

      A

      Depending on the type of bladder weakness you have, you may begin to feel the benefit of exercises after just a few weeks, and after eight to 12 months there is a good chance you'll have reduced symptoms or even be symptom-free. Even if you're not symptom-free, exercises may improve your situation and, with the right products to help you, you can regain your confidence. The sooner you act, the better. Most people wait so long that it takes the body some time to get back to earlier routines. Please consult your doctor about your particular situation.

    • Q

      How do I control odor?

      A

      The best way to control odors is a combination of good hygiene, overall body cleanliness, staying properly hydrated, and using fresh, clean undergarments. Dispose of products in an airtight container. When traveling or sharing a house with others, dispose of each incontinence garment in a plastic bag with a zip-style seal. Also consider taking urine-deodorizing tablets, such as vitamin C, or supplements made for this purpose. You can also help reduce urine odor by drinking apple, pear, cherry or other non-citrus juices. Finally, because sometimes people are not aware that an odor is present, find someone you trust to tell you honestly if there is any odor anywhere.

    • Q

      I have a pretty active life. Do you have any tips for changing on the go?

      A

      Yes. Here are some simple things you can do to always make sure you're ready, no matter where you are.

      • Carry a Spare. Make a backpack or messenger bag part of your on-the-go look and keep a few other personal items inside (sunglasses, notebook, jacket, etc) so it makes sense if anyone asks why you're carrying it. Use this bag to carry a change into a public restroom and carry it out to the wastebasket.

      • Keep plastic bags on hand for disposal. Get the darker blue kind to mask what's inside if you need to toss it out in public. You'll be able to find these bags, or special deodorized disposal bags, in most stores or online.

      • Keep a couple of "emergency" changes in your glove box.

      • Keep a gym bag full of essentials in your trunk.

      • Wear cargo pants and/or a bulky jacket with an elastic waistband that zips. These clothing items offer a handy way to get from your trunk to a public restroom, or from your seat on the plane to the restroom.

      • If you're wearing Depend® Guards for Men or Depend® Shields for Men, take advantage of the fact that these products are the same size as your wallet, making it easy to put into your pocket and then take into a restroom.

      • Set a schedule for regular changes

      • Locate bathrooms ahead of time—especially in places you visit frequently. Planning ahead makes all the difference.

    Back to the top
  3. Product FAQs

    • Q

      Do you have specific products for Men and Women, or are they unisex?

      A

      We make both kinds of Depend® Brand products. Because men and women have different needs, we have designed some products specifically for each gender, and some that can be used by both men and women. Use our product finder to find the best product for your needs.

    • Q

      Do any of your products have a fly in front?

      A

      No. None of our products have a fly in front in order to provide the best protection. However, we offer a variety of Depend® products designed specifically for a man's body in order to provide protection where men need it most.

    • Q

      How are DEPEND® Brand products made?

      A

      Depend® Brand products feature a thin, absorbent pad made of super absorbent polymers (SAP) that draws wetness in, away from the skin. All are latex-free and contain no lotions or fragrances.

    • Q

      How do you dispose of DEPEND® Brand products?

      A

      Depend® Brand products were designed to be used once and then discarded in a trash bag or other waste container. Please do not flush. If you need to discard your used Depend product on the go, here are a few helpful hints:

      • Use a backpack or messenger bag. Carry a few other personal items inside (sunglasses, notebook, jacket, etc.) so it makes sense if anyone asks why you're carrying it. Use this bag to carry a change into a public restroom and carry it out to the wastebasket.

      • Keep plastic bags on hand for disposal. Get the darker blue kind to mask what's inside if you need to toss it out in public. You'll be able to find these bags, or special deodorized disposal bags, in most stores or online.

    • Q

      Do you make an absorbent product for the pool?

      A

      No, unfortunately, we don't have products for the pool at this time. However, you can get an effective adult swim brief that goes under a regular swimsuit from www.SOsecureproducts.com.

    • Q

      Can I buy DEPEND® Brand products directly from Kimberly Clark?

      A

      Yes, you can buy Depend® for Women Underwear, Depend® for Men Underwear, Depend® Silhouette® Briefs for Women and Depend® Real Fit® Briefs for Men in our brand store at getdepend.com.

    • Q

      How often should I change my DEPEND® Brand product?

      A

      That depends on you and the extent of your condition. However, Depend® Brand products use more super absorbent polymers (SAP) to ensure they can withstand multiple wettings of varying amounts. This means you don't have to change them as often as less-expensive, non-premium brands.

    • Q

      Are DEPEND® Brand products washable?

      A

      No. While Depend® Brand products are made to withstand multiple wettings of varying amounts during one wearing, they are designed for single use only. They should be disposed of after each use and should not be washed and worn a second time.

    • Q

      What product do you recommend for bowel incontinence?

      A

      We recommend Depend® Adjustable Underwear. It offers maximum absorbency, worry-free odor control and it's designed to be changed two ways. Step in and out of it like regular underwear or open the side perforations for easy changing without having to remove pants and shoes.

    • Q

      Which Depend® products should I use for IBS?

      A

      For mild IBS, try Depend® for Men Underwear, which will offer maximum protection in a pull-on style, just like regular underwear. For more pronounced IBS symptoms, Depend® Protection with Tabs offers maximum absorbency with side barriers to protect against leakage, and six EasyGrip Tabs for discreet, easy removal.

    • Q

      Can I get samples of DEPEND® Brand products?

      A

      Yes. You can order free samples of Depend® Brand products online so you can find the best product for you and your needs. Click here to learn more about our free Depend® Sample Pack or call 1-877-413-3736 to speak to a helpful Depend® Brand representative.

    • Q

      Where can I find more information on DEPEND® Brand products?

      A

      There are several ways you can learn more about Depend® Brand products and ensure you stay "in the loop" on our latest products. These include:

    Back to the top
  4. Support FAQs

    • Q

      Where can I learn more about incontinence?

      A

      No doubt knowledge is power, especially when it comes to managing incontinence. The more you know, the more you live your life and not your condition. The good news is, there are lots of reputable online sources and organizations where you can find trustworthy and timely information. These include:

      • National Association for Continence. A national, non-profit organization dedicated to destigmatizing incontinence, promoting preventive measures and motivating individuals to seek treatment.

      • WebMD.com. The leading online source for trustworthy and timely health and medical news and information.

      • MayoClinic.com. The online site for the Mayo Clinic, one of the most highly respected medical practices in the world.

      • DEPEND® Communications. Our monthly emails contain articles and advice for maintaining your lifestyle, latest products and FAQs.

    • Q

      What's a Flexible Spending Account and how can it help me?

      A

      A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is an optional benefit plan offered by many U.S. employers that allows you to set aside part of your pre-tax earnings to pay for qualifying healthcare expenses, including, but not limited to, Depend® Brand products. The money you contribute to your flexible spending account is taken out of your paycheck before taxes are taken out. In effect, you lower your taxable income for tax savings. The "pretax funds" in your FSA allow you to pay for qualifying healthcare expenses that are not covered by your health plan, such as doctor visit co-pays, prescriptions, dental expenses, and more.

    Back to the top
  5. Prostate Health & Incontinence

    • Q

      What is the prostate gland?

      A

      The prostate is a small gland in men that's part of the reproductive system. It's about the shape and size of a walnut. The prostate rests below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder. The prostate helps make semen, which carries sperm from the testicles when a man ejaculates.

    • Q

      What are the most common prostate problems?

      A

      The most common prostate health problems men encounter include:

      • Prostatitus. This is an infection (usually bacterial) that can be treated with antibiotic.

      • Enlarged prostate gland. The prostate grows in almost all men as they age. In some cases, the enlargement can become troublesome—a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This a common problem, affecting more than 50% of men in their sixties. BPH has many symptoms that vary from person to person, and it can be treated in many different ways. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, BPH can be managed with lifestyle changes, medication or surgery, and some of these treatments, especially surgery, can lead to incidences of incontinence.

      • Prostate cancer. This is when a malignant tumor forms in in the prostate gland, which can spread throughout the body and cause significant health problems. Next to lung cancer, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in men. Close to 230,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, and it is fatal in 30,000 men.

    • Q

      How do I practice good prostate health?

      A

      There are several things you can do to improve your prostate health, including:

      • Watch your diet. Men who eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day are at lower risk of developing cancer of any kind, including prostate cancer.

      • Get active. It's recommended you exercise for at least 30 minutes daily.

      • Have an annual physical. Make it a practice to have a physical every year so you can detect prostate cancer and other health issues before they get out of hand.

    • Q

      Why do prostate cancer treatments cause urinary incontinence?

      A

      The prostate gland surrounds the urethra. Because enlarged prostate glands can obstruct the urethra, a man with an enlarged prostate can have urination retention or other problems with urination.

      Removing the prostate through surgery or destroying it through radiation (either with an external beam or with radioactive seed implants) disrupts the way the bladder holds urine and can result in urine leakage. Radiation can decrease the capacity of the bladder and cause spasms that force urine out. Surgery can, at times, damage the nerves that help control bladder function too.

    • Q

      What can I do to treat my urinary incontinence after prostate cancer surgery?

      A

      There are many things you can do—both large and small—to improve your symptoms after prostate cancer surgery. These include:

      • Pelvic floor treatments. A popular set of exercises, called Kegel exercises, strengthens the muscles you squeeze when trying to stop urinating mid-stream. These exercises can be combined with biofeedback programs that help you train these muscles even better.

      • Supportive care. This treatment includes behavior modification, such as drinking fewer fluids, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, or spices and not drinking at bedtime. People are encouraged to urinate regularly and not wait until the last possible moment before doing so. In some people, losing weight may result in improved urinary control. Supportive care also involves changing medications that interfere with incontinence.

      • Medication. A variety of medications can increase bladder capacity and decrease frequency of urination. In the near future, newer medications will become available to help stop some other forms of urinary leakage.

      • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation. This treatment is used to retrain and strengthen weak urinary muscles and improve bladder control. With this treatment, a probe is inserted into the anus and a current is passed through the probe at a level below the pain threshold, causing a contraction. The patient is instructed to squeeze the muscles when the current is on. After the contraction, the current is switched off.

      • Surgery, injections and devices. A number of techniques may improve bladder functions. These include:

        • Artificial sphincter. This patient-controlled device is made of three parts: a pump, a pressure-regulating balloon, and a cuff that encircles the urethra and prevents urine from leaking. The use of the artificial sphincter can cure or greatly improve more than 70% to 80% of patients.

        • Bulbourethral sling. For some types of leakage, a sling can be used. A sling is a device used to suspend and compress the urethra. It is made from synthetic material or from the patient's own tissue and is used to create the urethral compression necessary to achieve bladder control.

        • Other surgery. Your doctor can also do a surgery that has helped some men. It involves placing rubber rings around the tip of the bladder to help hold urine.

    Back to the top

Need Help? Contact us:
1.877.413.3736 or

 

Chat online

DEPEND® Brand Community Guidelines Close

This site is for adults 17+ using Depend® Brand products for incontinence only. Promoting or advertising competitive products / services is not allowed.

In the spirit of good community, treat your fellow community members as you would want to be treated. Argumentative, non-constructive, hostile or personal attacks; or discriminatory comments about religion, race, politics or sexual preference are not allowed.

Profanity, as well as perverse, vulgar or pornographic language is not permitted in usernames, signature files, community posts and/or photographs. Likewise, refrain from posting material written purposely to offend or shock others. Photographs of people in Depend® or other brand absorbent products should not be posted.

Discussions promoting or instructions of activity including drug abuse, rape, incest, promiscuity, underage drinking, arson, physical violence, self harm, suicide, illegal activities or other emotional harm are strictly prohibited.

Review anything you post to ensure it is neither harmful nor misleading. False product claims are not permitted.

Do not post links to content outside of Depend.com. Users may, however, post links to content within Depend.com.

Impersonation of employees or agents of Kimberly-Clark Corporation is not permitted.

Posts should be written in the primary language of the community. For the Depend Community, this is English.

As is true for any message board, you should not post personally identifiable information such as last name, street or email address; or telephone number. Any posts which include personally identifiable information will be removed.

CLOSEClose the overlay