You’re Not Alone: Finding the Information You Need
Urinary incontinence has several different causes and figuring out what’s behind it may require persistence, though it’s well worth the effort. Determining what treatment and protection options are right for you can also take time – time for research, time for doctor’s appointments and time for tests. That may be why so many men delay getting medical attention for their bladder control problems. The National Association for Continence reports that two-thirds of individuals who experience loss of bladder control symptoms do not use any treatment or product to manage their incontinence.
Why is it so difficult? Men are embarrassed to share intimate details with their doctors and fear of the unknown can get in the way. What tests will they do? Will it be humiliating? And using protective products to manage incontinence can feel like you’re admitting that you’re “old” or “less of a man”. It may help to know that it’s more common in older men who may experience prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) or prostate cancer.
It may help to know that you’re not alone. 1One third of Americans suffer incontinence of some kind, whether it’s a leak when they cough or simply not being able to get to the bathroom in time. Here are a few suggestions for finding the right treatment and protection for you:
Don’t wait. Would it surprise you to hear that 280% of incontinence cases can be cured or improved? As soon as you notice leaks, get to the doctor. If you’re feeling embarrassed about sharing the details of your condition with a physician, you’ll need to rethink that. A doctor has based their career on helping people and they see all kinds of conditions. They are there to help, not humiliate. If you feel more comfortable, consider seeing a male doctor.
Consult with a specialist. A urologist will be able to do more extensive testing than your family physician, which will help them discover what’s really causing your bladder control issues. Many of the problems that men experience are related to the prostate. You may also see a prostate specialist, since at least 350% of American men over 50 experience benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. (BPH can cause incontinence.)
Speak up. As you go through tests and treatments, if you feel uncomfortable or as if something’s not working as expected, it’s okay to speak up and tell your doctor. If you’re not comfortable taking a certain medication, a treatment isn’t really working, or you don’t like the side effects, ask about an alternative. Your physician needs your input. Since you know your body, you are the ultimate source of information about what ‘s happening with it.
Try several solutions, if necessary. Determining the cause of your bladder control issues, then coming up with the right treatment for you can take a bit of time. Incontinence can be treated with medications, physical therapy, surgery and other methods, so if one of them doesn’t quite suit you, continue to try other options until you feel completely comfortable with your choice. Patience will pay off. “Settling” for minimal treatment, without exploring alternatives, could mean missing a solution that works closer to 100%.
Wear suitable protection. In the early stages of bladder incontinence, many men resort to tissue or paper towels, to absorb their leaks. Denial is not your friend in this situation, as once you make the decision to use incontinence products, you’ll most likely feel relieved, since you’ll no longer have to spend so much energy worrying about accidents. Products like the Depend guards and briefs are specifically designed to manage urine. They hold a significant amount of fluid without leaking and they help with odor control, too. Just as in treatment, you may have to try several different styles to determine what works best for you in what circumstance. It’s worth it to know that you’re protected from leaks whether you’re at home, at work or asleep.
1Source: National Association for Continence
2Source: National Association for Continence
3Source: UCLA Health Systems