That sudden urge to go can actually tell you something about your flow if you're one of the 5 million men in the United States struggling with urinary incontinence. If you're having a hard time controlling your urine, you're not alone.
But there's hope.
"Many of the issues causing incontinence can be fixed or improved through non-invasive means like physical therapy or medication," said Donna Roth, PT, a pelvic health therapist with Baptist Rehabilitation.
The first step to treatment is knowing the cause.
Leaking with everyday activity?
Stress incontinence occurs with activities that increase abdominal pressure. If severe enough, it can occur with simple activities such as bending or walking. This is due to weakness of the bladder neck, which maintains the seal of urine while you move, and pelvic floor muscles. Behavior modification, weight loss and pelvic floor rehab can help improve and resolve these symptoms.
Got the urge to purge?
Overactive bladder can cause frequent urination and a sudden, uncontrollable urge to go. Bladder spasms resulting from many factors including nerve dysfunction can cause this condition. Primary treatments for overactive bladder are behavioral modifications and medications. Pelvic floor rehab can also help.
Injury or chronic condition?
These issues can damage the nerves that help signal the need to urinate, decreasing your ability to sense when your bladder is full. The result is frequent urination and leaking. Treatments include pelvic floor rehab, electrical stimulation of bladder nerves and urinary catheterization.
Time for a prostate exam?
An enlarged prostate can block the flow of urine, causing urine leaking or dribbling, urgency, retention and incontinence. Treatments for prostate cancer can also affect bladder function. Radiation damage to nerves or muscles, and prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate) may result in incontinence. However, men with post-prostatectomy incontinence will benefit from pelvic floor rehab. Pelvic floor rehab prior to prostatectomy (also known as “prehab”) can improve bladder function after the procedure.
"The most important thing for patients to remember is that there is no reason to be embarrassed by urinary incontinence," said Roth. "Ignoring the problem can cause it to become worse and treatment is typically more effective when started early on."
Baptist Rehabilitation Services offer a variety of individualized programs to treat both male and female incontinence. To learn more about how physical therapy can benefit you, visit BaptistJax.com/Rehab.