Diapers-Okay For a Toddler But Not For Adult Men

Loss of urine is no laughing matter.  It affects nearly 14 million American adults.  Let’s put the myth aside that incontinence only affects women.  Incontinence it’s surprisingly common in men of all age groups. In fact, it’s been reported as being only half as frequent in men as in women, which represents quite a sizeable number of sufferers. Unfortunately, men with incontinence rarely discuss it with their physician, so that the necessary attention is not paid to the problem.

 

Surprisingly, 25% of men aged 40 or below reported incontinence at least once during the past 12 months. All men over 40 had at least a 30% incidence of incontinence – it was 36% in the 60 to 70-year-olds – but it dropped to 20% in the over-80-year-olds.

 

The results were analyzed to see if there were obvious relationships between incontinence and possible causes. Men who had had prostate surgery or bladder surgery, or who were taking medications for urinary problems, had a significantly increased likelihood of being incontinent (2 to 3 times more likely). Prostate cancer, taking diuretics (water-pills) or prostate medications did not affect the likelihood of incontinence.

 

Not surprisingly, frequent incontinence was associated with deterioration in some aspects of the quality-of-life. For instance, emotional health, social relationships, physical activity, and travel were all less satisfactory for incontinent men.

 

Only a third of the men with incontinence had discussed the problem with their physicians. However, three-quarters of them expressed an interest in having a full evaluation and treatment of the problem, if it were offered.

 

It can be concluded that male incontinence is a real problem across all age groups, and that it affects men’s quality of life. Unfortunately, the sufferers do not often discuss it with their physicians. There is clearly much room for improvement in its diagnosis and management.

 

Bottom Line:  Most men with incontinence can be helped and many can even be cured with exercises, medication, and surgery.  Sufferers should not suffer in silence, but speak out to their physicians and health providers, in order that more attention is paid to their problem. 

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