Prostate Health and Urinary Incontinence: What You Need to Know

September is National Prostate Health Month, which means that it’s a great time to get a cancer screening or talk to your doctor about any issues that you’ve been having. If you have been dealing with urinary incontinence, however, you may have been hesitating. Many men (and people in general) find incontinence embarrassing, and don’t want to bring it up to anyone, even their doctor. But incontinence isn’t a condition – it’s caused by something! And finding out what that something is can be the key to possibly eliminating or reducing your incontinence issues.

doctor and male patient

But what does this have to do with your prostate? Well, did you know that prostate problems can cause incontinence? According to a report by Ananias C. Diokno, MD, the chairman of urology at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich., 27% of men who had a prostate condition experienced incontinence. Here are some of the possible prostate issues that can lead to incontinence in men:

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition that affects many men as they age, and causes the prostate to naturally grow larger. This can put pressure on the nearby bladder, leading to inconsistent urination in the form of leakage, trouble urinating or getting started, urge incontinence, and the need to go more often. BPH is common in men 60 and up, though it does not always lead to incontinence. The condition can also occasionally become serious, and can cause kidney problems, urinary tract infections, and the complete inability to urinate. If you can’t urinate, have blood in your urine, chills and fever, or pain in your lower abdomen, seek medical attention immediately.

Prostate Cancer

Similar to BPH, a cancerous growth on the prostate can put pressure on the bladder and cause urination problems. This is one of the major reasons that you should see your doctor if you begin to experience incontinence. While it could be simple bladder enlargement, the condition could also be caused by a cancer that will require immediate treatment and removal. Speaking of which . . .

Prostate Cancer Treatments

Prostate cancer treatments are often more likely to cause incontinence than the cancer itself. One of the most common of these is a radical prostatectomy, which is a surgical procedure that removes the entire prostate and some of the tissue in the surrounding area. Incontinence and impotence can often be a side effect of this procedure, but many people often regain normal function after a few weeks of the surgery.

Keep in mind that if you have adult incontinence, it can be caused by a variety of factors, many of which are unrelated to your prostate. Treatment will largely depend on what is causing your incontinence, so talk to your doctor about your symptoms and get your prostate checked this September!

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