We talked to Tony Forsberg, RN, BSBA, WCC, CSPHA, national clinical director of Essity, a health and hygiene company, about the most common types of incontinence and the options available in today’s market to help men tackle the issue.
Why should men take control of their urological health?
Men, unlike women, tend to take a reactive approach to health. Starting at a young age, women receive regular checkups with their physician or OBGYN, and take a preventative approach to healthcare.
Even when symptoms begin to appear, some men may delay seeing their physician or urologist based on fear, denial, embarrassment, or a feeling that “it won’t happen to me.” Men are at a greater risk than women for the top causes of death, so it’s important to receive routine screenings for conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke.
What are some early signs of BPH?
This refers to an enlarged prostate. It’s common in older men but may begin as early as in your 40s. It is rarely dangerous but can cause problems with urination.
You may wish to speak with your healthcare provider if you have trouble initiating urination, have a weak urination stream, are dribbling at the end of urination, or have a constant urge to urinate or feeling of fullness in the bladder after urinating. Medications, exercises, dietary changes, and various voiding techniques may help.
What are some innovations that are enhancing the quality of life for urological patients?
A growing assortment of disposable absorbent products tailored to the needs of men are becoming available. If the problem is mild overflow or dribbling, a pad shaped for men may be the best option. For more protection, disposable protective underwear made specifically for men may be the best bet.
Consider the frequency of need, activities where symptoms may be more likely to be present, and comfort. SAP (super absorbent polymer) locks away moisture and odor for optimal discreet protection. Further, some products are 100 percent breathable for comfort and skin health.
Are there different types of incontinence?
Yes, some different types are as follows:
- Urge incontinenceis when the need to void occurs suddenly and urgently, sometimes making it difficult to get to the bathroom in time.
- Stress incontinenceis related to bladder leakage when experiencing sudden pressure, such as when laughing, sneezing, and lifting. This type of bladder leakage is more frequently associated with women but can occur in men as well.
- Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder doesn’t fully empty, which causes an overflow and leakage. This is more common in older men because of prostate enlargement.
- Functional incontinence happens when any condition prevents us from getting to the bathroom in time. Some examples include needing a wheelchair and being unable to call for help in time or having arthritis that makes it more difficult to operate buttons or zippers.
- Mixed incontinence is a combination of any of the above.
- Transient incontinence refers to a type of incontinence that is short-term and happens because of another condition, including dietary intake, medication, short term illness, etc.
What’s the most important thing to keep in mind after a diagnosis? Seek guidance. There may be treatment, exercises, behavioral techniques, dietary changes, or medications that can eliminate or reduce unwanted bladder leaks. There is no reason to believe you cannot perform all the activities you normally do. If you need an absorbent product, find what works best for you. Technology is making it possible to have very effective and discreet options.