Incontinence pads are commonly used to help absorb urine leakage, protect the skin and block odor. Other absorbent products include diapers and undergarments. These products can offer odor control; some are disposed after a single use, and others may be cleaned and reused.
Pros: Appropriate for everyday activities, comfortable when dry, good for overnight and easy to use.20
Cons: May need to be changed several times a day at inconvenient times, can be bulky and leak, are uncomfortable when wet, and expensive over time.20
Condom catheters or a penis pouch are placed on the penis so urine can flow into a drainage bag. Urine collection bags are strapped to the body underneath clothing during the day and may rest bedside at night.
Pros: A discrete option for long periods of time, keeps skin dry, can help avoid odor and convenient for storage and travel.20
Cons: May not remain in place resulting in leaks, possible allergic reaction based on materials, long-term use may result in urinary tract infections, skin injuries and/or inflammation.20,21
A penile clamp uses a hinged, rigid frame that supports two pads and a locking mechanism. It controls leakage by applying constant pressure upon the penis.
Pros: Secure, can stop leaking, simple to remove, can be washed and reused.20
Cons: Has to be moved up or down the shaft of the penis every 2 hours (can only be worn for short periods of time), must be removed while sleeping and during urination; most men describe it as uncomfortable or painful.20
A small sling made of soft mesh implanted inside the body to reposition the urethra and provide support to surrounding muscles. This can help to keep the urethra closed, especially when coughing, sneezing and lifting.
Pros: Works without requiring action on the patient’s part, may result in immediate continence for some men, most patients (89.4%) were classified as cured or improved.41
Cons: Some risks include, but are not limited to, inability to urinate (urinary retention), return to incontinence, infection, erosion, and pain.24
The artificial urinary sphincter (AUS) is placed inside the body. A saline-filled cuff keeps the urethra closed and a pump in the scrotum allows urination on demand. The AUS is designed for all levels of SUI following prostate surgery and is considered the gold standard treatment.25
Cons: Requires manual dexterity; some risks include, but are not limited to, device malfunction or failure which may require additional surgery, wearing away/loss of tissue (device/tissue erosion), inability to urinate (urinary retention), infection and pain/soreness.28
= $7,000 +*
*Based on cost per pad/diaper at www.nationalincontinence.com
Most men who undergo a prostatectomy experience bladder leakage in the first few weeks after their procedure. Many factors contribute to the risk for prostate surgery side effects, including ongoing bladder leakage.29 As many as 1 out of 10 men report some degree of stress incontinence to be a significant problem a year or more after their prostatectomy.8
There are many ways that the nerves responsible for bladder control in men can be compromised, including pelvic trauma and medical conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and stroke.4 Up to 5% of patients have problems with bladder leakage following repair of urethral trauma.19 Other neurological conditions may impact bladder control and release.10
The TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate) procedure can help relieve bladder obstruction caused by an enlarged prostate, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Up to 3% of patients can experience a dribble to uncontrolled leaking after TURP.16 Nerves along the urethra also signal to the penis to become erect for sexual activity. Damage to these nerves can also cause erectile dysfunction (ED).30
If you’re interested in taking control of your bladder, there is good news — most cases of stress urinary incontinence can be cured or improved.31 The first thing you need to do is talk with a urologist who specializes in male incontinence. Ask questions about medications and procedures, talk about your symptoms and ask about the best treatment option for you.