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Men’s Health/Incontinence

What is Incontinence?

Incontinence relates to involuntary loss of urine from the bladder or faeces or wind from the bowel. An estimated 30% of men whom visit the GP are affected by incontinence, yet more than 65% do not discuss their issue, despite the majority of men having the potential to be cured or better managed.

Urinary Incontinence can be classified by the following:

  • ‘Stress Incontinence’ – when the pelvic floor muscles, which control the passing of urine, do not work well enough to limit leakage. Triggers may include coughing, sneezing, laughing, shouting, lifting, bending, walking or standing from a chair.
  • ‘Urge Incontinence’ – a sudden and strong need to urinate. Urge incontinence may occur as a result of constipation, an enlarged prostate gland or simply the result of a long history of poor bladder habits. 
  • ‘Incontinence associated with chronic retention’ – when the bladder is unable to empty properly and frequent leakage of small amounts of urine occurs as a result
  • ‘Functional Incontinence’ – physical, intellectual or environmental issues that can be a contributing cause of incontinence in a person with normal bladder function.

How can Physiotherapy help with Incontinence?

Your Physiotherapist at Goulburn Physiotherapy Centre will conduct a thorough assessment which will take into account your medical history and current health, including diet and fluid intake, exercise levels and mobility, all the medicines you are currently taking and any other factors that could affect bladder and bowel function.

Your Physiotherapist can guide you in the best ways to strengthen your pelvic floor and provide you with advice to improve diet and exercise to reduce undue strain on the pelvic floor muscles. A strong pelvic floor will help you to improve control over your bladder and bowel.

Factors that will affect the function of your pelvic floor muscles include constipation (straining on the toilet), chronic coughing, heavy lifting, high impact exercise, age, and obesity.

Why is Incontinence common with Prostatectomy?

The prostate gland is a mix of muscle and gland tissue. The urethra (tube which carries urine and semen) passes through the prostate gland. The prostate controls the opening of the bladder (involuntary sphincter) and plays a role during ejaculation.

When the prostate gland is removed in surgery a man will lose the involuntary control of the flow of urine from the bladder, thus relying solely on the pelvic floor muscles for voluntarily control of urine leakage. Most men regain their bladder control over time and are fully recovered within 6 to 12 months. Until such time, good pelvic floor training and the education on use of continence aids can be very important in regaining function.


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