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Types and Causes of Urinary Incontinence

Types and Causes of Urinary Incontinence

Types and causes

Male urinary incontinence (UI) can occur for many reasons. Knowing what type of urinary leakage you're experiencing and what's causing it can help you find the right treatment for you.

You are not alone

Many men experience urinary leakage and it is much more common than you think! Individual experiences may differ for every person, whether you're dealing with a few drops now and then or you're dealing with larger leaks, know that help is available and there are changes you can make to help manage your urinary incontinence. 

What causes urine leakage in men?

For the urinary system to function correctly, the brain, muscles, and nerves must work together to hold urine in the bladder and not release it until you are ready. However, many factors can disrupt these processes.

Common causes:

  • Medicines such as diuretics can increase the risk of urinary leakage/incontinence.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Temporarily weakened muscles as a result of prostate surgery.
  • Changes in the size of the prostate, such as a swollen prostate, can obstruct the passage of urine.
  • Being overweight puts increased pressure and strain on the abdominal and pelvic muscles.
  • Diabetes or neurodegenerative diseases (for example, Alzheimer's disease).

The cause of urinary incontinence in men can depend on many factors. It's important to have your specific situation assessed. A proper diagnosis from a doctor is crucial to your treatment plan.

Common types of male incontinence

Urge incontinence

Urge incontinence, also known as an "overactive bladder", is the most common type of male urinary incontinence. It is when you feel a sudden urge to urinate but can't hold it until you get to the toilet. You may need to urinate more than 4 to 8 times a day, and also several times during the night. This is often associated with an enlarged prostate or could be the result of prostate surgery.


After-dribble is when you leak a few drops of urine after you've finished in the washroom. There are two types of after-dribble that men experience: the post-micturition dribble and terminal dribble. It occurs because the bladder does not completely empty during urination and instead, urine collects in a tube leading from your bladder. Common causes are an enlarged prostate or weakened pelvic floor muscles.

Overflow incontinence

You may be experiencing the urge to urinate but can only release a small amount. When the bladder doesn't empty fully, you may experience urine leaks later. This is a symptom of overflow incontinence. In men, this is usually caused by a weak bladder muscle, or something blocking the flow of urine, causing the bladder to overflow and leak.

Stress incontinence

Stress incontinence is most common in men who have recently had prostate surgery. It occurs after coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy weights.

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