Bladder issues may bring your sex life to a halt
Urinary incontinence, or UI, is when you cannot properly control your bladder, resulting in an unintentional loss of urine. This leaking can make you feel very embarrassed, especially when it happens at inopportune moments.
UI affects men all over the world, with 3.4 million men in the US alone currently suffering from this problem. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a normal sign of aging, but can affect men of all ages.
There are 3 forms of UI which affect males namely:
- Stress incontinence, due to weakened muscles in the pelvic area, when leaks occur if you cough, sneeze, or lift something heavy – all of which put abdominal pressure on the bladder.
- Urge incontinence which happens when you have a strong urge to urinate, and cannot get to the toilet quick enough.
- Overflow incontinence is when have a constant dribble of urine, mainly associated with frequent urination of only small amounts.
The good news is that if the root of the problem is established by a doctor, UI is a very treatable condition.
What causes male incontinence?
In men, incontinence usually occurs as a result of a medical problem, which will need to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.
- Long-term diabetes that may have caused nerve damage which affects bladder control.
- An enlarged prostate which presses on the urethra also leads to frequent urination which often leaks if you cannot get to the toilet quickly enough.
- Diseases like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, which affect the brain and nervous system, may also cause a measure of incontinence.
- An overactive bladder is another condition which causes the bladder to squeeze at the wrong times, resulting in an almost uncontrollable urge to urinate.
Bear in mind that only when a doctor finds the root cause of the UI, can effective treatment be initiated.
Ways in which you can help yourself cope with UI
Diet is important:
- Many guys spread out liquid intake during the day, and a few hours before bed, take in no liquid at all.
- Avoid caffeine, sodas, cut back on alcohol (which is a diuretic) tea and coffee, all of which irritate the bladder and promotes the urge to pass water!
- Studies have shown that spicy foods may make issues related to an overactive bladder much worse.
- A Kegel exercise routine is very helpful to prevent, or control, UI. These exercises are extremely beneficial for both men and women, as they strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which are vital for supporting the uterus, bladder, small intestine and the rectum.
Living with incontinence is extremely stressful, and simple relaxation techniques have been known to reduce anxiety about the issues. Practise some deep breathing to relax your body and ease your muscles, and with time, relaxation may help you get control of your muscles by using the power of your mind.
What about your sex life?
UI during sex can be both devastating and embarrassing. Some men become so anxious about possible urine leakage, that they tend to avoid sex altogether. To help prevent a leakage during sex, a man must make sure that his bladder is completely empty before engaging in sexual activity.
Communication between loving partners will help ease some of the embarrassment and stress of UI during sex. However a lot of men don’t share anything, and suffer in silence. By not sharing the problem with a wife or a partner, there is a danger that she might feel that your lack of sexual interest could be her fault. A gap can develop between partners that just keeps on getting wider until it is almost impossible to repair.
A major case of erectile dysfunction may also develop from purely psychological issues, such as a fear of leaking urine during sex which may cause untold embarrassment, and result in great anxiety.
Experts agree that no matter what the cause, the majority of male UI cases can be successfully treated.
There is really no need to suffer physically or emotionally from urinary incontinence issues. Go back to the doctor, and find out what your options are.
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