Hi, I’m male and 56-year-old. I would class myself as a very active person and take part in a lot of physical activity I go to the gym regularly and like to go jogging or walking in my free time. I’ve recently noticed when I do any physical activity I have started to leak urine and I find this very embarrassing. It is putting me off doing the things I love and making me nervous on a daily basis in case other people notice. I really need some help on what to do to treat me or what products may protect me. I don’t know why this has suddenly started but I need to get it sorted as soon as possible so I can try get on with my life as normal as possible.
What you are experiencing is the most common type of incontinence, called stress incontinence. This type of incontinence occurs when the muscles and other tissues supporting the bladder and regulate the release of urine are weakened. The urethra (the tube that carries urine out of your bladder), should stay closed as the bladder expands. However, when these muscles are weakened, activities that exert force on the abdominal and pelvic muscles can put pressure on your bladder, causing leakage. Exercising and going to the gym is one of the activities that can cause accidents. You might find that lifting heavy objects and other activities such as coughing can cause leaks.
Stress incontinence can be managed with incontinence pads or pants with a low absorbency rating. The incontinence market offers products that are very discreet and will maintain your dignity. You can wear these with your normal underwear. You can purchase incontinence products that are anatomically shaped to fit either a women’s or a man’s body. These give you protection where you need it most and are available in a range of sizes and absorbencies. The Tena for Men range features for levels to choose from, ranging from light to moderate incontinence protection. They are specially engineered to fit a male anatomy and provide discretion. iD for Men is a similar range of pads specially designed for men.
If you feel your stress incontinence is moderate to heavy, you might prefer to choose a product that can replace your regular underwear. Just like the selection of pads available, you can find pants that are specifically designed to fit either a women’s or a man’s body, or a unisex product. Pull up pants are available in a range of sizes and absorbencies. The Tena Men Active Fit Pants Plus are perfect as a protective product for moderate to heavy stress incontinence. You mention have an active lifestyle, and these pants are designed for users with busy day to day lives. They are designed with a soft stretch material that allows freedom of movement, with a waistband for additional comfort.
Most incontinence stores will offer you sample orders so you can try these products before ordering frequently. In addition to visiting online shops, you can talk to your GP and visit the NHS for further information.
In the meantime, you can visit our blogs on stress incontinence to find some more tips and advice.
Best of luck for the future!
Yes, there are exercises that males can do to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles as well.
Here are some exercises you can try:
Kegel exercises are a popular way for men to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. The following steps will ensure you do this correctly:
- Stop urination during mid-flow. While you are urinating, attempt to stop and start your urine stream. The muscles you are using here are the pelvic floor muscles. Hold this position for a few seconds and then repeat to practice this exercise.
- Squeeze your anus muscles. Contract the anus muscles you normally use to prevent yourself from passing gas, or to hold in a bowel movement. These muscles are your pelvic floor muscles. To ensure you are doing this correctly, contract and release your anus muscles repeatedly. If you feel a lifting or pulling sensation on your anus, you are doing this exercise correctly.
- Ensure you are using the right muscles! To practise the exercises, stand in front of the mirror. Try to lift your penis vertically, however, keep your buttocks, abdominal and thigh muscles still. You should use the mirror to focus on the pelvic muscles and to detect the use of any other muscles. Do this exercise repeatedly in front of the mirror until you feel confident with the exercise. If you notice yourself tightening your buttocks, thigh or abdominal muscles, you should stop the exercise.
- Contact your doctor. Although you may be embarrassed to talk to a Doctor about incontinence, you should contact a Doctor if you are having trouble targeting your pelvic floor muscles. They will be able to work with you and give you techniques to target these muscles. In some cases, doctors may use a technique called biofeedback training to help their patients isolate their pelvic floor muscles. This is nothing to worry about, as it is a painless process that uses special sensors and a computer monitor to display information about muscle activity.
The fast and slow twitch
These two exercises can be done anywhere and in any position you’re most comfortable in.
It is useful to start practising these exercises in the following position:
Sit on a chair or toilet seat with your feet flat on the floor. Ensure your legs are slightly apart. Lean forward, and rest your elbows on your knees.
You should start with this exercise first.
- Draw up the muscles around the back passage like you are trying to stop passing wind. Be careful not to contract your buttock muscles while doing this
- Draw up the muscles around your urethra like you are trying to stop the flow of urine
- Hold for as long as you can
- Slowly relax and let go
- Do as many repetitions as you can until you start to feel your muscles getting tired
- Gradually increase the length of time that you hold each contraction (build up to 10 seconds or more if you feel you can)
The Fast Twitch
- Pull up the pelvic floor muscles as you did in the previous exercise
- Hold for one second and then relax
- Repeat until your muscles feel tired
The more you practice these exercises, the easier it will become.
Do you need any further guidance on lifestyle changes you can make in the meantime?
How are you getting on with the products? I hope you have found something to provide you with reliable protection.
If you aren’t already, I would suggest cutting back on caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, as these are known bladder irritants. Cutting back on citrus juices and carbonated beverages like soda can also help.
You can also try and improve elimination habits. Ensure you take regular and frequent trips to the toilet to empty your bladder to try and recondition it.
Although this is not always a culprit, carrying excessive weight can put pressure on the bladder and weaken pelvic floor muscles. Try and ensure you aren’t carrying any extra pounds to prevent this happening further.
Have you been trying Kegel exercises? These should make a significant difference over time.