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Understanding Incontinence

Frequent Urination in Men

Don’t assume that frequent urination is something you need to accept. Discover the causes and what you can do to improve it.

Published by vuthy thach
Frequent Urination in Men

Isn’t frequent urination in older men normal?

While the issue of frequent urination is common in older men, it’s definitely not ‘normal’, and the cause should be identified. Simple lifestyle changes might assist, but in some cases, it will be a symptom of an underlying disease that requires medical treatment, such as diabetes or an enlarged prostate gland 

Frequent urination can interfere with your everyday life. It interrupts leisure activities, work, and sleep and discourages participation in exercise, sex, and socialising. This can have a significant negative impact on your wellbeing.

Don’t ignore frequent urination. Book an appointment with your doctor to discuss what’s happening.

How do you know if you have frequent urination?

According to the Continence Foundation a healthy bladder:

  • Needs to be emptied every 3 to 4 hours or 4 to 8 times a day
  • Can hold 400 – 600ml, with the initial sensation of needing ‘to go’ starting at around the 200 – 300ml mark. You should be able to comfortably ignore this sensation until the bladder fills closer to capacity
  • When you need to go, you have plenty of time to get to a toilet and adjust clothing
  • Completely empties when you urinate
  • May wake you up once in the night to go to the bathroom, twice if you’re aged over 65
  • Doesn’t leak

If you’re urinating more than eight times a day and twice in the night, you have a frequent urination issue.

In addition to frequency, you might also be experiencing:

  • Pain, a burning sensation or discomfort when passing urine
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Involuntary loss of urine, also known as leakage or incontinence
    • A sudden urgent need to urinate, with insufficient time to make it to the toilet and undo clothing
    • Difficulty ‘holding on’ or stopping the flow of urine once it has started - even when you’re not at the toilet and ready
  • Difficulty starting the flow of urine
  • Urine having an unusual smell, colour, traces of blood or is cloudy

Regardless of the combination, if you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your GP.

What are the causes of frequent urination in men?

  • Sometimes the cause of frequent urination can be as simple as drinking too much fluid. Drinks containing caffeine, alcohol, artificial sweeteners or are carbonate can irritate the bladder, triggering the need to urinate more often. Perhaps surprisingly, not drinking enough water can also contribute to the problem as concentrated urine can cause the same irritable (and irritating) response.
  • A weakened pelvic floor muscle reduces your ability to ‘hold on’ when the urge to urinate strikes or when downward pressure is applied to the lower abdomen. This can occur when sneezing, laughing, coughing, or lifting and is known as stress incontinence. While this isn’t always part of frequent urination in males, the inability to hold on can create anxiety and develop the habit of emptying the bladder more often than necessary
  • Psychological issues, as described above, can also contribute. Constant worry about not making it to the toilet in time can become quite debilitating.
  • Certain medications, such as diuretics which are used to manage blood pressure, often have the side effect of producing more urine. Similarly, some cancer treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy can impact bladder control.
  • An enlarged prostate gland, common in older men, makes it difficult to start the flow of urine and ensure the bladder has been completely emptied. The urethra is the tube that urine passes through from your bladder to exit the body and runs through the prostate gland. If the gland enlarges, it presses around the urethra and inhibits the flow. This restriction can result in urine being inadvertently left in the bladder. This in turn causes irritation and can trigger contractions of the bladder that send urgent messages to the brain to empty it, even when it’s far from full.
  • Infections of the urinary tract cause frequency and will often be accompanied by a searing, burning pain when passing urine. Urinary tract infections refer to excessive bacterial growth in the urethra, the bladder, or the kidneys. In extreme cases, fever, vomiting and even delirium can be experienced.
  • Diabetes increases thirst and produces excessive urine as the body tries to flush out excess glucose. Frequent urination could be a symptom of this chronic disease.
  • Interstitial cystitis is part of a group of diseases known as ‘Painful Bladder Syndrome’ can be the cause of frequent urination in men. The condition confuses signals being sent to the brain, relaying them too frequently and when there is only a small amount of fluid in the bladder. It is often accompanied by pain in the bladder and sometimes the pelvis, which can range from mild to severe. While more common in women, this debilitating condition can occur in men.
  • Neurological conditions or stroke can damage nerves in the bladder that then send messages to the brain too frequently. They can also cause the bladder to contract, creating the sensation of suddenly and urgently needing to urinate.

How do you stop, improve, or manage frequent urination in men treated?

The treatment for frequent urination in men is determined by the diagnosis of the underlying cause.

 

  • Lifestyle changes might be all it takes to stop frequent urination. Keep a diary of your fluid intake and how often you’re going to the toilet, paying particular attention to how much you consume in the hours before bed. Remember, both too much and too little water can cause urination frequency. Avoid spicy food, chocolate and beverages that are carbonated, contain alcohol, caffeine, or artificial sweeteners for a few days, and see if that makes a difference.

 

  • Strengthen your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that form a hammock in the base of your pelvis, joined at the pubic bone in the front and the tail bone at the back. It has an essential role in bladder and bowel control as these are the muscles you clench when you want to avoid passing wind or delay going to the toilet. Over time, the muscles can weaken, causing men to urinate more frequently because they can’t ‘hold on’. Pelvic floor exercises  are simple to do, require no special equipment or clothing, and once mastered, can be done while driving or watching TV. Performed regularly, the muscles will regain strength, and your ability to hold on will improve.

 

  • Bladder retraining -  can be a useful tool to get out of bad bladder habits. It involves keeping a diary to gradually extend the time between voids and is usually supervised by a continence physiotherapist who will also prescribe a regime of pelvic floor exercises.

 

  • A medication review by your doctor might be able to resolve the issue. Sometimes is as simple as adjusting the dose, the time a medication is taken or switching to one that doesn’t have that side effect.
  • An enlarged prostate can be treated with surgery and other techniques. It should always be investigated to check for cancer, which is also typically treatable.
  • Urinary tract infections, also known as UTIs, are treated with antibiotics. The doctor will test a urine sample to determine the type of bacteria and prescribe a course of antibiotics. You may also be prescribed medication to ease the pain while the infection is being treated.
  • Interstitial cystitis needs to be investigated and treated by a doctor. While a cure isn’t currently available, there are options for treating the symptoms.

 

  • See your doctor. In all cases, if you’re experiencing frequent urination, the cause could be medical, and you must make an appointment with your doctor. Prepare for your appointment by keeping a Bladder Diary  for a few days so you can accurately answer questions about fluid intake and voiding. Also make a note of any pain, blood, discharge, cloudiness, or unusual odours. The doctor will probably review your medications, take a urine sample to test for infection, and possibly conduct a physical examination to see if an enlarged prostate is the issue. From here, you may be referred to a urologist, continence physiotherapist or other specialist for further investigation and a treatment plan.

How can you manage frequent urination?

Frequent urination in men often causes incontinence. While you’re seeking or undertaking treatment, leakage can be managed with highly absorbent disposable products that not only keep you dry but are discreet under regular clothing and prevent tell-tale odours from developing.

 

For the small leaks associated with not quite making it to the toilet in time, try TENA Men’s Guards Shaped like a cricket box, these pads tuck snuggly and securely into the front of regular briefs and come in three different levels of absorbency.

 

Some men find that once they start urinating, they can’t stop the flow – even if they’re yet to get to the toilet.  For this situation, try TENA Men’s Pants  Designed to look and feel like regular underwear, these pants comfortably and quickly absorb a significant amount of urine, keeping you dry and odour-free. They are unnoticeable under most regular clothing, including shorts and jeans.

 

If you’re unsure as to which is the best product for you, why not try TENA’s Product Finder tool ? This function steps you through a series of simple questions, then uses this information to recommend some potentially suitable products and allows you to order up to three free samples.

 

 In summary

Frequent urination in men should never be ignored or accepted as an inevitable part of getting older. The underlying cause could be serious so you must have it investigated by your doctor.

 

 

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Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.