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What is urinary incontinence?

There are many myths and misconceptions about urinary incontinence (UI). Know the truth about incontinence and get the help you need to live an active lifestyle. Read more about urinary incontinence

Bladder (or urinary) incontinence is the unintentional loss of urine that occurs when the muscle (sphincter) that holds the bladder neck closed is not strong enough to keep urine in the bladder.

Some facts about UI

  • Over 2 million men suffer from UI
  • UI can also be caused when the bladder muscles contract too strongly or when the bladder is not regularly and completely emptied
  • UI is often related to a medical problem or treatments involving the prostate gland, including enlarged prostate or prostate removal due to cancer

Signs and causes

What are the signs of incontinence?

What are the signs of incontinence?

Could you be incontinent? Learn how the bladder functions and take a survey to see if you are showing signs of incontinence. Signs of incontinence

How does a normal bladder work?

The bladder is a hollow organ in the lower abdomen. It stores urine; the liquid waste produced by the kidneys. Urine

urinary - male body

 passes from each kidney into the bladder through a tube called a ureter. Urine leaves the bladder and exits the body through another tube called the urethra.


As the bladder fills with urine, pressure is exerted on its walls, which you experience as the need to urinate. This triggers the brain to send a message to the layer of muscle that surrounds the inner lining of the bladder, forcing the muscle to contract (tighten) and the urine to flow out of the bladder.

At the same time, the sphincter muscle that surrounds the urethra relaxes, letting the urine flow out of the body. This process requires both nerves and muscles working together to prevent urine leakage. Damage, weakening or injury to either muscles or nerves can result in incontinence.



Are you showing signs of incontinence?

Below are some simple questions to think about before talking to your doctor:

Do you leak urine unexpectedly?




How much do you leak?

A few drops
Wet undergarments
Wet clothing


Do you leak urine when you:

Change positions (i.e., sitting or laying to standing)?


Do you leak urine continuously during the day?



Do you leak urine while sleeping?



Does urine leakage affect your life?


If you answered yes to any of these questions or if you think incontinence is preventing you from enjoying life, talk to your doctor. They can diagnose your type of incontinence and help you find the most effective treatment option.

What causes incontinence?

What causes incontinence?

Did you know that incontinence is not a disease, and is actually a symptom? Learn more about incontinence

Incontinence can be caused by:

  • Prostate removal
  • Infections or medications
  • Diseases
  • Urethral strictures
  • DESD (Detrusor External Sphincter Dyssynergia)
  • Pelvic trauma
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neurological disorders

The cause of incontinence and the impact it has on the nerves or muscles will determine the type of incontinence you may have.


What are the types of incontinence?


Stress incontinence

Is the accidental release of urine when pressure is applied to the bladder, such as when you cough, sneeze, laugh or lift something heavy. This is the most common type of incontinence post-prostate cancer surgery.


Urge incontinence

Is when the bladder contracts at the wrong time giving you the feeling that you have to urinate immediately even if you may have just emptied your bladder.


Overflow incontinence

Is leaking that occurs when the bladder does not empty properly. This can be due to other medical conditions such as an enlarged prostate or a narrowing of the urethra.

Total incontinence

Is continual leakage of urine due to complete sphincter deficiency.


Mixed incontinence

Is a combination of different incontinence types. This can be difficult to diagnose, as one type can mask the other(s).


Treatment options

Can incontinence be treated without surgery?

Whatever type of incontinence you have, there are treatment options that can help, including some that don’t involve surgery. Non-surgical options

No single incontinence treatment works for everyone. In some cases, treatment for one type of incontinence can actually worsen another. It’s a good idea to discuss all the options with your doctor.

Non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Absorbent products (pads)
  • Catheters; internal or external
  • Incontinence or penile clamps
  • Behavioural modification
  • Kegel exercises
  • Limiting liquids
  • Timed urination
  • Medication
  • Changing existing medications
  • New medication

If these options are not suitable for the type of incontinence you experience or your lifestyle, there are also minimally invasive surgical options to consider.


What are the surgical treatments for incontinence?

It’s a good idea to discuss all the options with your doctor. Surgical treatment options

Why surgical treatment? 

No single incontinence treatment works for everyone. In some cases, treatment for one type of incontinence can actually worsen another. It’s a good idea to discuss all the options with your doctor.

Surgical treatment options include: 

• Sling. Virtue Male Sling

• Artificial urinary sphincter (AUS) 


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