For some men, a urinal can be an intimidating sight. With around 18 percent of all American males suffering from bladder problems according to the Urologic Diseases in America Project, that fraternity is probably larger than we think.
Having a weak urine stream, going too often or having trouble starting to pee are common symptoms that can make the occasional visit to the porcelain bathroom fixture a little worrying and plenty embarrassing. Getting a handle on what’s causing your problem can go a long way toward correcting the issue and removing that worry, though. From the American Urological Association, the five most common causes for urinary problems for men:
In older men, an enlarged prostate – also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – is the most common cause. Most men’s prostates start to enlarge after age 40, and nearly 90 percent of men ages 70-80 have BPH symptoms, including a weaker urine stream, “dribbling” after peeing, going more often and especially at night, as well as having trouble getting started. As your prostate enlarges, it compresses the urethra, the tube that empties your bladder.
Diabetes can cause neuropathy, problems with the nerves that control the bladder. Diabetes-related problems usually manifest themselves by sudden, strong urges to urinate (so sudden, you may not make it to the bathroom), leaking urine and not being able to empty your bladder completely. Increased urination is also a sign.
Around 30 percent of men in the U.S. have overactive bladder (OAB), the medical shorthand for a group of symptoms related to problems urinating. While the prostate is a major cause for symptoms, which include increased trips to the bathroom and an uncontrollable urge to urinate, the problem can also be traced to environmental factors such as medication side effects (antidepressants and benzodiazeines are the usual culprits), consuming too much caffeine or alcohol, and kidney problems.
If you’re receiving treatment for cancer, you may have a higher risk of bladder problems depending on the chemotherapy cocktail your doctor has prescribed. Some chemotherapy drugs can lead to bladder irritation and other problems, including a burning sensation or pain when urinating or urine that is reddish or a bloody color. The problems are often accompanied by increased urination and strong urges.
Neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease, in which nerve signals are interrupted along the pathways of the central nervous system, often cause incontinence in men. Around 80 percent of people with MS have some incontinence, while nearly a quarter of Parkinson’s patients have associated bladder problems. Suffers of both diseases, as well as a litany of other neurological problems (like Alzheimer’s), have also been shown to have an increased risk of developing bladder infections because of their disease.
While problems can also be traced to other factors like high blood pressure, obesity, stroke or spinal cord injuries, it’s important that if you start to detect any symptoms of bladder problems, you check it out with your doctor right away. Though problems are more common in aging men, incontinence and bladder problems are not just a fact of life of growing old. Treatment could make your life a lot more enjoyable” and drier!