What types of bladder weakness are there?

The main types of bladder weakness in men are listed below. We’ve used the correct medical terms so that you’ll be familiar with them should you choose to discuss your symptoms with your GP.

Urge Incontinence

Also known as an overactive bladder, this is the most common bladder weakness type for men. You experience a sudden urge to urinate and the bladder involuntarily expels urine. This is usually due to interference in the nerve signals between bladder and brain, often linked to either an enlarged prostate or the aftermath of prostate surgery.

You may also find that you need to urinate more frequently than the usual 4-8 times a day, and maybe also at night too. However, in certain cases you can ‘train’ your bladder to urinate less frequently and to avoid urinating at night. You’ll find advice on this in What you can do.

Stress Incontinence

Around 10% of male bladder weakness occurs with a sudden physical exertion such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercise or heavy lifting. It usually only involves small amounts and is generally connected to a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. To find exercises that can strengthen the pelvic floor go to the Exercise area.

Mixed Incontinence

Some 10 -30% of men experience mixed symptoms. Usually it’s a combination of Stress Incontinence and Urge Incontinence. If you happen to have both bladder weakness types, there’s usually one that causes more of a problem than the other, so you should focus on dealing with the most frequent symptom first. Find out What you can do.

Post-micturition Dribble

This is when the bladder doesn’t empty completely and continues to leak after urinating. This is also common with an enlarged prostate or weakened pelvic floor muscles. For techniques on dealing with this go to What you can do.

Overflow incontinence

This is a constant or episodic flow of urine, usually caused by an obstruction or nerve damage. If you’re experiencing this, it’s probably best to get it checked out by your Doctor, as they are the best people to diagnose this type of male incontinence.

Functional Incontinence

This is an inability to reach the toilet in time because of the difficulties caused by physical or mental illness. To find out how to manage this condition go to What you can do.

Neurological Bladder Disorders

Damage to the nerves as a result of illness (such as Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or brain injury) can affect the way the brain and bladder communicate. This results in an inability to control the bladder or empty it completely.

You will realise by now that there are many types of male bladder weakness. Certainly, everyone’s experience is different. So if you’re unsure of your symptoms, we advise you to contact a health care professional for a personal assessment, which normally starts with finding out when you experience urine loss and under what conditions. It might be an idea to keep a diary recording your urination pattern for a week so you can monitor what happens. You’ll then have a record to discuss with your Doctor or continence advisor should you wish to. Download a bladder diary.

Now you know the types, find out how thousands of men deal with everyday bladder weakness and see what you can do.

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