Gentlemen who are managing incontinence face specific challenges. But they also have unique opportunities when it comes to products to help lead a comfortable, healthy life, unembarrassed by urinary leaks.
A Bit About Male Anatomy
Urine is made by the kidneys and stored in the bladder, which is connected to the penis by the urethra that passes through the prostate. When you have to urinate, nerves signal the bladder to squeeze, forcing urine into the urethra, which relaxes allowing urine to pass out of the body.
Urinary leaks can happen when:
- Your bladder squeezes at the wrong time or too hard (a sudden urge).
- The muscles around the urethra are weak and overly relaxed (a slow leak).
- The bladder is too full (causing an overflow) because the nerves haven’t signalled the bladder to squeeze or the urethra is blocked, often by an enlarged prostate.
Urinary incontinence is most commonly associated with aging, but can affect men of any age. And it’s a very common problem; the US Centers for Disease Control estimate more than 50% of senior men experience incontinence.
Male Incontinence Products
Men have a lot of options when it comes to discreetly managing incontinence and what you choose usually depends on the level and type of leakage you’re experiencing.
Light Occasional Leakage
The most popular product for gentlemen is simply a male guard. These modest, absorbent pouches fit inside the front of your regular briefs or boxer briefs and catch small leaks before they stain your clothing. They have a waterproof backing to prevent leaking through and are small enough to carry a spare in a large pant pocket. They’re discreet and undetectable under clothing, and very affordable.
Click Here to view male guards.
Sudden Urge Leakage
If your bladder is prone to unexpectedly releasing entirely, often at embarrassing moments, a more absorbent and complete solution is required.
The most popular product for men is an male absorbent underwear. These replace your existing underwear and provide full coverage with moderate to heavy absorbency. The front groin area is embedded with super absorbent polymer that immediately starts soaking up urine as soon as your bladder releases, and the underwear has a waterproof but cloth-like outer shell that stops urine from leaking through.
Click Here to view absorbent underwear.
When shopping for absorbent underwear, fit is critical. The underwear should fit snugly (to prevent leaks around the legs) but not so tight as to be uncomfortable. We strongly recommend sampling underwear products in variety of sizes and brands to find one that will work best for you.
Click Here to view free samples.
If you require even more absorption (such as in the case of night-time incontinence when your full bladder releases in your sleep) or if you’re having trouble finding underwear that fits, consider tabbed adult “briefs”.
“Briefs” is a confusing word, and most people assume they mean underwear-like products. Actually, in medical language, “briefs” are really just adult diapers – similar to absorbent underwear, but the sides are open and you have adjustable Velcro-like tabs that you fit to your unique shape.
Many men feel there’s a stigma attached to wearing tabbed briefs, but they do provide some important and unique benefits. Male adult diapers are adjustable (so you can get a better fit), they can be changed without having to completely remove your pants (just drop your drawers to remove and put on a new one) and are available in a higher level of absorbency than underwear (perfect for full nighttime incontinence). Tabbed briefs also tend to be slightly less expensive than underwear.
Click Here to view tabbed briefs (adult diapers).
Another solution that is unique for men is an external catheter. This is simply a condom-like sheath that is held in place with a gentle adhesive, and connected by a line to a holding bag. Bags come in either leg style (suitable for wearing under loose trousers) or bed-side style, allowing for an interrupted night’s sleep.
Click here to view external catheters.
For those who have enlarged prostates, or nerve damage that may cause the bladder to be full without necessarily signaling the need to urinate, a male catheter might be an option.
Catheters prompt many men to cringe, but they’re really quite a good solution for specific cases. For those with a prostate blocking their urethra, an internal male intermittent catheter can help relieve bladder pressure on your schedule in a regular toilet.
The catheter comes in a variety of diameters, so you can find one that is painless to insert, and with different tips, to help gently move past an enlarged prostate. Compact styles are small enough to fit in your pocket so can you can relieve yourself when you feel its likely your bladder is full, thus preventing an overflow.
Click here to view intermittent catheters.