WHEN SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT...

Men's Health: Managing Kidney Stones and Incontinence

Nov. 11, 2019

This is the part one of a two-part series on common urologic conditions that affect men.

Male urology problems can range from mild inconveniences to life-threatening conditions. Knowing your risk factors and recognizing symptoms may help you avoid serious health problems.

Common urologic conditions affecting men include:

Kidney stones

Kidney stones are caused when high levels of minerals, such as calcium, occur in urine. About 12% of men experience kidney stones at some point in their lifetime. The condition most often affects men between the ages of 30 and 50.

“Small stones may pass on their own, but larger ones can lodge in the urinary tract, blocking the flow of urine and causing intense pain,” says Dr. Bayo Tojuola, a urologist at Houston Methodist.

If you’re passing a larger stone, Dr. Tojuola recommends drinking lots of water and taking anti-inflammatory medicines. In severe cases, surgery may be suggested.

Tips for preventing kidney stones:

Drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day (unless your doctor advises differently). Avoid foods that are high in sodium and try to get your calcium from foods (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.) rather than supplements.

Incontinence

Accidental or involuntary urination is often a symptom of other urologic disorders. The three main types of incontinence men may experience are:

  1. Stress incontinence – which may occur while walking, jogging, laughing, coughing or during other normal activities
  2. Urge incontinence, or overactive bladder – which causes an immediate need to urinate
  3. Overflow incontinence – which is the result of an overfull bladder, often without the urge to urinate

 

Treating incontinence frequently involves making dietary changes, performing exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and medications (including alpha blockers). In some cases, surgery to remove excess prostate tissue may be recommended.

Men with prostate problems, including enlarged prostate (also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)), are at increased risk of urge and overflow incontinence. In addition, neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke or multiple sclerosis, may interfere with nerves involved in bladder control.

Tips for preventing incontinence:

While not always preventable, your risk may be reduced by maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding bladder irritants, such as caffeine, alcohol and acidic foods, as well as avoiding or quitting smoking.

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