Addressing the Emotional Toll of Male Urinary Incontinence


Nearly one out of every five men over the age of 60 is having to deal with male diabetes — that needs treatment. But if you never talk to a doctor about your symptoms, you won’t get the diagnosis.

Urinary Incontinence After Prostate Surgery

But male incontinence isn’t just a problem for the lone wolves who tough it out and refuse to see a doctor. Even guys who are under medical care — and who are doing exactly what their doctors tell them — can still wind up in a bad situation, experts say.

One of the most common sources of trouble is medication, or a combination of the two. If the idea of therapy doesn’t appeal to you, keep in mind that it may be quite different from what you expect. Therapy doesn’t mean lying on a couch talking about your childhood. Lots of therapists focus on working on specific, concrete issues. A therapist might zero in on how your symptoms are affecting you — for instance, causing anxiety at work or interfering with your relationships — and help you figure out ways to work through the problems.

  • Talking to your spouse. You may feel embarrassed, but experts say it’s a good idea to talk about what you’re going through with your partner. “In a good, supportive relationship, I think it’s critical for a man to discuss it with his spouse,” says Wright. Not only could you use your spouse’s understanding and support right now, but your secrecy could be affecting your marriage. If you don’t explain what’s going on, your wife might think that you’re having a problem with her, Wright says. “The gap between a husband and wife can just keep widening,” he says. “It can get to a point of no return.”

Male Incontinence: Seeing a Doctor

If you’re feeling down or depressed about your symptoms, getting emotional support is crucial. But don’t lose sight of a main goal: getting rid of your urinary incontinence.

The stress or depression you feel has a very distinct cause — male incontinence. If you can resolve the incontinence, the depression and anxiety may disappear overnight.

“Men who get treatment for their incontinence are the happiest patients we see,” says Wright. “They bloom. They’re alive again.”

Experts agree that, no matter what the cause, the vast majority of male incontinence cases can be treated successfully. “I tell my patients that I can guarantee that they will be dry,” says Wright. “Sometimes the solution is simple, and sometimes it’s more complex surgery. But there’s always a solution.”

So if you’ve been making do with male incontinence — and suffering emotionally — it’s time to go back to the doctor. Find out what your options are. Together, you and your doctor should be able to solve this problem for good.