Home » Men's healthcare » Get back to feeling like yourself again by talking about male continence
Men's Healthcare Q3 2022

Get back to feeling like yourself again by talking about male continence

iStock / Getty Images Plus / fizkes

Sarah Hillery

Vice President, British Association of Urological Nurses
ANP Urology York & Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The experience of urinary incontinence for any man can be a very isolating experience.


Aside from the discomfort and inconvenience that wearing pads and frequent underwear changes can cause, drips and dribbles may also bring feelings of embarrassment, humiliation and low self-esteem.

How common it is

Because men generally don’t discuss their continence problems (however minor), it can feel like you are the only man going through this. It may surprise you then to learn that between 3% to 11% of UK men experience involuntary leakage to some extent1, so you are not alone.

A leaky bladder may develop for various reasons including post-surgical complications, an unstable or overactive bladder muscle and sometimes due to the bladder getting used to being over-full. You may have other symptoms you have noticed such as having to dash to the toilet more frequently, a poor flow or abdominal discomfort.

The signs can creep up on you over several months or years, and it can become difficult to remember what ‘normal’ feels like.

Simple solutions

The signs can creep up on you over several months or years, and it can become difficult to remember what ‘normal’ feels like. It’s not easy to know what to do in these situations, as chatting about your bladder dysfunction over a pint with your friends doesn’t exactly seem the usual thing to do.

Rest assured, however, that male urinary incontinence is very common and, in most cases, it’s easy to find the cause and do something about it. The first step is to speak to your GP, nurse or other healthcare providers. You’ll find them easy to talk to and they will help ease any feelings of embarrassment on your part. Even young men sometimes leak a little bit. If it is becoming a regular problem for you, it is worth seeing what can be done to improve things at an early stage.

Talk about it

Often, small adjustments to lifestyle and medication can make all the difference, along with manoeuvres such as urethral milking to help resolve post-micturition dribble. For men who have had pelvic operations, there are a range of surgical procedures that can significantly improve incontinence if other conservative means have failed, so there is no need for any man to suffer in silence.

If you recognise yourself, your friend, partner or family member in any of the symptoms discussed here, shame or stigma mustn’t stop you from reaching out to make a difference. Help is only a conversation away.

The British Association of Urological Nurses provides education, networking and professional development opportunities for all healthcare professionals with a urological interest (including continence, community and cancer nurse specialists). See our website for more details baun.co.uk.

Bladder Health UK bladderhealthuk.org and Bladder and Bowel UK bbuk.org.uk are both excellent charities offering support and advice for a range of bladder conditions including male incontinence.


[1] Nitti VW. The prevalence of urinary incontinence. Rev Urol. 2001.

Next article