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Male urinary incontinence

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Men may find themselves in a unique position when it comes to urinary incontinence, writes Ian Peate, and in need of encouragement and support to deal with a condition often associated with females.

Urinary incontinence is common and can have a detrimental impact on the man's health and wellbeing, it can also take its toll on the man's family and his carers. Nurses have a duty to offer help and support to male patients in this situation.

NICE defines urinary incontinence as the involuntary leakage of urine.1 There are a number of different types of urinary incontinence (Table 1).
It is difficult to estimate the prevalence of urinary incontinence. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN)2 suggest this is due to differences in definition and also the fact that many people with the condition will not acknowledge their continence problems.

Urinary incontinence is estimated to be two to three times as common in women as in men, but these estimates must be treated with caution as men may not report issues concerning bladder problems as often as women. Prevalence increases with age and 34 per cent of men aged over 80 years have urinary incontinence.3

Men, in contrast to women, may be more reluctant to talk to their nurse or GP about symptoms related to bladder problems. It may be harder for men to avoid situations where urinary leakage is common. More men, for example, might have jobs that involve he

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