Prostatitis And Bladder Incontinence in Older Men: How are They Related?

Over 50? Prostatitis and bladder incontinence are common issues affecting men and significantly impact quality of life. These conditions can be caused by a range of factors, including prostate enlargement, infection, or nerve damage, and require prompt medical attention.

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Prostatitis And Bladder Incontinence in Older Men: How are They Related?
6 Min Read April 14th, 2023

Growing older usually sparks the beginning of health issues, and many men experience these changes as they age. Unfortunately, one of the more comment problems involves urinary health. For men over 50 years, prostate infection, also known as prostatitis, is one of the most significant urinary infections.

It involves swelling or inflammation of the prostate gland. The condition affects more than just your urinary tract; it can give you pain in your pelvic area or urethra. 

When urinary issues occur, many men aren't aware that some simple changes can help treat it successfully without needing medication. Lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, can significantly affect your urinary tract.

Prostatitis Can Lead to Bladder Incontinence

The male prostate gland is found at the base of the bladder. The urethra runs from the bladder and through the prostate gland. When the prostate becomes enlarged, it can cause the urge or feeling of the need to go. While the enlargement of the prostate doesn't always cause urinary problems, it can lead to incontinence.

One of the more common issues of bladder incontinence is that men have trouble emptying the bladder with prostatitis. The urinary symptoms can become irritable enough for treatment if left untreated long enough. 

Prostatitis and Urinary Incontinence Symptoms

Plenty of telltale signs and symptoms indicate you're experiencing prostatitis or, at the very least, bladder incontinence. These symptoms include the following:

  • Dribbles or small leaks of urine after going to the bathroom
  • The urine stream is slow when you begin to go
  • Urinating more often during the day (and at night - BPH)
  • The urgency "to go" is strong and sudden; sometimes, you may not reach the bathroom in time
  • The force of urine is lacking, making aiming the stream challenging
  • The sensation of needing to go to the bathroom soon after just going

Many of these symptoms don't require medical treatment. However, speaking to your doctor to see what changes need to be made to relieve them can be helpful. If you have an older loved one, be sure to encourage them to discuss these health concerns with their doctor and not ignore them.

Let your doctor know if you're experiencing other problems with your incontinence, such as painful urinating, blood in the urine, or inability to go.

When dealing with prostatitis, some of the additional symptoms that could point to it include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Groin muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Urgent urination

Tell your doctor how long you've been experiencing your symptoms, as it can depend on your treatment. Worst cases could lead to prostate cancer, so the sooner you see a doctor, the better.

Treatment of Prostatitis and Bladder Incontinence

Antibiotics are usually necessary when dealing with the bacterial form of prostatitis. You must go to your doctor to receive a diagnosis. Your doctor may need to evaluate you and take some tests, which may include some of the following:

  • Physical examination, including your medical history and links to conditions like diabetes, sleep apnea, erectile dysfunction, and obesity
  • Rectal examination - to look at the size and shape of your prostate gland
  • Flow rate exam - to see how fast you can pass urine
  • Ultrasound - to look at the bladder and see if it's emptying fully when you go
  • Urodynamics - tests on the bladder to see how your bladder is functioning

You can take some steps to work on incontinence or prostatitis issues without needing medication. You may purchase underwear specifically for bladder leaks, reduce caffeine, exercise more, or change your diet to minimize the effect on your bladder.

Antibiotics are necessary for prostatitis since it is an infection and may require medication for many weeks. You also might need other medicines to help improve your urine flow. In more severe cases, you could require surgery if there's a blockage, but it depends on the size of your prostate and the condition of the urethra. 

The types of surgeries you could need include:

  • Laser resection of the prostate
  • Open surgery prostatectomy
  • Transurethral resection or incision of the prostate (TURP or TUIP)
  • Removal of prostate tissue with the use of steam or water jets

Problems with your prostate can lead to urinary incontinence and other potential bladder problems. It's essential to speak with your doctor if you're experiencing any urinary issues at your age so that you can quickly work to prevent the need for medication or surgery in the future.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer develops in the prostate gland, a small gland that produces seminal fluid. It is the second most common cancer in men worldwide. It is typically diagnosed through a combination of digital rectal exams, imaging tests, and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests. 

The PSA test is a blood test that measures the level of PSA, a protein produced by the prostate gland, in the blood. Higher levels of PSA can indicate the presence of prostate cancer or other prostate conditions, such as prostatitis.

Prostatitis can also cause an increase in PSA levels, which can make it difficult to distinguish between prostate cancer and prostatitis through PSA testing alone. Therefore, doctors may need to perform additional tests, such as a biopsy or imaging tests, to confirm a prostate cancer diagnosis.

Bladder incontinence can be caused by various factors, including prostate cancer and prostatitis. Prostate cancer can cause bladder incontinence if it spreads to the bladder or surrounding nerves. In contrast, prostatitis can cause bladder incontinence due to inflammation and bladder and urinary tract irritation. 

Treatment for bladder incontinence related to prostate cancer or prostatitis may include medication, behavioral therapy, or surgery, depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition.

Dr Aditya Sharma, Lead Consultant Urology and Renal Transplant at Apollo Hospital Lucknow, says that prostate cancer treatment depends on several factors, including the cancer's stage and the overall health of the patient.

Sharma says that depending on the severity and progression of the cancer, different approaches may be taken to manage the disease. In some cases, the cancer may be slow-growing, and a "watchful waiting" approach may be taken, where the cancer is monitored regularly, but immediate treatment is not necessary.

Surgery is a common treatment option for prostate cancer, where the prostate gland is surgically removed, along with any cancerous tissue. The surgery can be done through an open laparoscopic or robotic approach. Radiation therapy is another option, where high-energy radiation is used to kill cancer cells.

Hormone therapy is used to block the production of testosterone, which can slow the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy is also a treatment option, where medications are used to kill cancer cells.

Be Proactive with Health

Men need to pay attention to their prostate health as they age. The risk of developing prostate cancer and other prostate-related conditions increases with age, making it crucial for men to be proactive about their health. 

The American Cancer Society recommends that men discuss the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening with their doctor starting at age 50 for most men. However, men at higher risk, including those with a family history of prostate cancer, African American men, and those with a BRCA gene mutation, may need to begin screening at an earlier age.

In addition to prostate cancer screening, men should be aware of prostatitis and bladder incontinence symptoms. Men experiencing symptoms should seek medical attention promptly, as prostatitis can lead to more serious health problems if left untreated. 

As men age, it is also crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of prostate-related issues. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and not smoking can all help reduce the risk of prostate cancer and other conditions. Men should also talk to their doctor about any medications they are taking. Certain medications, such as antidepressants and diuretics, can increase the risk of prostate-related issues.

According to Dr. Stacy Loeb, an assistant professor of urology and population health at New York University Langone Medical Center, it is essential for men to maintain a healthy lifestyle as they get past age 50 because of prostate cancer and other prostate-related health issues.

This includes regular exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight. Men who follow these lifestyle habits are less likely to develop prostate cancer, and if they do, they are more likely to have better outcomes.

Men should discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctor at age 50 and earlier for those at higher risk. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and talking to a doctor about medications can also help reduce the risk of prostate-related issues.

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent prostate cancer, for example, certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing the disease. These include eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and limiting the consumption of red meat and high-fat foods. 

Regular screenings for prostate cancer are also essential to detect the disease early and increase the chances of successful treatment.

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About the Author

Olivia Wolfe has a passion for health and nutrition. She has a degree in Nutrition and is dedicated to sharing her experiences and educating others and help them achieve their health and wellness goals.

LTC News Contributor Olivia Wolfe

Olivia Wolfe

Contributor since April 7th, 2023

Editor's Note

It is well established that women face many age-related health issues that lead to a high risk of needing long-term health care. However, men are living longer and also face age-related challenges that lead to a higher risk of needing help with everyday living activities or supervision due to dementia.

As men age, they face a range of health issues that can impact their quality of life and increase the risk of needing long-term care. One common issue is prostate enlargement, which affects many men over the age of 50. This condition can cause urinary problems, such as difficulty starting or stopping urine flow, frequent urination, and incomplete emptying of the bladder. If left untreated, prostate enlargement can lead to more severe complications, such as bladder infections and urinary retention.

Another health issue that can impact men over 50 is erectile dysfunction (ED), which is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for sexual activity. ED can be caused by a range of factors, including age-related changes in hormone levels, chronic illnesses such as diabetes or high blood pressure, and certain medications. While ED itself is not life-threatening, it can have a significant impact on a man's mental health and relationships and may be an early warning sign of underlying health issues that require medical attention.

Heart disease is another health issue that becomes more prevalent as men age. According to the American Heart Association, over 70% of men over the age of 60 have some form of cardiovascular disease. This can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other serious health complications that may require long-term care. Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle.

Arthritis is also a common health issue that affects many men over 50. This condition causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, which can impact mobility and daily activities. Arthritis can also increase the risk of falls and other injuries, which may require long-term care to manage.

Overall, as men age, they are at increased risk of a range of health issues that can impact their quality of life and increase the risk of needing long-term care. Taking steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking, and managing chronic health conditions, can help reduce the risk of these health issues and improve overall health outcomes.

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