Problems with Continence

Problems with our waterworks often result from diseases of the prostate, treatments, or simply the ageing process. These tend to fall into two categories: urgency and lack of control.


Some guidelines

  • Do not reduce your fluid intake – this can make the problem worse.
  • Try to avoid drinks containing caffeine.
  • Fizzy drinks may exacerbate symptoms.
  • Alcohol can increase urgency.
  • Avoid passing urine ‘just in case’ and try to increase time between visits to the toilet.
  • Do not try to hold on at night – it will only keep you awake.
  • Practise holding on in the daytime, which will help your night-time problems.
  • If you have been given water tablets, you must continue to take them, unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
  • If you are overweight, try to lose a few pounds.
  • Carry out regular pelvic floor exercises. 

Pelvic floor exercises for men

The muscles of the pelvic floor are kept firm and slightly tense to stop leakage of urine from the bladder or faeces from the bowel. Pelvic floor muscles can become weak and sag because of surgery, radiotherapy, being overweight, lack of exercise, poor posture, or just getting older. Weak muscles give you less control, and you may leak urine, especially with exercise or when you cough, sneeze or laugh. (This is called ‘stress incontinence’).

Pelvic floor exercises help strengthen these muscles and involve tucking your bottom in and pulling your pubic bone up in front and holding it there for a few seconds. This should be repeated 100+ times daily, so self-discipline is needed to keep at these exercises. Fast walking can also help. Both the exercises and fast walking have also been shown to improve erectile function.

Although there is no firm evidence that doing pelvic floor exercises prior to treatment is beneficial, this can do no harm, and it may well help to get into the habit of routinely exercising the right muscles.