Urinary incontinence in men: what the practice nurse needs to know
Male incontinence is an underestimated condition. Ann Yates explores the role practice nurses can play in identifying, treating and managing the condition
Male urinary incontinence is an underestimated condition, with health professionals unaware of the risk factors and, even when aware, unsure of how to address them. This article will identify current known prevalence figures, identify known risk factors and will then progress to identify how to undertake an assessment of the presenting symptoms, conservative treatment options and, finally, management options.
Urinary incontinence is a common condition mainly associated with women, with a ratio of nearly 2:1 (approximately 55% of women are estimated to experience incontinence) (Helfand el al, 2018). This prevalence in females is due to their numerous risk factors, especially associated with childbirth (Yates, 2017). However, urinary incontinence affects both sexes and can have a severe negative impact on quality of life (Nursing Times, 2019). Health professionals are aware that in general women's health outcomes in the UK are usually poorer than men's (Winchester, 2021); however, this does not seem to be the case for male urinary incontinence (Lancet, 2019). The above statistics have led to disparity in continence care for men, leading to most male continence needs being unmet or neglected by professionals (Stenzelius, 2005; Nursing Times, 2019; Yates, 2021). This article will identify how male urinary incontinence care can be improved by looking at the prevalence of the condition, identifying risk factors associated with male urinary incontinence, looking at the skills health professionals require to adequately assess male patients and covering the treatment and management options available.
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