Urinary incontinence may result from aging or surgery

Urinary incontinence may result from aging or surgery and may occur at any time of the day or in connection with an effort (such as lift a weight or even sneezing or coughing), or in the sexual sphere, during foreplay or at the orgasm (climacturia).
With increasing age, the prevalence of urinary incontinence rises for both sexes (1,2).
The number of people affected by Urinary incontinence that report social and psychological problems and sexual dysfunction is significantly greater than that of the general population (3-5). Existing research clearly demonstrates that individuals suffering from Urinary incontinence are vulnerable to sexual problems, especially since the topic is highly emotional and characterized by feelings of shame (6-8).

Studies found that about half of the people who were affected by climacturia, considered it a problem. For half of these, the condition was able to cause the avoidance of every sexual contact with the partner (9,10) and this may lead to an higher relational dissatisfaction than that generated by incontinence.

Sexual attractiveness and activity are fundamental to each individual, and Urinary incontinence can negatively impact this fundamental component of intimate relationships (11-13). Men reports that Urinary incontinence led to changes in their sex life and relationships, and some reported that part of their male or female identity had been lost because of restrictions in sexual activities imposed by urine loss.
Often men with urinary incontinence do not ask for help because they are ashamed and believe that there are no valid solutions. That is why they seek self-help solutions or hope that the problem will be solved by itself.

Fortunately, today there are many effective solutions, which vary according to the type and severity of the incontinence and it is important that men know that there is nothing to be ashamed of and that the real problem is to postpone the request for help.

Marco Silvaggi
Psychologist - ECPS
Institute of Clinical Sexology


Suggested readings

  • 1. Hunskaar S, Burgio K, Clark A, Lapitan MC, Nelson RT, Sillen UD. Epidemiology of urinary and feacel incontinence and pel- vic organ prolapse. In: Abrams P, Cardozo L, Khoury S, Wein A, eds. Incontinence. 3rd ed. 3rd International Consultation on Incontinence; June 26-29, 2004; Paris, France.
  • 2. Chang CC, Gonzalez CM, Lau DT, Sier HC. UI and self-reported health among the U.S. Medicare managed care beneficiaries. J Aging Health. 2008;20(4):405-419.
  • 3. Dalpiaz O, Kerschbaumer A, Mitterberger M, et al. Female sex- ual dysfunction: a new urogynaecological research field. BJU Int. 2008;717-721.
  • 4. Salonia A, Zanni G, Nappi RE, et al. Sexual dysfunction is com- mon in women with lower urinary tract symptoms and urinary incontinence: results of a cross-sectional study. Eur Urol. 2004;45:642-648.
  • 5. Coyne KS, Sexton CC, Irwin DE, Kopp ZS, Kelleher CJ, Milsom I. The impact of overactive bladder, incontinence and other ower urinary tract symptoms an quality of life, work produc- tivity, sexuality and emotional well-being in men and women: results from the EPIC study. BJU Int. 2008;101:1388-1395.
  • 6. Lasserre A, Pelat C, Gueroult V, et al. Urinary incontinence in French women: prevalence, risk factors, and impact of quality of life. Eur Urol. 2009;56:177-183.
  • 7. Hayder D, Cintron A, Schnell MW, Schnepp W. Dealing with sensitive interview topics—insights into the research project “the everyday life of people with urinary incontinence.” Pflege. 2009;22:351-359.
  • 8. Joachim G, Acorn S. Stigma of visible and invisible conditions. J Adv Nurs. 2000;1:243-248.
  • 9. Lee J, Hersey K, Lee CT, et al. Climacturia following radical prostatectomy: prevalence and risk factors. J Urol 2006; 176:2562-2565.
  • 10. Messaoudi R, Menard J, Ripert T, et al. Erectile dysfunction and sexual health after radical prostatectomy: impact of sexual motivation. Int J Impot Res 2011;23:81-86.
  • 11. Paterson J. Stigma associated with postprostatectomy urinary incontinence. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2000;3:168-173.
  • 12. Gray RE, Fitch M, Phillips C, Labrecque M, Fergus K. Managing the impact of illness: the experience of men with prostate cancer and their spouses. J Health Psychol. 2000;5(4):531-548.
  • 13. Ahnis A, Knoll N. Psychosocial burden of the elderly with in- continence—A qualitative analysis. Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie. 2008;41(4):251-260.
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