In a scene in Jennifer Lopez’s 2010 film Back-up Plan, party guests were excitedly lined up on the dance floor of a reception venue bopping to the tune of the conga to celebrate the wedding of Lopez’s 72-year-old grandmother to a nonagenarian she had been dating for the last 20 years. As the guests snaked around the hall in ecstatic celebration, one of them slipped, making the participants crash on the floor like dominos.
When people realized that the floor was wet, a male senior citizen moved to touch his pants, because he thought that he was the cause of the “bladder accident.” Realizing that his pants were dry, he immediately exclaimed that he wasn’t the culprit, shifting all attention to a very pregnant Jennifer Lopez, who realized too late that her water bag just broke.
Urinary bladder accidents, technically known as urinary incontinence or UI, are not uncommon in male senior citizens, as the preceding anecdote suggests. In general, UI has different causes and is categorized by the United Kingdom’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD) as follows:
● Stress incontinence. The involuntary loss or discharge of urine because of abdominal pressure on the bladder. This can happen when one is coughing, sneezing, or is lifting heavy loads.
● Urge incontinence. The involuntary loss of urine because of an overwhelming urge to void the bladder that cannot be controlled or stopped.
● Overflow incontinence. The constant dribbling of urine associated with frequent urination, albeit in small amounts.
The prevalence of UI increases with age, but can be addressed medically, and is therefore not an inevitable part of aging. But the fact is, such accidental leakages of urine can happen at any age. US statistics reveal that 2-15 percent of men ages 15-64, and 5-15 percent of men over 60 suffer from UI. Fewer men, however, are diagnosed with UI than women because of anatomical and hormonal differences.