#PTonICE Daily Show – Wednesday, May 29th, 2024 – Urinary incontinence for the older male

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, join Modern Management of the Older Adult division leader Christina Prevett discusses the management of urinary incontinence in the older male, implications for function, and quality of life.

Take a listen to learn how to better serve this population of patients & athletes, or check out the full show notes on our blog at www.ptonice.com/blog.

If you’re looking to learn more about live courses designed to better serve older adults in physical therapy or our online physical therapy courses, check our entire list of continuing education courses for physical therapy including our physical therapy certifications by checking out our website. Don’t forget about all of our FREE eBooks, prebuilt workshops, free CEUs, and other physical therapy continuing education on our Resources tab.


Hey everyone, Alan here, Chief Operating Officer here at ICE. Before we get into today’s episode, I’d like to introduce our sponsor, Jane, a clinic management software and EMR with a human touch. Whether you’re switching your software or going paperless for the first time ever, the Jane team knows that the onboarding process can feel a little overwhelming. That’s why with Jane, you don’t just get software, you get a whole team. Including in every Jane subscription is their new award-winning customer support available by phone, email, or chat whenever you need it, even on Saturdays. You can also book a free account setup consultation to review your account and ensure that you feel confident about going live with your switch. And if you’d like some extra advice along the way, you can tap into a lovely community of practitioners, clinic owners, and front desk staff through Jane’s community Facebook group. If you’re interested in making the switch to Jane, head on over to jane.app.switch to book a one-on-one demo with a member of Jane’s support team. Don’t forget to mention code IcePT1MO at the time of sign up for a one month free grace period on your new Jane account.

Hello everybody and welcome to the PT on Ice daily show. My name is Christina Prevett. I am one of our lead faculty in our geriatric division and today I am hoping to talk a little bit about urinary incontinence in the older male. A lot of times we focus a lot of our conversations around pelvic health on the female side of the sex spectrum. But today I really want to talk about males. We talk a lot in MMOA, especially in our Level 2 course where we do an entire segment on pelvic health for the older adult. around how every clinician is a pelvic floor clinician. And the reason why we say that is because if you’re interacting with hip and low back pain, then you’re interacting with the pelvic floor as part of our core canister. And urinary incontinence is a leading cause of institutionalization and a very big reason why some people may not want to engage in the dosage of exercise that they need in order for them to gain the independence that they’re hoping to gain. And so we really want to make sure that we are at least doing our due diligence in screening. When we are working with individuals, we wanna know if there’s any urinary incontinence on board. And then we wanna talk about what is going on with respect to the male aging pelvis and how that interacts with signs and symptoms like urinary incontinence. So the biggest, biggest, getting bigger area of the male pelvis where there’s a lot of conversations around its impact with age is the prostate. So we do know that there is an enlarging of the prostate that occurs with age. And the main roles of the prostate is to create seminal fluid and help with propulsion of ejaculation of that seminal fluid when mixed with the sperm when achieving orgasm. And what we recognize is that as individuals age, there is a growing of the prostate, an enlargement of the prostate that occurs. that is called benign prostatic hyperplasia. Now this is non-cancerous. This is not a malignancy. This is a part of aging physiology in the pelvis. And what we recognize is that there’s also a lot of discrepancies of if this is something that we need to worry about or not. So enlargement of the prostate happens in almost every human with a penis. And it can be associated with lower urinary tract symptoms. In the literature, sometimes it’s called BPE, benign prostatic enlargement. If it is associated with symptoms, that is not always consistently done, but there is screening that can happen. And then that enlargement, if it does have cancerous tissues in it, now we’re thinking prostate cancer and individuals are going for screens for malignancy in the prostate, and then leading to potentially intervention, including radiation and, or radical prostatectomy. And I’ve done podcast episodes on radical prostatectomy before. When we’re thinking about lower urinary tract symptoms, that can include stress urinary incontinence. And oftentimes in males, because of the length of the urethra, the level of incontinence is significantly less than in the female pelvis. So only about 5% of individuals over the age of 65 have incontinence. And usually it is as a consequence of conditions like radical prostatectomy. So it can be radical prostatectomy. Individuals can have pelvic fracture trauma. Some neurodegenerative conditions can also have a urinary condition associated with it. And so usually there’s a precipitating event, not always, but most of the time there is some sort of precipitating event that has happened around the pelvis that has led to urinary incontinence. For example, when you have a radical prostatectomy, the prostate is removed. That includes the areas around the external anal sphincter. The urethra is then pulled up to reconnect to the bladder, which can disrupt the pelvic floor, the deep pelvic floor muscles that are responsible for kinking that hose of the urethra in order for a stress urinary incontinence not to occur. And so it makes sense why there’s a disruption to that longer urethra can lead to things like stress urinary incontinence. When you have an older adult with stress urinary incontinence, I know it doesn’t sound that, that surgery doesn’t sound that great, but it is minimally invasive and people do respond pretty well to it, but we have podcast episodes on the, the surgical art of radical frost detective and what we can expect postoperatively. So when we’re working with individuals, urinary incontinence is something that we may be managing and we have a big role to play in helping with post-operative or the new development of urinary incontinence. And so when we’re thinking about management, we have kind of our conservative buckets, and then we have surgical management. If you are a person who’s had a radical prostatectomy, the natural physiology is that many symptoms resolve within a year. So usually we are not doing any follow-up, or your urologist is not doing any follow-up surgical intervention around the pelvis until a year post-operatively with individuals post-radical prostatectomy. But we do have conservative methods that we can use in the shorter term, and hopefully to try and avoid a subsequent surgical management. And so those buckets are pelvic floor muscle training, penile clamps, and surgical intervention. And so the first and go-to knee-jerk reaction is always going to be conservative management, especially if initiated pre-operatively or pre-event, where individuals who are males get an awareness of the pelvic floor system. Because incontinence and pelvic floor issues in the male pelvis are not as common, many times education around the pelvic floor is not as widespread, individuals are not having these conversations as frequently, and then recognizing how to contract and relax the pelvic floor muscles can be something, especially if there is a training effect that we are doing with appropriate dosing, can help with mild to moderate urinary incontinence post pelvic event in the older male. When we are thinking about pelvic floor muscle training, we are trying to cue the pelvis either to stop the flow of urine, or to try and shorten the base of the penis. Those are the two cues that have been shown in research to have the highest EMG activation of the pelvic floor when trying to teach the pelvic floor contraction in an older male, and trying to get a strengthening effect with appropriate dosage. And there’s some protocols in the post-radical prostatectomy world that tries to accumulate 20, 30, 40 reps. It’s a bit variable, but we wanna make sure that we are getting a training effect based on where individual’s baseline status is. initiating pelvic floor muscle training, seeking a pelvic floor physical therapist, or if you’re okay with palpating externally, you can go kind of medial to the sits bones and see if there’s a contraction of those pelvic floor muscles in the male. If you are a non-internal pelvic floor physical therapist, then you can work on some of that coordination and contraction in individuals who this is a barrier for them going out into the house. So that’s kind of our first option. Our second option is a penile clamp. And so if you’re aware, in the female pelvic space, we have a device called a pessary, which is inserted intravaginally, and basically what it does is it kinks off the urethra mechanically in order to help reduce symptoms of pelvic floor prolapse, or pelvic organ prolapse, rather, or urinary incontinence. We see this a lot as a conservative management in order to avoid pelvic surgery, We have a similar type of compression device for the male, but obviously there is not an intravaginal hole for our male anatomy and therefore it is placed externally. So what a pelvic clamp is, is It is attached to the mid shaft in a flaccid penis and it has a little bump on the bottom of the device. So there’s a compression and on that bottom ridge, it essentially applies the same type of compression as the pessary to the bottom of the male penis in order to avoid incontinence issues. And what we see is that it can significantly reduce the number of pads or reduce the pad test, which is urine coming into a pad in a certain amount of time by weight. and the amount of subjective reports of incontinence. When we are thinking about penile clamps, comfort is going to be one of the biggest concerns where, you know, individuals, I think the last study that I was looking at was like about half of individuals reported that it wasn’t really that comfy to be wearing the clamp on the shaft of their penis. It may be because of, you know, making sure that we have proper education or finding the right fit of the clamp, but something for us to be thinking about or, you know, having conversations about with the individual where we may be suggesting this conservative management strategy. And then the second thing that is a really important part for us to be considering is vascular health. We know that a lot of issues around the pelvis, including benign prostatic hyperplasia and erectile dysfunction, have a big vascular health component, aka we’re screaming from the rooftops about health promotion, including around the penis. It’s just super important for us to consider if individuals have poor perfusion, that even with a small amount of compression, we have to think about vascular health and skin integrity concerns. So trying to figure out who this might be the best individual to be using this type of thing with. Individuals who may really like this option are those who are very adamantly against having surgery or those who are not a candidate for surgery. So here’s that double edged sword, right? Where a lot of individuals with high amounts of vascular concerns are going to be individuals who cannot undergo another surgery. They may be the ones that we are thinking about, you know, using this clamp, but we’re going to make sure that we take a lot of breaks from wearing it. There was a study that was done out of Japan that was showing that individuals were able to wear it for two to three hours with a 15 minute break. and there was no adverse events to using it. Other studies have talked about doing an hour on, hour off, or using it when trying to do activities around the house. So you’re kind of using it for a specific goal or task in standing to try and prevent some of that UI issue from happening. So that’s bucket two. So we have our pelvic floor muscle training, We have our conservative penile clamp, and then we have our surgical interventions. And so for the two interventions for our males, we have a urethral sling, which is done through the trans or obturator foramen. And it is essentially a meshing tape that helps to apply resistance to the urethra with or without additional compression, depending on the technique that we are leveraging. in order to help keep the sphincters closed when we want them to be closed. These are indicated for mild to moderate types of urinary incontinence and not usually indicated for more severe cases. When we have individuals with more severe cases, individuals are using an artificial sphincter. So what this is, is it is a device that comes in and essentially creates a clamp with a balloon, or a cuff with a balloon rather, over the urethral opening, not the urethral opening, mid urethra, and your urine starts to accumulate in your bladder. Person’s body is going to get the cue that they have to go to the bathroom, and when they go to the bathroom, they release a button in the scrotum that’s placed in the scrotum, and it deflates the balloon, allowing the urethra to unkink and for urine to be able to pass through. And then the mechanism goes on a timer. So either it’s between 90 seconds and three minutes, depending on the device, and that allows the urethra to be open for that amount of time. And then after that time has elapsed, the cuff closes. Yeah, it’s really incredible. Like the technology is really intense. So when you’re thinking about who might be indicated for using this artificial sphincter, dexterity and cognition are two big issues in an older male population where we may be thinking about, you know, are they gonna be able to get to the release mechanism on the scrotum? Are they cognitively gonna be able to do the procedure in order for the cuff to deflate? In more severe cases, this is indicated. And there is a fairly severe revision rate. So 20 to 30% will require some sort of mechanical revision, whether the device is kinked, whether there’s clogs or hoses, like there is a higher chance of that happening because it’s a more, it’s a mechanical device, like there are moving parts. And so those parts can break down versus in a sling where you’re essentially tacking up that resistance against the urethra. It’s something that’s a little bit more, doesn’t have the same amount of moving parts. So there’s a very high success rate for both of these surgeries. Infection rates and things like that tend to be fairly low and it can help to improve sexual function and be able to help individuals achieve better quality of life and physical function and is a good option for individuals who have exhausted their conservative management and have not seen the improvement that they wish to see. So if you are working with these individuals, usually the post-operative instructions are to avoid heavy lifting for six weeks. and then can start returning to moving around. It’s not very smooth where individuals can get back to what? That is a conversation for another day. But overall, management can be quite good. So I hope you found that helpful around the way that this is kind of managed from a medical perspective. We can be very helpful in the conservative management piece where it can come along individuals in the post-operative piece or perioperative moment. And it’s a thing that we see when we’re working with our older adults, right? That we see it in geriatrics. So hopefully that was helpful and kind of fills in some knowledge gaps for you if this is not an area that you practice in all the time. All right. If you want to get all of that information in our UI section, that is in our MMOA level two. So you have to have taken MMOA level one in order to get access to our special populations because we build on a lot of questions. Thank you so much. That’s so sweet of you. And we build that into level two. If you are looking to take MMOA live, we are still on the road all summer. It is nice weather, but we are visiting all over the United States. We are in Scottsdale, Arizona, June 1st and 2nd. Spring, Texas, 8th and 9th. We are getting toasty in those places. Let me tell you, I’m not doing those courses. Those are all dusted and jammed. June 22nd, 23rd, we are in Charlotte, North Carolina. And July 13th, 14th, we are in Virginia Beach. So if you are around and you want to take out live content in the summer, we got you covered. Other than that, please have a wonderful week. I hope you all are enjoying your post Memorial Day week and we will see you all next time. Bye.

Hey, thanks for tuning in to the PT on Ice daily show. If you enjoyed this content, head on over to iTunes and leave us a review, and be sure to check us out on Facebook and Instagram at the Institute of Clinical Excellence. If you’re interested in getting plugged into more ice content on a weekly basis while earning CUs from home, check out our virtual ice online mentorship program at ptonice.com. While you’re there, sign up for our Hump Day Hustling newsletter for a free email every Wednesday morning with our top five research articles and social media posts that we think are worth reading. Head over to ptonice.com and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up.