Medical conditions such as depression and traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be more common among veterans and servicemembers compared to the general public. Now, a new study published in the Journal of Urology finds that risk of urinary incontinence (UI) may be elevated for men 55 and younger who served in the military compared to men who have not.
New findings indicate that men with military service, who are 55 years or younger, are three times more likely to suffer from urinary incontinence compared to the same age group with no history of service. There was no difference in odds of UI in military men 56 to 69 years old or 70 and over compared to men of the same age group who did not serve.
Researchers also found that military men were more likely to suffer moderate or severe urinary incontinence. Three percent of men who never served reported moderate to severe UI compared to nine percent of men with a military history who reported moderate to severe UI.
The researchers examined urge incontinence, “which is a frequent feeling of needing to urinate,” lead author Dr. Camille Vaughan from the Atlanta VA Medical Center told Reuters.
Dr. Christopher Amling of Oregon Health and Science University suggested to Reuters a couple of possibilities for the increased risk of urinary incontinence in military men. Psychological stress, believed to contribute to bladder irritation, was one of them. Another possibility is when the bladder is injured as a result of a blast during active duty.
Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence among Men in the United States
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Urology examined data from participants in the 2001 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Researchers found that prevalence in the surveys was 13.9 percent for men. While urinary incontinence may not necessarily result in disability, accompanying conditions could. For help understanding your right to VA benefits and establishing a service-related disability, contact the Law Offices of Veterans Help Group