Dr Eric ChungAssociate Professor Eric Chung is a urological surgeon in Queensland and an exciting speaker, mentor and research author. His passion is functional reconstructive urology (surgery to repair and restore various damaged organ systems).

What led you into the area of urology?

Urology covers many conditions, from cancer to long-term diseases of the reproductive and urinary system. Simply, it deals with the plumbing system in the human body.

As a urological surgeon, it is very rewarding to help patients. Helping urinary problems is about more than just bladder emptying and staying dry. It improves people’s quality of life across areas like social interaction, physical lifestyle, relationships, mental wellbeing, finance and employment.

I remember how a simple male sling surgery completely changed the life of an 80-year-old man. He had suffered from urinary incontinence for over 10 years but was told he was “too old” for surgery. This elderly man had spent a lot of money each month on continence pads and stopped being as socially and physically active due to fear of wetting in public and in front of loved ones.

This story was first published in Bridge magazine. Subscribe to Bridge online.

Can men have stress urinary incontinence? What is it?

Yes, male stress incontinence is mostly related to prostate problems. This can be due to prostate surgery (enlarged prostate or prostate cancer), radiation or pelvic trauma. Male stress incontinence is the loss of urinary control due to the urinary sphincter and pelvic floor not working as well as they should.

The urinary sphincter in a man sits below the prostate, as part of the pelvic floor muscles. It is close to important nerves for sexual function. This is why there are strong links between male stress incontinence and male sexual problems including poor libido, erectile dysfunction, the loss of urine during ejaculation and lack of orgasm.

How can incontinence and male sexual problems have an impact on men’s mental health?

There is more to male incontinence than just the symptom of urine loss. Given the link between incontinence and male sexual problems, it affects how you see yourself and interact with others in life. Both conditions can make a confident guy feel like an embarrassed, bedwetting kid.

Healthy, active adults can suddenly feel inadequate, with fears of intimate relationships and a loss of sexual confidence.

New technology and knowledge has changed the way we look at and treat incontinence these days. There is help available - start the conversation with your doctor or call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.

This story was first published in Bridge Magazine. Subscribe and receive Bridge straight to your inbox.