Seventy-five percent of men experience urinary incontinence immediately after having prostate surgery. There are specific reasons why this occurs, how long it will last, and ways to ameliorate the problem. What follows is a helpful guide to urinary control after prostate cancer surgery.
Types Of Incontinency
Urinary incontinence is the inability to control urine and it sometimes occurs after surgery for the prostate.
Stress incontinence from stress on the bladder causes leaks when laughing, sneezing, coughing, or lifting heavy objects.
Urge incontinence is a sudden, unexpected urge to urinate, and it usually happens before you can make it to the bathroom.
Surgery to remove the prostate gland due to cancer is known as a prostatectomy. This surgery carries a higher risk for urinary problems. During surgery the bladder is pulled down and connected to the urethra at the point where the prostate was originally situated.
When the prostate is removed, the surgeon also removes one of the valves outside that opens or closes to let urine out or keep it in. One valve is usually enough, but sometimes muscles and nerves affect the area and cause urine to leak.
Prognosis After Prostate Cancer Surgery
There are a number of scenarios once a man has prostate surgery. This is something to discuss with Potomac Urology Surgery Center to determine your post-surgical expectations.
- The majority of men are eventually continent.
- Incontinence may resolve after 3 months and many men can live without pads or adult diapers. This is especially true of men who are between the ages of 40 and 60 and in overall good health.
- Incontinence will improve with time and normally resolves within one year.
- How long incontinence lasts depends on age, weight and the physical characteristics of the urethra.
If incontinence has not improved after six months, surgical intervention may be recommended.
Treatments Post Surgery
If mild to moderate incontinence has not resolved, treatments are available.
They include therapies like exercises for pelvic floor muscles, and this along with medications can reduce the number of times a man wakes at night to urinate.
If incontinence has not resolved after one year, there are two surgeries available: the urethral sling and an artificial urinary sphincter.
Contact our team of urologic surgeons at Potomac Urology Surgery Center by calling (703) 680-2111 to talk about your risk of having urinary incontinence after prostate cancer surgery.