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Urinary Incontinence after Prostate Surgery Can Be Managed
Diane K Newman, RN-C, MSN, ANP posted:
During the first two to three months after prostate cancer surgery, some men (from five to fifteen percent) will have urinary incontinence due to damage of the sphincter muscles in the urethra. In these men, urine leakage occurs mostly after exercise or physical exertion. Men will report urine leakage when laughing, coughing, changing position or bending over. Fatigue of the pelvic floor muscle can cause loss of urine during the second half of the day, late afternoon and early evening. Men will find that they will not have incontinence during the night while asleep as there is no pressure on the sphincter when lying flat.

This type of incontinence is often temporary but may become a long-term condition that causes men much anxiety or may even disrupt their lives in significant ways. So it is important to remember that in most men, this is a temporary problem as urine leakage lessens as the healing from surgery occurs.

Post-prostatectomy urinary incontinence may come as a shock to some men who feel they were not warned about this possible complication from the surgery. Many such men are further frustrated because the urologist who performed the surgery may not be interested in helping the patient overcome this side effect.

In my practice, I see men who have undergone prostate cancer removal, either through open or by robot procedure. They see me 6 weeks after surgery and I assess their bladder and determine the amount of incontinence they may be experiencing. I put them on a very structured pelvic floor muscle exercise program using biofeedback.

Men need to know that effective treatments are available including pelvic floor muscle exercises, medications, urethral injections, slings or an artificial urinary sphincter.
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