Incontinence after Prostate Cancer Surgery

What type of incontinence do men experience after prostate cancer surgery?

radiation therapy for prostate cancerIncontinence is when urine leaks out unexpectedly. Men often experience incontinence after prostate cancer surgery. This is generally a temporary condition and goes away with time and some simple pelvic exercises. Dr. Howard Tay describes the different types of incontinence a man may have after prostate cancer in this video. This is a treatable condition, but can be very uncomfortable. Develop a plan to address this problem with your doctor.

For a testimonial from a cancer patient who had incontinence read “To Pee or Not To Pee? That is the Question” by Dan Hennessey.

Video Transcripts

Howard P. Tay, MD: Here are the two types of urinary incontinence that men may experience after prostate cancer treatment.

So, the most common form of incontinence after any type of prostate cancer therapy especially after surgery potentially would be stress incontinence or the leakage of urine when someone is doing some sort of heavy activity or exertion. In most cases, the best description that I get from some of my patients, they will leak a little bit of urine when they are coughing or sneezing or during hitting a golf ball as they are coming through on their swing.

In most cases that is a form of incontinence that in itself will resolve over anywhere from a month to six months and sometimes even up to a year and it does require a patient to also actively help to resolve that situation by performing Kegel or pelvic floor exercises to strengthen a sphincter around their urethra and that is something that they need to do on a diligent basis in order to really basically recuperate some of that bladder control. The other form of incontinence that the people can experience is something called urge incontinence. An urge incontinence basically is defined when urine is leaking through when a person feels the sensation that they have to urinate, but they cannot hold that urine back that tends to be a little bit less common.

In most cases as far as it is associated with surgical removal of the prostate, but it can be definitely present when someone has some form of radiation therapy and also with cryotherapy and in those instances what’s happening there is the prostate itself after any of these type therapy, its shrinking and decreasing in size and so with the change in the shape of the prostate, it sort of poles or tug on the bladder itself and causing some localized irritation and sometimes also that can occur with radiation itself can directly irritate those area as well. In those instances, those patients are usually managed with medications. Medications that basically tend to decrease the sense of urge.

There are basically two classes of these medications. One class is called anticholinergics which basically will tend to potentially cause some dry mouth when people take these type medications in constipation and then now more recently there is a class called Beta3 therapies and what that type of medication does, it works in a different mechanism, but they also help to decrease the sense of urgency, help patients able to hold their urine more and therefore reduces the chance of the urge incontinence. Usually, the treatment primarily is dealing with medication.

Dr. Howard Tay
Dr. Howard Tay is a urologist affiliated with multiple hospitals in the Phoenix, AZ area, including Arrowhead Hospital and Banner Thunderbird Medical Center. He received his medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and has been in practice for 24 years.

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