Incontinence and Prostate Surgery
Many men with prostate cancer undergo a procedure called a ‘prostatectomy', which removes a portion or even the entire prostate gland from the body.
Although prostate surgery comes with some risk factors, for the most part, it yields a high success rate in the United States, and men in relatively good health can return to their everyday lives after they recover.
There are some uncomfortable side effects to prostate surgery, however—one of them being urinary incontinence. This post highlights the commonalities of this medical condition, how you can manage it during recovery, and some suggestions for reliable products that will help support your body as you heal.
Disclaimer:The intention of this post is to offer tips and recommendations for those experiencing incontinence symptoms post-prostate surgery. If you're in the process of recovering from prostate surgery, it's highly advisable to seek guidance from your doctor or medical professional to tailor a plan suited to you.
Urinary Incontinence after Prostate Surgery
While you may not be entirely prepared to develop urinary incontinence after your prostate surgery, unfortunately, it does happen to approximately 6% to 8% of men.
Urinary incontinence refers to the loss of the ability to regulate urine flow, which can be an uncomfortable and inconvenient side effect of the surgery. If you're experiencing incontinence after your prostate cancer surgery, know there are many products to support your recovery, as well as other noninvasive treatment options you can utilize as your body heals.
Why Does Urinary Incontinence after Prostate Surgery Occur?
While undergoing prostate cancer surgery, one of the valves, also known as a sphincter muscle that controls the urine flow in the bladder, is removed with the prostate. Because of this, people who undergo the surgery only have one working valve left to support urine flow, and urine leakage may occur as your body readjusts after the surgery.
Common Issues Experienced with Incontinence
Every surgery has its own set of risk factors, and urine leakage just happens to be one for prostate surgery.
You may experience different kinds of incontinence, including stress incontinence, where you may leak urine if you put too much stress on your bladder. There's also urge incontinence, where you suddenly feel an urge to go pee and you can't make it to a toilet in time. Lastly, there's overflow incontinence, where the bladder is full, but you can only urinate a very small amount, or find it difficult to release any urine.
Some men experience one type, most commonly stress incontinence, as their bodies heal from the removal of the prostate. All these types of incontinence can often result in leaks, whether you're driving, sleeping, or seated on the couch at home.
Most doctors will warn their patients about incontinence as a possible side effect of prostate surgery and recommend having some incontinence pads or other products on hand after prostate cancer surgery.
Managing Incontinence Post-Surgery
Managing incontinence post-surgery may feel overwhelming, but there are a few steps you can take to ensure you are prepared during recovery.
- Lifestyle changes can be helpful; avoiding coffee and alcohol for example, along with drinking plenty of water and ensuring you are going to the restroom regularly to prevent the bladder from becoming too full.
- Kegel exercises are an effective, easy way to strengthen the bladder and promote bowel function as well. If you are struggling with incontinence or are simply looking to improve your body's ability to manage the issue, adding kegels to your daily routine can improve incontinence symptoms over time.
There are other behavioral therapies that can be implemented to improve incontinence as well, so be sure to consult with your urologist post-surgery to discuss the best options for your recovery.
As you navigate life post-surgery, remember to be patient with your recovery. Incontinence can be a real pain and it's not an ideal side effect to experience, but for most men, it does improve with time. Communicate your symptoms with your doctor but be sure to give yourself time to fully heal.
Products to Support Male Incontinence
At WellBefore, we carry a wide assortment of post-prostatectomy incontinence products that will make your life more comfortable as you heal and recover. Here are a few of our most popular and effective products for subtle protection against urinary leakage.
For gentlemen with more severe incontinence post-prostate surgery, wearing absorbent underwear during the day and overnight is an effective way to avoid skin irritation and wetness from any urinary leakage. Disposable underwear is easy to put on and ensures comfort, absorbency, and odor control in case you leak urine at any point during the day or night.
For day and night usage, Tranquility underwear ensures leakage is contained in the underwear's absorbent core and has convenient tear-away sides for quick removal. This product also offers odor reduction and urine pH neutralization for your own peace of mind.
Adult diapers are designed to look and feel like regular underwear and come in light, moderate, severe, and ultra-heavy absorbency levels so you can go about your day or night without worrying about urinary leakage.
For light to moderate urinary leakage from prostate surgery, incontinence pads are an effective, discrete way to stay dry and avoid embarrassing leaks during the day.
Whether you're dealing with stress or urge incontinence, these products are highly absorbent and odor-masking. You can go about your day as normal without stress while knowing your bedding and other furniture will stay dry should you have any urinary leakage.
Ensure any leaked urine is absorbed by Prevail Daily Male Guards, which are designed with a contoured cup for a perfect fit and to prevent any urine from leaking. With absorbing gel and breathable layers, these bladder control pads will discretely support you in your recovery from prostate surgery.
From adult briefs and pull-ups to underpads and protective underwear, you'll find effective and discreet incontinence products at WellBefore that will provide comfort and security when you need it most.
FAQ: Incontinence after Prostate Surgery
You may have a few more questions about bladder control post-surgery and your treatment options, we've outlined the most common ones and answered them below:
What Are the Types of Urinary Incontinence?
There are two common types of incontinence after prostate cancer surgery: stress incontinence and urge incontinence.
Stress incontinence occurs if you leak urine when lifting something heavy or coughing. Urge incontinence occurs when you have a sudden urge to empty your bladder and experience urine leakage before you can get to a bathroom.
Overflow incontinence is another type of incontinence but does not occur as frequently post-prostatectomy the way stress and urge incontinence do.
How Long Does Urinary Incontinence Last?
Highly reputable medical organizations and centers agree that urinary incontinence is an unfortunate but oftentimes temporary occurrence from prostate surgery. In time, most men experience improved bladder control and can return to living and enjoying their lives as usual.
Men commonly experience bladder control issues post-surgery, and many rely on incontinence products for any urinary problems for up to 6 months after surgery.
How Can I Treat Urinary Incontinence?
Doctors can provide treatment options for men experiencing moderate incontinence that can be done without surgery. Your doctor may encourage you to see a physical therapist to work on strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which play a role in bladder control.
Pelvic floor exercises, including kegel exercises and other movements to build strength in the bladder, are most effective for those experiencing mild incontinence. If you are living with more severe urinary incontinence, other surgical options may be necessary to treat your incontinence.
What Are Some Surgical Options for More Severe Incontinence?
For men who have to consistently wear adult diapers or other incontinence products daily for up to a year after prostate surgery, two surgical options are available to fix urinary incontinence.
The first is a urethral sling procedure, where a synthetic mesh is placed around the urethral bulb, repositioning it near the sphincter muscles and supporting the bladder. This is an outpatient surgical treatment option ideal for moderate incontinence, where the patient may end up with a very small incision.
The second surgical option is the artificial urinary sphincter, which is performed on men with more severe incontinence after the surgery. When the sphincter muscles are no longer working as they should, an artificial sphincter is a medical device that can be used to keep urine flow from leaking.
This surgical treatment is more invasive and requires general anesthesia. Still, it is highly effective and dramatically improves severe incontinence problems that men have for extended periods after undergoing prostate surgery.
Most doctors will ask about incontinence problems in the follow-up appointments after prostate surgery, so it's important to keep the lines of communication open and ensure you're getting the treatment you need to help your body fully recover.
It may be a simple fix involving physical therapy and pelvic floor strengthening, or you may qualify for one of the surgical options mentioned above.
Managing Incontinence with the Right Products from WellBefore
At WellBefore, we strive to make high-quality incontinence products available to help men recover from prostate surgery with dignity and discretion.
If you're experiencing incontinence problems such as urinary leakage and are looking for quality, durable, and absorbent products that can make your recovery more manageable, you're in the right place. Browse our wide range of post-prostatectomy incontinence products and don't hesitate to reach out to our team for any questions to help find the right supplies for you.