Let’s talk about prostate cancer incontinence, a condition where a man experience a loss of bladder control. It’s definitely not a topic that gets brought up at dinner parties, but, it’s an important issue to understand as it affects many men.
Dealing with incontinence can be frustrating and even downright embarrassing at times, so it’s essential to know how to manage it effectively for a better quality of life.
In this blog, we’ll dive into the causes and symptoms of prostate cancer incontinence and practical ways to manage it. So, let’s get you, or a loved one, started on the path to living life on your terms!
Table of Content:
Causes and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer Incontinence
- Why Does Urinary Incontinence Take Place After Prostatectomy?
- Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer Incontinence
- Pelvic Floor Exercises
- Artificial Urinary Sphincter
- Male Perineal Sling
- Final Words
Causes and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer Incontinence
Prostate cancer incontinence occurs when a person experiences urinary incontinence as a result of treatment for prostate cancer. It can be a distressing and embarrassing side effect that impacts a person’s quality of life.
Symptoms of prostate cancer incontinence may include:
- Leaking urine during normal activities, such as walking or exercising.
- Difficulty controlling the urge to urinate.
- Experiencing frequent or urgent urination.
- Some individuals may also experience pain or discomfort or spot blood in their urine during urination.
But why does this happen? Well, there are several potential causes of prostate cancer incontinence include:
- damage to the muscles and nerves that control the bladder and sphincter during treatment, such as surgery or radiation therapy
- overall health, and
- pre-existing conditions such as obesity or diabetes.
Why Does Urinary Incontinence Take Place After Prostatectomy?
Hold on to your seats, folks, because we’re about to delve into why urinary incontinence can happen after prostate removal surgery. So, get ready to learn!
The prostate is a small but essential organ located below the bladder, surrounding the urethra. When cancer strikes, removing the prostate through surgery is one way to treat it. However, this procedure can cause damage to the nerves, muscles, and sphincter responsible for controlling the urine flow. And when those elements are disrupted, urinary incontinence can occur.
Think about it – it’s like the intricate plumbing system in your house. When one part isn’t working correctly, it affects the whole system. The same goes for the urinary tract. The surgery can disrupt the delicate balance of muscles and nerves responsible for keeping everything running smoothly. As a result, you may experience leaks, dribbling, or even full-blown incontinence.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though! There are ways to manage and even overcome post-surgery incontinence. So, don’t fret – keep reading to learn more!
Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer Incontinence
There are several treatment options available for prostate cancer incontinence. These include medications, lifestyle changes, and special exercises that strengthen the sphincter muscle over time.
You must speak with your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing urinary incontinence post prostatectomy. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, treatment options may include pelvic floor exercises, medications, or surgical interventions.
With proper management and care, many men can find relief from the symptoms of urinary incontinence post prostatectomy and improve their quality of life.
Here are some standard treatment options for incontinence after prostatectomy:
These medicines hinder the action of acetylcholine, a chemical that regulates muscle spasms in the bladder. By blocking this chemical, the drug can help reduce the urge to urinate and prevent leaks.
If you’re struggling with post-surgery incontinence, speak with your healthcare provider to see if anticholinergics is a viable treatment option.
Pelvic Floor Exercises:
Pelvic floor exercises are a vital part of any treatment plan for prostate cancer incontinence. These exercises help strengthen the sphincter muscle, which helps control urine flow and prevents involuntary leakage. You can do these exercises in the comfort of your own home or enlist the help of a physical therapist.
Incontinence after prostate surgery does not have to be a lifelong condition. With proper care, medication, lifestyle changes, and pelvic floor exercises, men can manage their symptoms and enjoy normal lives post-surgery.
Artificial Urinary Sphincter:
One reliable and effective surgical teatment for incontinence after prostatectomy is a silicone implant called the artificial urinary sphincter (AUS). The implant has three parts:
- A cuff that encircles the urethra,
- A small fluid reservoir,
- A pump is placed under the skin in the scrotum.
The cuff squeezes the urethra shut to prevent urine leakage, and the pump is used to open the cuff to urinate. As a result, this surgical option has a short recovery time, and the device can be used for all degrees of incontinence.
As with most surgical procedures, there are risks associated with the implant, including bleeding, infection, device malfunction, urethral erosion, and atrophy. The device will be activated 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Male Perineal Sling:
For men experiencing incontinence after prostate surgery, a male perineal sling procedure may be an effective option. This procedure involves placing a mesh strip under the urethra to provide support and reduce leakage.
While recovery time is relatively short, with patients are still asked to limit activity for 4-6 weeks to allow the sling to scar into place.
The potential side effects to consider include; bleeding, skin or mesh infection, pain, and erosion into the urethra, among others. However, for men with minimal to moderate incontinence, this procedure may be an optimal option to consider improving quality of life and reducing the need for pads.
Prostate cancer incontinence can be a complex condition to manage, but with the right treatment plan and support, living an active lifestyle and enjoying life post-prostate surgery is possible.
If you struggle with incontinence after a prostatectomy, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Your doctor or physical therapist can provide advice and guidance to help you manage your condition.
Remember, hope and support are always available – stay positive and live life to the fullest!