Prostate cancer is the most prevalent male cancer in North America today. Some early signs of the disease tend to focus on the lower urinary tract obstruction such as post-void dribbling, decreased velocity in stream and the sensation of having to empty your bladder all the time. Basically, the prostate gland surrounds the male urethra, a tube between the bladder and the penis. If cancer grows in the prostate it would cause an obstruction that would allow less and less urine to pass, and the bladder would have to work harder to force the urine out.
If the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body, it is most likely that a radical prostatectomy will be performed. In general men will experience some form of urinary incontinence post surgery. Men can experience urine leakage with a cough, a laugh, change in position or for no reason at all. It all depends on the amount of damage to the nerves and blood vessels supplying the bladder and urethra. Most physicians will suggest a period of several weeks for urinary incontinence; however, do not be alarmed if this condition lasts longer. Some physicians have found that men who practice pelvic muscle (kegal) exercises prior to surgery experience a more rapid return to bladder control.
When deciding upon how to deal with post-surgery incontinence, one should research what male pads are available and depending on the level of incontinence, also look at disposable underwear or Pull-Ups. Even the best male pads are only recommended for the laughing/sneezing incontinence, for anything greater than that a Pull-Up should be used.
Tips & Tricks
Lifestyle changes that can help deal with incontinence from prostate.
- Drink plenty of fluids during the day, but ease off fluids after dinner.
- You may want to eliminate bladder irritants such as caffeinated beverages, chocolate and highly spiced or acidic foods.
- If you are overweight, weight loss can help your incontinence problem because, very simply, less weight means less pressure on your bladder.
- If you smoke, it’s a very good idea to quit, not only for general health reasons, but also to help your bladder. Nicotine can cause painful bladder spasms.
- Do not cut back on your fluids during the day to make you urinate less. This can increase your risk for bladder infections as the germs won’t be getting flushed out of your bladder as often. It’s recommended you drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day.