By: Chioma Umeha
One of the side effects of prostate cancer treatment that especially concerns men is urinary incontinence. As treatments for prostate cancer improve, urinary incontinence will become less common.
However, today men should be aware that there are effective ways to alleviate urinary incontinence. Surgery or radiation therapy may irritate the urethra or bladder or damage the urinary sphincter (muscles that contract to prevent urine from flowing out of the bladder). As a result, some degree of urinary incontinence (inability to control bladder function) is common immediately after prostate cancer treatment. For example, urge incontinence (the strong and sudden need to urinate, followed by a bladder contraction and involuntary loss of urine) is common for a few days after catheter removal in men who have undergone transurethral prostatectomy (TURP) for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
In the initial period after radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer, men typically experience stress incontinence, in which urine leakage occurs during moments of physical strain (such as sneezing, coughing or lifting heavy objects). Recovering bladder control can be a slow process and may take up to six months. Fortunately, severe urinary incontinence occurs in fewer than one percent of men after surgery for BPH and in fewer than three percent of men following radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy for prostate cancer. What to do about urinary incontinence Several approaches can be taken to reduce urinary incontinence. In addition to lifestyle measures – such as losing weight, limiting alcohol and limiting caffeine – men with incontinence can consider:
• Kegel exercises
• collagen injections
• implantation of an artificial sphincter
• absorbent products
• penile clamps
• external collection devices,
This story was published in Daily Newswatch on June 1, 2013.