Urinary incontinence is to loss the control of urination and it can be a problem after prostate cancer treatment, especially radiotherapy and surgery. You should know that you may have urinary incontinence problem for a while, before and after the prostate cancer treatment.
Urinary incontinence types
Urinary problems may be different for person to person. Urine may dribble in some patients and sometimes it may be leaked totally. Stress urine incontinence is the most common type that occurs by coughing, sneezing or laughing after prostate cancer surgery.
Urine leakage is common after radiotherapy with frequent urination need.
Urine is a waste substance that is produced by kidneys. Urine is emptied to the bladder from the kidneys and stored in the bladder until you feel pressure and need to urinate. Bladder muscles contract and let the urine out of the body through the urethra. At the same time urethra muscles relax and lets the urine to flow out. Normal function of this process depends on the healthy nerves which surround the muscles.
Prostate enlargement and urination
Prostate gland is placed around the urethra. It does not cause any problem in normal size but enlarged prostate gland makes pressure and narrows the urethra and makes urination difficult. This is the reason of urination problems like prolonged urination time or weak urine steam. At the same time bladder can’t be emptied completely and infections like cyctitis may occur.
Urinary incontinence after prostate cancer treatment
Surgery and radiation therapy disrupts the system that bladder holds the urine by these ways;
Surgery and radiation therapy causes nerve damage and so muscles contraction and relaxation process will be damaged too
Radiation reduce the bladder capacity and causes frequent urination need and also causes bladder spasms and forces the urine to flow out of the bladder.
Because of these side effects of prostate cancer treatment, urinary incontinence occurs.
Treatment of urinary incontinence
Most of the patients regain urinary retention ability in a few weeks or months. Muscle exercises may help to strengthen the surrounding muscles around the urethra. You may consult your doctor about the kegel exercises. There are some extra treatment methods for urinary incontinence for advanced cases like;
- Neuromuscular electric stimulation (electrical current is used to stimulate and stregthen the muscles)
- Artifical urinary sphincter ( a pump-device to control urine flow)
- Internal male sling ( a tool keeps your urethra closed and prevents urine leaking)
- Adjustable balloons (2 small fluid filled baloons are placed around the urethra like an artifical prostate gland, balloons make pressure on the urethra and prevents urine leaking)
- Home treatment ( you can take care to your life style to prevent or reduce urine leaking like avoiding alcohol, avoiding drinking liquids in the evening, preparing yourself a schedule for urination for every 3-4 hours, quitting smoking, avoiding caffeine, using absorbent pants or pads.