Urinary incontinence, or the loss of the ability to control urination, is common in men that have had surgery or radiation for prostate cancer. You should prepare for this possibility and understand that for a while at least urinary incontinence may complicate your life.
It is also important to know that doctors continue to improve treatment for prostate cancer to lessen the chance of getting incontinence after surgery or radiation.
Problems can include:
• Leaking urine – this can range from just a few drops leaking out to urine leaking out
in a steady slow flow throughout the day
• Leaking or dribbling urine when you sneeze, cough or exercise (stress incontinence)
• Passing urine more often (more than eight times a day)
• Getting up a lot at night to pass urine
• A sudden urge to go to the toilet (urgency)
• Needing to go to the toilet urgently and sometimes leaking before you get there (urge incontinence)
• Problems emptying
Why do prostate cancer treatments cause urinary incontinence?
To understand why urinary incontinence is common after prostate cancer treatment, it is important to know a little bit about how the bladder holds urine.
When urine is emptied into the bladder from the kidneys, it is kept inside the body by a couple of valves that stay closed until you “tell” them to open when you urinate. The prostate gland, which surrounds the tube that allows urine to flow outside the body, also helps to hold back urine until given the OK.
Removing the prostate through surgery or destroying it through radiation — either with an