There are side effects associated with nearly all prostate cancer treatments. One that is often discussed is urinary incontinence. Because prostate cancer treatments can impact urination differently, it’s important to understand the treatment options available and their potential effects of being able to hold urine.
It is helpful to know the different levels of incontinence and their severity. For some people, the less severe incontinence may be easier to manage. The types of incontinence include:
Stress Incontinence: Stress incontinence is the most common form of incontinence following prostate cancer surgery. It is classified as loss of urine when you sneeze, cough, or laugh.
Urge Incontinence: Urge incontinence is usually associated more with prostate cancer radiation treatments. This form of incontinence is when you urinate frequently and have leakage.
Take notice of when incontinence occurs for you, let your doctor know so that you can get advice on how to manage this side effect.
It’s important to know how different prostate cancer treatments can impact urination. You may be a better candidate for certain treatments, so it’s helpful to know how your treatment can impact your life. Surgical vs nonsurgical treatments can have the biggest difference in impacts on urination. Let’s take a closer look to understand how this works.
Surgical treatment, such as radical prostatectomy, cuts and removes the entirety of the prostate tissue and, in turn, may remove the muscles that control urination. Urethra damage and muscular changes can lead to urinary issues like flow and leakage.
If prostate cancer treatment is done through a nonsurgical option, like ProstRcision, incontinence is more likely to be decreased, if it’s even an issue at all. Muscles that control urinary function remain in the body, making it easier to recover from treatment and decreasing urinary side effects.
You may notice a weaker urine flow due to temporary prostate swelling. However, this is often treated with alpha-blockers that will relax prostate muscles, resulting in easier urination for most men. Men who have a weak stream after ProstRcision typically find their symptoms gradually resolve over 6-12 months as the prostate returns to its usual size.
Speak with your doctor to best identify which prostate cancer treatment option is right for you and what you should do about the potential of urination issues after you complete your treatment.
If you do experience incontinence after ProstRcision or any other prostate cancer treatment, there are some options for relieving this symptom. Treatments may include:
Pelvic floor exercises: Strengthening your pelvic floor may help you regain some control of your ability to hold your urine. Your doctor may suggest these simple exercises initially before moving on to more aggressive options.
Behavior Modification: Your doctor may also suggest some behavior changes that could help regain some control over your body. For example, your doctor may suggest limiting the number of drinks you have, avoiding caffeine or alcohol, and trying to stick to a regular urination schedule without waiting until the last moment to empty your bladder.
Lifestyle Changes: Losing weight may also help regain bladder control in some patients.
Medications: In the event that lifestyle or behavior changes don’t work, then your doctor may move forward with prescription medications. These medications can increase bladder capacity and reduce urination frequency.
If you are concerned about prostate cancer treatment side effects or would like to find out more about the treatment options, please get in touch with us today. We are happy to discuss the side effects and which treatment options may be the best for your situation. One of our knowledgeable (and discrete) patient navigators can answer any sensitive questions and help equip you with the necessary information to make the most informed decisions regarding your plan for prostate cancer treatment.