6 Ways to Manage Incontinence After Prostate Surgery

prostate surgery jog and incontinence

If you’ve undergone surgery for prostate cancer or other prostate issues, you probably know that urinary incontinence is a common side effect. Managing incontinence can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to change your quality of life.

This article will help you find treatment options to regain your urinary continence. Read on for six tips for managing incontinence after your surgery.

What Is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence, or the accidental loss of urine, is common in men. About 1 in 4 men experience urinary incontinence, and about 1 to 8.4 percent of men experience urinary dysfunction after prostate surgery.

Prostate Surgeries That Cause Incontinence

After undergoing surgical treatment, you may experience urinary control, voiding, and leakage issues. This is referred to as incontinence after prostate treatment (IPT). The types of prostate surgeries that cause IPT are:

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After undergoing surgical treatment, you may experience urinary control, voiding, and leakage issues. This is referred to as incontinence after prostate treatment (IPT). The types of prostate surgeries that cause IPT are:

  • Radical prostatectomy (open prostatectomy). This is a type of prostate cancer surgery used to treat prostate cancer. The surgeon will create an incision to remove the prostate and its tissues.
  • Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. This type of surgery is also used as a prostate cancer treatment. Your surgeon creates a small incision during the surgery and uses longer tools to remove the prostate. People who have laparoscopic radical prostatectomies may have less pain and recovery time.

man talking to his doctor about prostate surgery and incontinenceman talking to his doctor about prostate surgery and incontinence

  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. It may help eradicate prostate cancer.
  • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). TURP can be used to treat urinary problems related to an enlarged prostate. During a TURP, the surgeon will use an instrument to see inside your urethra and remove excess prostate tissue.
  • Pelvic lymphadenectomy. A pelvic lymphadenectomy is performed to examine lymph node tissue for cancer. During this procedure, your surgeon makes an incision in your pelvis and removes tissues.

Most people recover from prostate surgery after about four to six weeks.

Why Do You Experience Incontinence After Prostate Surgery?

When urine is emptied into the bladder, it’s kept there until you void. When you pee, urine leaves the body through the urethra, forcing your bladder muscles to contract (detrusor muscles). The muscles of your internal urethral sphincter relax as the bladder muscles contract and allow the urine to flow. Your prostate gland surrounds your urethra, so it’s more challenging for your body to hold the urine when you have prostate surgery.

Post-Prostatectomy Incontinence

There are several types of incontinence you can experience after surgery, and each comes with its own set of symptoms. In addition, you may also experience bladder control issues. The types may range from severe incontinence to less severe, and most are short-term. Speak with your healthcare provider or urologist to determine which type of incontinence you’re experiencing.

  • Urge incontinence. Also known as overactive bladder (OAB), people with urge incontinence will feel a strong impulse to urinate that occurs suddenly, sometimes resulting in urine dribble. Conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), and others can contribute to this type of incontinence.
Man talking with doctor about incontinence after surgeryMan talking with doctor about incontinence after surgery
  • Overflow incontinence. People with overflow incontinence may not experience an urge to go but still experience leaks caused by a weak bladder muscle or blockage when the bladder becomes too full.
  • Stress Incontinence. If you sometimes experience urine leaks when sneezing, laughing, lifting heavy objects, or exercising, you may have stress urinary incontinence.

  • Functional Incontinence. People with functional incontinence typically have a normal bladder and urethra function. Still, they cannot reach the toilet in time to avoid leaking urine due to a mobility issue or physical or mental impairment.
  • Mixed Incontinence. Mixed incontinence occurs in people who have more than one type of incontinence.

6 Ways to Manage Incontinence Post-Surgery

There are many different ways to manage your incontinence after you undergo prostate surgery. Here are six we recommend.

Happy man learning about incontinence managementHappy man learning about incontinence management

1. Use incontinence products.

While you’re managing your incontinence, you can try incontinence care products, such as adult washcloths, adult briefs, or absorbent underpads. To see if you qualify to receive these products through your insurance, fill out our eligibility form.

2. Do pelvic floor exercises.

Engaging your pelvic floor muscles could help strengthen them and improve bladder and incontinence control. Kegel exercises can also speed up your recovery time. Try pelvic floor exercises before and after prostate surgery. You can do them at home or with a therapist.

3. Try anticholinergic medications.

Certain anticholinergic medications can help with incontinence by blocking nerve receptors in your bladder. Talk with your healthcare provider about which may work for you. These include:

  • Enablex
  • Vesicare
  • Ditropan XL.
  • Detrol LA.
  • An Oxytrol patch.
  • Oxybutynin 3% gel.
  • Imipramine
How to manage incontinence after prostate surgeryHow to manage incontinence after prostate surgery

4. Try biofeedback.

Weekly biofeedback sessions may be able to help you with incontinence. During a session, a healthcare professional will insert a sensor into your rectum to send information to the biofeedback computer. Then, you will learn to contract your pelvic muscles based on the computer’s output.

5. Use neuromuscular electrical stimulation.

Neuromuscular electrical stimulation may help with regaining control of your bladder muscles. A probe is inserted into your anus during the treatment, and a current is passed through it to stimulate and contract your bladder muscles.

6. Inquire about additional surgeries.

Follow up with your provider about other surgeries that may help with IPT. Some options are:

  • Male sling: One option for managing IPT is a sling procedure. This is a minimally invasive treatment wherein a mesh-like tape is placed around the urethral bulb. This helps to move the urethra into a different position and helps with incontinence.
  • Artificial sphincter: Another option is an artificial urinary sphincter (AUS). The AUS can help you if you have a weak sphincter muscle. First, an inflatable cuff is placed around your upper urethra and closes it to prevent leakage. Next, a pump is placed in the scrotum that helps open and close the cuff. A small pressure-regulating balloon is also placed under the abdomen that holds urine back.

How Aeroflow Urology Can Help

Managing incontinence can be challenging at times, especially if you're recovering from surgery. In order to let yourself rest and not have to make frequent trips to the store for incontinence supplies, let Aeroflow Urology help by supplying you with incontinence supplies through your insurance.

How It Works

Aeroflow Urology works with Medicaid (and some private insurance) plans. Once you fill out our eligibility form, our Continence Care Specialists will handle the rest. We help you choose which products are right for you, send you text messages or email reminders about refills, and ship your incontinence care supplies directly to your door (in discreet packaging) every month. 




Information provided on the Aeroflow Urology website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or care from a healthcare professional. Aeroflow recommends consulting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medical issues relating to incontinence.