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Prostate Cancer: Urinary Incontinence

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What Can Be Done to Treat Urinary Incontinence after Prostate Cancer Treatment?

Treatments include:

  • Pelvic floor exercises. Many doctors prefer to start with behavioral techniques that train men to control their ability to hold in their urine. Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles you squeeze when trying to stop urinating mid-stream. These exercises can be combined with biofeedback programs that help you train these muscles even better.
  • Supportive care. This treatment includes behavior modification, such as drinking fewer fluids, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, or spicy foods, and not drinking before bedtime. People are encouraged to urinate regularly and not wait until the last moment possible before doing so. In some people, losing weight may result in improved urinary control. Supportive care also involves changing any medications that interfere with incontinence.
  • Medication. A variety of medications can increase bladder capacity and decrease frequency of urination. In the near future, newer medications will become available to help stop some other forms of urinary leakage.
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation. This treatment is used to retrain and strengthen weak urinary muscles and improve bladder control. With this treatment, a probe is inserted into the anus and a current is passed through the probe at a level below the pain threshold, causing a contraction. The patient is instructed to squeeze the muscles when the current is on. After the contraction, the current is switched off.
  • Surgery, injections, and devices. A number of techniques may improve bladder function.
  • Artificial sphincter. This patient-controlled device is made of three parts: a pump, a pressure-regulating balloon, and a cuff that encircles the urethra and prevents urine from leaking. The use of the artificial sphincter can cure or greatly improve more than 70% to 80% of the patients.
  • Bulbourethral sling. For some types of leakage, a sling can be used. A sling is a device used to suspend and compress the urethra. It is made from synthetic material or from the patient's own tissue and is used to create the urethral compression necessary to achieve bladder control.
  • Other surgery. Your doctor can also do a surgery that has helped some men. It involves placing rubber rings around the tip of the bladder to help hold urine.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on July 16, 2014
Edited by Paul O'Neill, MD on December 01, 2006
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