Prostate Cancer

Urinary incontinence

Short-term urinary incontinence is very common after radical prostatectomy. However, for most men, this usually clears up within three to six months of the operation. About two in every 10 men have long-term problems requiring the use of pads.” (NHS Choices 2016). 

“Around 2 out of 100 men (2%) have major problems with incontinence after one year of their surgery." Cancer Research UK July 2016

Newer surgical procedures and treatments such as Robot- assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, and HIFU are reported to cause less erectile dysfunction and incontinence than radical surgery. Occasionally urinary incontinence follows other treatments such as radiotherapy or transurethral resection. Some of the men interviewed who had had a radical prostatectomy described the practical problems that they had encountered after their surgery. Also, men who had been treated with brachytherapy described their urinary symptoms after treatment.

Men who suffer from incontinence have various options, including special pelvic floor exercises, pads, catheters, urinary sheaths, medical therapies and surgical intervention. Surgery includes the ‘male sling’ and the artificial urinary sphincter. The insertion of an artificial urinary sphincter is an established operation with high patient satisfaction. During this operation an inflatable cuff is placed around the urethra and a pump is inserted (usually situated in the scrotum). Once the artificial sphincter is in place, a man can use the pump to empty (deflate) and fill (inflate) the cuff. Squeezing the pump moves fluid from the cuff to the balloon. When the cuff is empty, the urethra opens so that a man can urinate. The cuff will re-inflate on its own. Surgical intervention is usually considered 1-2 years after prostatectomy.

Last reviewed July 2017.
Last updated July 2017.


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