You’ve already taken the big step and undergone prostate surgery to either eradicate prostate cancer or resolve a prostate issue. While the bigger picture results are well worth the effort, there are some potential complications that can follow a prostatectomy, including urinary incontinence.
At our practice, Dr. Robert Cornell and our team have extensive experience helping our patients navigate prostate issues. If surgery was part of your treatment plan, we’re here to help with any recovery issues, such as urinary leakage.
Here’s a look at some of your options for post-prostatectomy incontinence.
After your prostatectomy, it’s not all that unusual to experience some urinary leakage, which is called stress urinary incontinence. This type of incontinence occurs when there’s extra pressure on your bladder, such as when you cough or sneeze. The reason this type of incontinence can develop is because the procedure may affect the ability of your external urinary sphincter, which is the muscle that surrounds the early part of your urethra, to stay closed.
In most cases, this incontinence remedies itself fairly quickly after we remove your catheter and your body begins to function on its own again when your sphincter muscles regain their strength. If, however, you’re still experiencing leakage problems after many months (usually 9-12), it may be time to research your options — and the good news is that we offer several effective solutions.
If your sphincter doesn’t regain its ability to close your urethra, one option is to turn to an artificial sphincter. At our practice, we use the AMS 800™ Urinary Control System, which has a 90% satisfaction rate. Dr. Cornell places this revolutionary system through small incisions in your scrotum and abdomen during a one-hour procedure. Once it’s in place, there’s no evidence of it from the outside.
The AMS 800 is completely under your control, allowing you to open and close your sphincter at will. To do this, the AMS 800 is filled with a saline fluid that opens and closes the cuff surrounding your urethra, which you operate via a pump in your scrotum. When the cuff is full, you gain control over your bladder. To urinate, you simply use the pump to drain the fluid, and the cuff automatically refills afterward.
Another effective option is the AdVance™ Male Sling System, which requires no action on your part. The sling is a synthetic mesh that supports your urethra, and Dr. Cornell places it during a minimally invasive outpatient procedure.
In addition to these innovative solutions, Dr. Cornell may recommend that you also do your part to counteract any urinary incontinence after your prostatectomy. For example, losing weight or voiding your bladder before strenuous activities can help. As well, you should avoid caffeine, which activates your bladder. A few pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, can go a long way toward restrengthening the supporting tissues surrounding your bladder and urethra, allowing you better control.
If you’re experiencing post-prostatectomy incontinence, please contact our office in Houston, Texas, to learn more about your treatment options.