Immediately after radical prostatectomy (surgery to remove the prostate gland), as many as 75 percent of men experience a short period of mild incontinence, particularly after removal of the catheter that was placed during surgery. This is to be expected and, in the overwhelming majority of men, is a temporary situation. Most men regain urinary control without any treatment. The most significant improvement occurs in the first three months after surgery and continues for up to one year. Usually within six months of their surgery, the majority of men will be continent and not bothered by urinary leakage. For the small percentage of men who continue to have mild or moderate urinary leakage, improvement may be seen even a year after surgery.
Types of Urinary Incontinence
The two types of incontinence following prostate surgery are:
- Stress incontinence – Stress incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine that can occur during physical activity, like lifting a heavy object, or when you laugh or sneeze, putting increased "stress" or pressure on the bladder. Stress incontinence accounts for the majority of incontinence problems.
- Urge incontinence – Urge incontinence is the sudden need to urinate due to bladder spasms or contractions.
Treatment for Urinary Incontinence
Aggressive treatment for incontinence is generally not considered until one year after the original prostate surgery. However, those patients who continue to have severe incontinence (requiring multiple pads per day or adult diapers) six months after prostate surgery are less likely to regain satisfactory control with time and Kegel exercises alone. In this group of men, surgical treatment may be considered sooner than one year after surgery.
Fortunately, there are a number of highly effective, minimally invasive options for treating post-prostatectomy incontinence. Our state-of-the-art, self-contained Continence Center overseen by Dr. Neil Grafstein, Director of Reconstructive Urology, Female Urology and Voiding Dysfunction, provides the convenience of on-site diagnostic procedures and treatments. All patients who come to the Continence Center are given a thorough evaluation, including detailed medical history so the appropriate treatment can be recommended. The professionals on the Continence Center team understand the highly sensitive nature of incontinence and are committed to your physical and emotional comfort.See Treatment for Post-Prostatectomy Urinary Incontinence.
We Can Help
If you are experiencing ongoing incontinence beyond six months following prostate surgery and wish to arrange a consultation with Dr. Grafstein and his team, please call 212-241-4812.
Department of Urology
5 East 98th Street, 6th Floor
New York, New York 10029
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New York, New York 10019