Male Urinary Incontinence

“More than 5 years ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had a radical prostatectomy. Fortunately it was early and I was cured. However prostate surgery carries with it significant risks including the possibility of urinary incontinence post surgery. It was a worrying time not only dealing with a diagnosis of cancer but also the possible complications of the treatment”.

As a physiotherapist I knew what exercises to do before and after the surgery and fortunately I did not have any prolonged issues with incontinence. The upside is that the experience has left me in a much better position to help other men who are having prostate surgery or dealing with urinary incontinence.

Pelvic Floor ExercisesWhat is Urinary Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is defined as any involuntary leakage of urine.

Causes

The most common causes of male incontinence are enlargement of the prostate and complications following prostate surgery.

Other risk factors include: Urinary tract infections, chronic coughing, pelvic floor muscle weakness, stroke, dementia, being overweight and unfit, bladder outlet obstruction and over active bladder.

Types of Incontinence

There are two main types of incontinence: Stress incontinence and urge incontinence.

Incontinence during physical exertion is known as stress incontinence and is the most common reason for urinary incontinence. Leakage of urine may occur while coughing, sneezing, running, jumping or playing sport. Other types of incontinence are urge incontinence where there is a sudden urge to pass urine. The bladder contracts when it shouldn’t and there is a sudden and overwhelming need to urinate. Mixed incontinence is a combination of both types.

Tips To Help Yourself

  • Minimize coffee, tea and carbonated drinks
  • Stay within a healthy weight range
  • Avoid straining with constipation
  • Seek help for chronic coughs
  • Maintain an adequate fluid intake
  • Avoid urinating more frequently than you have to

You Should Seek Help If:

  • You are going to have prostate surgery. Ideally come in 6 weeks before the surgery
  • Post prostate surgery you have any incontinence problems
  • You get up more than once a night to go to the toilet
  • You pass small amounts of urine
  • You pass urine frequently (more than 4-6 times a day)
  • You sometimes leak urine when coughing, straining, laughing, playing sport or at other times
  • You restrict your fluid intake
  • You experience sudden urges to find a toilet

Physiotherapy Helps By:

  • Assessing your pelvic floor muscles to see if they are functioning correctly.
  • Teaching you how to exercise your pelvic floor muscles correctly.
  • Retraining your bladder.
  • Teaching you how to maintain control while physically exerting yourself eg. sport, laughing, coughing, lifting.

Rehabilitative Ultrasound Imaging

This is a new technique available and is used at our practice. The correct function of the pelvic floor muscles can be assessed and retrained using a diagnostic ultrasound machine.