Post-Prostatectomy Incontinence May Not Happen To You . . . But If It Does, It Can Be Treated.
Now that your cancer has been treated, you may have been left with the frustration of leaking urine. Erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence can be equally as debilitating to your quality of life and we want to help! Urinary incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine (Abrams et al, 2003). Rates of post-proctectomy incontinence range from 6-69% pending various definitions of incontinence (Seth et al, 2018).
What Are The Pelvic Floor Muscles?
The pelvic floor muscles attach to the bottom of the pelvis to create a “floor” for our internal organs. They support these organs and help stop the flow of urine and the passage of gas. They also assist in normal sexual function. Following prostate surgery, these muscles are often weak, making it difficult to control urine leakage.
TYPES OF URINARY INCONTINENCE
There are 3 common types of urinary incontinence:
Stress Incontinence – Urine loss while coughing, sneezing, lifting, laughing or physical activities.
Urge Incontinence – Strong or sudden urge to urinate with the inability to make it to the bathroom on time.
Mixed Incontinence – A combination of urge and stress incontinence.
Those who went to physical therapy for pelvic floor muscle training achieved continence at a faster rate compared to those who did not go to PT.
How Can Therapy Help?
Therapy can help teach you how to locate and strengthen your muscles so they can function normally. Active participation in therapy can lead to improved muscle function, strength, and flexibility. One study found that 19% of patients achieved continence after 1 month of physical therapy and 94.6% after 6 months (Marzi et al, 2005). Another study found 57% reduction of urinary leakage reduction at 2 months and a 75.6% improvement in urinary leakage 3 months post proctectomy with physical therapy intervention (Sathianathen, 2017). Early intervention is shown to “significantly reduce continence recovery time” (Marzi et al, 2005).
What Should I Expect When I Go To Therapy?
Expect help! Once you have scheduled your first appointment with us, we will need to gather important information to ensure we provide you with the best possible care. A patient information packet will need to be completed and provided to our staff when you arrive for your first appointment. The patient information packet will include a description of what to expect, as well as a patient history questionnaire. Your patient information packet can be mailed to your home or downloaded here.
After a thorough evaluation has been performed, you and your therapist will develop a treatment program. This program will include:
Pelvic floor muscle evaluation and treatment
Education on bladder function and its relationship to the pelvic floor muscles
Tools to normalize muscle function
Home exercise program
You will be asked to complete a bladder diary for at least 3-5 days prior to your first appointment. This requires documenting amounts and type of food and fluid intake as well as voiding patterns. You may be surprised to notice patterns you didn’t realize you had. This is also very important information for your therapist. We kindly request that you have the bladder diary completed before your first visit.
While each person has unique and different needs, you can expect to visit our clinic an average of 6 times pending on the severity of the incontinence and other health factors. In addition to clinic visits, you will receive exercises and instructions that you can do in the privacy of your home. For more information visit Frequently Asked Questions.