Dealing With Incontinence After Prostate Surgery

Can Incontinence After Prostate Surgery Be Prevented?

Incontinence is one of the common side effects of having prostate surgery, as well as some sexual dysfunction. While the degree of incontinence can typically be lessened, it may not be completely preventable. According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, many improvements in prostate surgery have significantly decreased the length and severity of incontinence. Medical advancements now allow the surgeon to perform the prostatectomy with less damage to the nerves, blood vessels, and other surrounding tissues. This is believed to decrease the incidence and longevity of incontinence that is associated with prostate surgery. However, this same study also indicates that this alone is not the only determining factor and that lifestyle and the type of prostate surgery may play a much larger role.

Lifestyle Impact

It is believed that patients who were relatively healthy prior to prostate surgery will most likely have less significant problems with incontinence. This means eating right, exercising regularly, and maintaining a health weight. Patients in this category were ultimately linked to lower rates of long term incontinence and sexual dysfunction. However, those that were not active prior to prostate surgery can still get this particular benefit from regular activity. Studies suggest that some type of regular physical activity for even a minimum of an hour or so a week can make a serious impact on bladder control issues, regardless of the type of prostate surgery.

Types of Prostate Surgery

The type of prostate surgery the patient has had is also crucial when it comes to incontinence. In a procedure known as a prostatectomy, the prostate is completely removed, as well as some surrounding tissue. This type of prostate surgery seems to have the highest prevalence for urinary incontinence no matter how the surgery is performed. However, this particular procedure may often be required for patients that have cancer of the prostate.


Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent incontinence after prostate surgery, it can be treated. The treatment for this particular condition may vary but the goal is to help the individual regain bladder control. This may be accomplished by exercises designed to tighten the pelvic area, often referred to as Kegel exercises and/or medications. Surgery for incontinence is not typically needed for most of these individuals but can be utilized if it becomes necessary in certain situations. Treatment for incontinence caused by prostate surgery will depend on the patient and his unique needs.


Exercise May Prevent Incontinence From Prostate Surgery. Medline Plus. U.S. National Institute of Health. Journal of Urology. 10, February 2010. Viewed 23, February 2010.

Incontinence-Prostate Cancer Information. University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. UPMC Cancer Institutes. Updated 4, February 2010. Viewed 23, February 2010.