Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime (only skin cancer has a higher rate). And, while many men will go on to survive prostate cancer, the side effects of treatment can be difficult to deal with for many.
A common treatment for prostate cancer is a radical prostatectomy, or the complete removal of the prostate. This is generally considered a good approach especially if the cancer is contained within the prostate gland and has not spread. However, one side effect of this procedure is often incontinence.
Stress urinary incontinence, the type of incontinence that happens when you place pressure on the bladder, is common for men who have had their prostate removed or are undergoing other treatments for prostate cancer. Treatment can sometimes weaken the bladder muscles, causing leakage when a man sneezes, coughs, exercises, or even during sex. This can be extremely embarrassing for men, and can be discouraging when going through the healing process of having a prostatectomy.
The good news is that many men regain full control of their bladder with time after a prostatectomy. However, in the meantime, here are some tips that may help you avoid some awkward situations in the bedroom:
· Try to watch your fluid intake in the hours leading up to sex.
· Avoid consuming bladder irritating food and drinks, such as caffeine, chocolate, or alcohol.
· Prior to sex, completely empty your bladder.
· Keep a thick towel nearby in case of any accidents
While this problem can be an embarrassing one, keep in mind that many men deal with this in the months after prostate cancer treatment and with time, this condition should improve. If you still experience problems a few months after your treatment, talk to your urologist about treatments for incontinence. He or she can help you navigate the many options available to you and find one that fits best with your needs.