Incontinence: I have a question about... - Prostate Cancer A...

Prostate Cancer And Gay Men
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I have a question about incontinence. It's only been. A few weeks since surgery but how do you know when your getting better with it? What are the signs it's getting better? I know not everyone is the same amount of time but just wondering what to expect

24 Replies

The only real indicator is when the uncontrolled and unwanted leaks become less frequent. Do they happen under all conditions or only when your motion strains the system? (Like simply standing vs. standing while lifting moderate weight.) Your recovery should progress from the lighter activities to the more stressful. Most do dry up, but some do not get to 100%, incontinence does affect a small percentage of men -- with or without PCa. You might want to take a set of notes for a day about when leaks happen, then compare it to what happens a week from now. (Memory for such details often benefits from a note-taker.)

Also, do your Kegel exercises; and make sure you do them correctly. In our local support group we frequently find men who do them regularly but are not doing them correctly. A simple test is that all of your package visibly jumps up with each tightening. Some guys just naturally do have difficulty making the correct muscles work, and benefit from working with a nurse or PT specialist. (Not all doctors are well versed in this area.) Our local hospital has a Physical Therapist who has been able to do some pretty miraculous turn-arounds for guys who though their situation was hopeless -- don't be afraid to seek help. (I note you are a RedSox fan, so might be from MA. If you have trouble finding a specialist to help, the one I mention is in Pittsfield.)

The short answer to your question is when you need fewer pads each day. At two weeks post-op, I was going through 8-9 male pads per day. As the weeks progressed, I steadily dropped to one or two.

I'm now about 4-1/2 month post-op and have changed from bulky male pads to thinner female pads (more like guards) and need only one for the whole day, and nothing at night.

Doing Kegels is important. The surgery removes some of what was previously there to control continence. Our pelvic floor muscles need to be toned up to provide greater support to the sphincter that now has the whole job. As with any other muscle, it's exercise that works to strengthen the pelvic floor. Talk to your doctor about how to do these correctly...doing ab exercises, for instance, may be good for your belly but doesn't target the one you need for this. There are therapists that can help with this but at this point...if your need for pads is decreasing each week, you're making progress.


They have biofeedback devices available at some institutions, and electrical stimulation of the pelvic floor can accelerate development of the new muscles you will need for continence.

Early Recovery of Urinary Continence After Radical Prostatectomy Using Early Pelvic Floor Electrical Stimulation and Biofeedback Associated Treatment

I found that doing Kegels exercises regularly was very helpful...I'm 4 years post op and rarely have a issue, except when I ..sometimes..sneeze, cough or laugh alot...I was off the pad in about 6 months...Don't give up. Do your exercises'll get over the hump.

also be also aware that improvement can happen over a what seems like a very long period of time (if you are incontinent!)--a year or even in some cases a year and a half--kegels, keeping notes, all the things mentioned above are helpful--but patience is also helpful!

It's been 5.5 years since my surgery and I was off pads after about 2 months! But....the leaking every now and then is still prevalent. It's the one thing that really gets to me. I love sleeping nude but now I can't! I'm just afraid of what may happen. There are some weeks when I don't leak at all and some weeks I tend to leak alot. Hang in there and good luck!

I'm in my 4th week post surgery and just switched from the heavy pads to the light pads. Iv'e never had to use more then 2 pads a day. Everyone is different. Don't get discouraged.

Thanks. I can lay or sit no problem but when I stand from sitting it happens. Guess it's movements. Thanks again

tvankirk in reply to Redsox66

Thats when I have issues. It's getting better. I just wish that I could get hard again.

Definitely do the Kegel exercises daily as others have recommended. I kept a log of how may pads I used a day, what time I changed to a fresh one and if I was doing anything that would aggravate the situation (such as going on a walk or traveling.) That let me track my progress over time. I had surgery July 13, 2015, and went from 6-8 pads after surgery to 1-2 in about six weeks or so. I stopped using them by October. I still will have a tiny squirt sometimes when I'm exercising or when sexually aroused. I was so focused erectile dysfunction before the surgery that I gave little thought to the incontinence, which I found to be a nightmare as I travel for work. But it did get better over time and eventually disappeared. However, as the other commenters have noted, everyone's different. Good luck!

Absolutely, Kegel exercises were the key for me! Don't under estimate the power of these exercises. You can do them at any time... while driving, watching TV, walking, whenever. It took me a little over 4 months to lose the pads, which seemed like an eternity for me. It was only when I got really serious with Kegels that I made great progress. One last, but very important fact. Once you get to a certain point when you're leakage has greatly decreased, don't be afraid to ditch the pad and test the waters, so to speak. I've read that we can become psychological dependent on them, and I believe that's what happened to me. Once I tossed the pad it seemed I was more aware of when I needed to concentrate on clamping down to avoid leakage. I'm convinced this tactic is what pushed me over the edge to success! It may be too soon for you, but keep working toward that end... Good Luck!

tvankirk in reply to billd9946

I agree about ditching the pad at some point. I became very dependent on having the pad. The only way to know where you are at with your recovery is to stop using the pad.

Hello - I'm 51 years old and new to the group. My robotic prostatectomy was 8/8/16 and I'm suffering from major incontinence and feeling hopeless and depressed. I've had several accidents in public and feel humiliated. I don't know how much longer I can do this.

Redsox66 in reply to Victor65

I had mine on 8/30/16. Are you doing the Keagels exercise? Are you in heavy pads still? Don't give up

Victor65 in reply to Redsox66

I have been doing kegel and heavy pads. Where did you have surgery? How's your recovery?

Redsox66 in reply to Victor65

My recovery is going well. Out of work for 3 more weeks. Still have inconstant but about 2 pads a day now.

Victor65 in reply to Redsox66

You're lucky! I'm going nuts!!

Redsox66 in reply to Victor65

It will get better. You know you can see your dr if your not getting better. There are options now to help you.

Victor65 in reply to Redsox66

I had an appointment Friday in Ny, I live in Florida and we have a major hurricane headed this way.

Redsox66 in reply to Victor65

I live in RI. Had my surgery here in RI

billd9946 in reply to Victor65

Keagles are SO important! It wasn't until I really got serious with them that I started getting better. Do them while watching TV, in the car, having a bite to eat... you get the picture. My surgery was done in mid July 2015, and I gained control in late Novemer 2015, after much frustration. Don't give up... I think we all agree it sucks! Keagles really do help!!


Don't be discouraged. I am 55 had surgery in March and it gets better. I am now pad free. You will learn what events cause you to leak and control them.

It's been 4 weeks and down to 1 pad a day though still using heavy pads.

Fortunately everyone is different. Vicktor-I know how you feel, I ran out of pads and had to go to Walmart and buy more, and was soaked before I left the store-but after that, until I had better control, I always wore LONG t shirts and shirts just in case. Its been over two years now and even though the Kegel exercises have helped they didn't solve It totally. Sneezing, coughing, or pressure can trigger a leak and Because I hated to wear diapers and pads, and spend all that money on them, what I found workable for myself was I wear two pair of underwear which catches all the dribbles and doesn't leak to the front of the pants. And if you know ya leak, you can always visit people you dont like and sit in their favorite chair. okay, maybe not LOL

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