By Amy Tinetti, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist

Prostate cancer surgery and how it can affect bladder control

Urinary leakage is likely to occur after prostate surgery as some of the muscles which help with bladder control can be damaged or removed during prostate surgery. This means that men can experience urinary leakage with coughing, sneezing or physical activity. The good news is most men can regain continence within a few weeks/months but some do take up to a year.

You can reduce the risk of long term incontinence and by knowing how to exercise your pelvic floor and this is something proactive you can do while waiting for surgery.

Why should men do pelvic floor exercises before having prostate cancer surgery?

Exercising your pelvic floors correctly before and after prostate surgery is very important to your recovery of bladder control. It is recommended that you seek help from a pelvic health physiotherapist to learn the correct pelvic floor technique.

What is my pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor is a round layer of muscle at the base of the pelvis. It supports the pelvic organs (bladder and rectum) and controls the openings of the bladder and bowel. The pelvic floor muscles also play a role in gaining and maintaining erections. The muscles that control the bladder are especially important after prostate surgery.

To watch a video on the male pelvic floors click here (Continence Foundation of Australia)

What can I do before surgery?

  • Get an individualised pelvic floor exercise program from a pelvic floor physiotherapist
  • Make sure you do the pelvic floor exercises as prescribed
  • Improve your general exercise (if you have any medical condition’s check with your GP first). This can include cardiovascular/aerobic exercise and strength/resistant training

What will a physiotherapist do?

At Wisdom Physiotherapy, we provide an individual approach to treatment.

Our initial one-hour assessment allows us to take a thorough history to assess all the factors that may contribute to incontinence post-surgery. All assessments are conducted in a private and supportive environment.

The initial pre-surgery session includes:

  • Discussion of the impact of prostate surgery on bladder control
  • Full assessment your pelvic floor muscles with Real-time Ultrasound via your abdomen
  • Prescribe a pelvic floor home exercise program – to complete before surgery
  • Educate on post-op recovery – bladder, bowel, general exercise
  • After the initial session, we will liaise with any other health professionals within your care to achieve your goals and assist in your recovery
  • Once you have the correct pelvic floor exercise technique and are doing the exercises regularly, we will see you after your surgery to review your continence

The session 2 weeks after prostate cancer surgery includes:

  • Check your pelvic floor muscles with Real-time Ultrasound prostate physio cancer post surgery
  • Discuss bladder/bowel/pain/erectile issues
  • Discuss goals and strategies to monitor progress
  • Prescribe Pelvic Floor Muscle Home exercise program and exercises to do at home
  • Discuss a return to an exercise program

To make an appointment with Amy Tinetti, either call (08) 6389 2947 or click here to make an appointment online.