Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in men here in the UK. A procedure called radical prostatectomy can remove the cancerous gland; but the procedure often carries an unwelcome and hard-to-treat side effect: Bladder Weakness or if you prefer urinary incontinence .
As many as 65% of men who went through surgery experience some type of incontinence for years afterward, whether it is urge incontinence, stress incontinence or a combination of both.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that a simple and well known incontinence treatment can help reduce daily incontinence episodes considerably.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Alabama in Birmingham. In total 208 men were assigned for the study, all of them had radical prostatectomy and were experience some form of urinary incontinence.
The men were then divided into three groups. One group was taught how to perform Kegel exercises, plus some basic bladder-control strategies. The second group got the same kind of info the first group got plus biofeedback and electrostimulation therapy. The third group was used as a control group, which had their treatments delayed.
After eight weeks, results were very promising. In group one the average number of weekly incontinence episodes fell from 28 to 13. In group episodes fell to 12 from 26, while the average number of incontinence episodes in the control dropped from 25 to 21.
The treatment was far from a cure, however. But the effects of the therapy seemed to be lasting; after one year, the incontinence among the men had not measurably worsened.
Behavioural therapy, such as Kegel exercises are commonly recommended to women, but men are also offered behavioural training after they undergo prostatectomy. This is the first study to show it can help men many years after surgery.