What to expect after Prostate Surgery
Around 6 to 8% of men experience incontinence after prostate surgery, the degree of incontinence varies between each individual.

The good news is that incontinence can be treated post-surgery. Even if your bladder control doesn’t go back to how it was before, your incontinence can still be helped and managed. Normally, after surgery bladder control returns within several weeks or months although sometimes symptoms can last between 6 to 12 months. Over time, the majority of men eventually regain bladder control to the same level it was prior to surgery.

Doctors are unable to predict how a man’s incontinence will be affected after prostate surgery however, men who are older generally have more incontinence problems than younger men. Incontinence can vary between light dribbles to losing control and doesn’t just affect you physically, but also emotionally and socially. Although incontinence can feel scary and daunting, there are many resources, treatments and products available for men battling this exact issue.

Types and levels of severity of incontinence after prostate surgery:

  • Stress Incontinence

    Urine leaks when exerting pressure on your bladder. E.g., when you: sneeze, cough, laugh, exercise, jump or do heavy lifting. This type of incontinence is the most common after prostate surgery and occurs when problems arise with the valve that keeps urine in the bladder (the bladder sphincter). Prostate cancer treatments can damage this valve or the nerves that keep it working.

  • Urge incontinence

    Your bladder feels the sudden urge to urinate without warning (in most case large amounts). This occurs when your bladder becomes sensitive to stretching as it fills with urine. You may find that you need to urinate often including throughout the night.

  • Overflow incontinence

    You take a long time to urinate and your bladder continuously leak/dribbles due to being unable to empty properly. This is usually caused by a blockage or narrowing of the bladder outlet by the scar tissue.

  • Continuous incontinence

    You lose all ability to control urine. This rarely occurs after prostate surgery.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use period pads and liners for incontinence?

Using menstrual products for bladder leakage wouldn’t be as effective as they are designed for blood which is thicker than urine with slower discharge times and volumes, and therefore lower absorbency levels. They’ll leave your skin feeling damp and uncomfortable, and at a higher risk of irritation and infection. Menstrual products don’t protect your skin against urine and won’t neutralize the urine odor.

Are Incontinence products HSA and FSA Eligible?

Incontinence supplies are typically eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). Contact your employer or FSA/HSA/HRA provider with account or eligibility questions.

Does Medicaid Cover Incontinence Products?

Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides medically necessary products (including incontinence products), healthcare or long-term care services to those who qualify.

Visit Healthcare.gov and use its Medicaid calculator to determine if you qualify.

For an incontinence product to be covered by Medicaid, it must be considered “medically necessary”, and therefore essential to the treatment or management of a particular condition. This can be determined by visiting your doctor and getting a diagnosis.

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