Frequently Asked Questions

About Bladder Leakage
  • What is incontinence?

    Urinary incontinence is the unintentional loss of urine. There are three common types of incontinence:3,5

    • Stress urinary incontinence (SUI): leakage during actions — such as sneezing, coughing, laughing and lifting — that put abdominal pressure on the bladder
    • Urge incontinence (also known as Overactive Bladder [OAB]): an overwhelming need to urinate (gotta go, gotta go!) that may prevent reaching the toilet in time
    • Mixed incontinence: symptoms of both urge and stress incontinence
  • Is Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) a problem for men? i thought it only affected women.

    Both men and women can experience SUI, though it is more common in women.34 However, as many as 1 out of every 10 men experience urinary leakage at some time in their lives.1 For men, SUI is a common side effect of a urological procedure, pelvic trauma or condition affecting nerve functionality. Men may experience SUI after prostate cancer treatment and surgical treatment for an enlarged prostate (BPH). In addition, SUI can occur in patients with neurological conditions such as spina bifida.10

    How do I know if I have SUI?

    When you leak any urine, you may have stress urinary incontinence (SUI). When SUI symptoms are mild, you may have leakage during rigorous activity such as playing sports or exercising, or when you sneeze, laugh, cough or lift something. If you have moderate or severe incontinence, you may leak urine even with low-impact movement such as standing up, walking or bending over.

    Is SUI a side effect from treating or removing a prostate?

    Bladder leakage is one of the two most common side effects of radical prostatectomy; the other is erectile dysfunction (ED).29 If these side effects persist, there are successful treatment options available for both. Click here for more information about treatment options for male stress urinary incontinence. Learn more about erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer treatment at EDCure.org.

    How long does SUI last following prostate cancer surgery?

    SUI is usually resolved within the year following prostatectomy, but in some cases SUI can persist past a year without improvement. One study found that at one year following a robotic prostatectomy, approximately 1 in 10 men still have persistent stress urinary incontinence (SUI).8 Many men start managing their bladder leakage with products they can buy at pharmacies or grocery stores, such as pads and diapers. Other treatment options can come from your doctor, such as disposable condom catheters, penile clamps or intended permanent options such as the AdVance™ Male Sling System and the AMS 800™ Urinary Control System (also known as an artificial urinary sphincter [AUS]). If bladder control is still an issue 6 months post prostate cancer treatment, make an appointment with a urologist specializing in the treatment of male stress urinary incontinence.8,35 They can often be found in the same group as your prostate cancer surgeon.

    What happens if my SUI lasts longer than six months without improvement? What are my options?

    If bladder control is still an issue 6 months after your procedure, you have persistent stress urinary incontinence and should see a specialist to discuss your treatment options.8,35 Make an appointment with a specialist who can help fix your incontinence. Click here to find a urologist in your area.

    Do these treatment options allow me to resume a normal lifestyle?

    Yes, most patients who receive either a male sling or AUS can resume normal activities such as playing golf, traveling, going out to dinner, or hiking without having to worry about unplanned bladder leakage. For some men, these treatments also allow them to play with their kids or grandkids without worrying about an accident. For many patients, these procedures allow them to return to living an active lifestyle.

    Should I think about a procedcure to fix my SUI?

    Surgery is an option when behavioral or nonsurgical treatments don’t produce the results you want or need. The best step to take is to see a urologist who specializes in the treatment of incontinence to discuss the option that is right for you. Click here to find a urologist in your area.

    How Does the AdvanceTM Male Sling Work?

    The male sling works like a hammock to support the urethra providing normal bladder control for men.23,24 There is nothing to operate and it is completely concealed inside the body. In a recent study, 92% of patients who received the AdVance Sling said they would undergo the procedure again.32

    How does the artificial urinary sphincter (AUS) work?

    A urologist places the AUS in the body. It mimics a healthy urinary sphincter and closes off the urethra to prevent the loss of urine until it is time to void. When it is time to void, you squeeze the small pump in your scrotum, which opens up the cuff and allows urine to flow naturally. The whole system is completely concealed inside your body and is undetectable from the outside.26

    What is recovery like following a surgical procedure for the AUS?

    Your urologist will manage your care immediately following your procedure and over the next several weeks. At the four- to six-week follow-up appointment, your urologist will activate the AUS and teach you how to use the AUS device.26

    How satisfied are patients with the AUS?

    The AUS implant has been available to patients for more than 40 years33 and is considered the gold standard treatment for SUI.25 In a recent study, 92% of patients would have the AUS implanted again and studies show that after the procedure, up to 90% of patients use one pad or less per day.27,36

    Do men recover erectile function after prostate cancer treatment?

    The most direct indicator of post-operative erectile function is your sexual ability prior to the operation. Your ability to have an erection after prostate treatment could be affected by pre-existing risk factors, including older age, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cigarette smoking, physical inactivity and certain medications such as anti-hypertensive drugs or psychotropic medications. One year after prostate cancer treatment, 30% of men suffer from erectile dysfunction.15

    You can learn more about erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer treatment at EDCure.org.

    When can a man resume sexual activity after a prostate cancer surgery?

    You might have to wait from a few months to two years to once again achieve an erection.14 Your doctor may recommend that you try to get an erection as soon as possible once the body has had a chance to heal. Treatment options that may be helpful at this time include medication, vacuum erection devices, certain types of injections and/or a penile implant.

    You can learn more about these treatment options at EDCure.org.

    Click here for additional safety information.