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Frequently asked questions about bladder leakage in men

About male stress urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the unintentional loss of urine. There are three common types of incontinence:1,2

  • 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 

Both men and women can experience SUI, though it is more common in women.3 However, approximately 1 out of every 10 men experience urinary leakage at some time in their lives.4 For men, SUI can be a common side effect of a urological procedure, pelvic trauma, or condition affecting nerve functionality.5 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.5

When you leak any urine during physical movement or activity, 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.

Prostate cancer and SUI

Bladder leakage is one of the two most common side effects of radical prostatectomy; the other is erectile dysfunction (ED).6 If these side effects persist, there are treatment options available for both. For more information about treating male stress urinary incontinence, read about male SUI treatment options. Learn more about erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer treatment at

SUI is usually resolved within the year following prostatectomy, but in some cases, SUI can persist past a year without improvement. Approximately 9–16% of men have persistent post-prostatectomy leakage 1 year after treatment.7

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 implantable treatment options such as the AdVance™ XP Male Sling System and the AMS 800™ Artificial Urinary Sphincter (AUS).

If bladder control is still an issue 6 months post-prostatectomy, consider making an appointment with a urologist specializing in the treatment of male stress urinary incontinence.7,8

Although incontinence may be resolved within the year following a prostatectomy, if bladder control is an issue six months after your procedure and is not improving, you may wish to see a specialist. You may have persistent stress urinary incontinence, and an incontinence specialist can provide advice and discuss your treatment options.7,8 Find a urologist in your area.

Treatment options for male SUI

Surgery is an option when behavioral or nonsurgical treatments don’t produce the results you want or need. Consider seeing a urologist who specializes in the treatment of incontinence to discuss the option that is right for you. Find a urologist in your area.

The male sling is designed to work like a hammock to support the urethra providing bladder control for men.9,10 There is nothing to operate and it is completely concealed inside the body.9,10 One study found nearly 80% of patients who received the AdVance XP Sling said they would undergo the procedure again.11 Potential risks associated with an AdVance XP Male Sling procedure may include inability to urinate (urinary retention), return to incontinence, infection, erosion, device migration, pelvic organ disfunction, bleeding, and pain.

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.12 Potential risks associated with an AUS procedure may include device malfunction/failure leading to additional surgery, wearing away/loss of tissue (device/tissue erosion), inability to urinate (urinary retention), infection, and pain/soreness.

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.12

The AUS implant has been available to patients for more than 50 years13 and is considered a gold standard treatment for SUI.14-16 Studies have shown that 95% of patients* are satisfied with their device and 94% of patients would recommend the device to a friend or family member.17,18

*Non-urethroplasty patients

Erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer

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 cancer 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 may suffer from erectile dysfunction.19

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

You might have to wait from a few months to two years to once again achieve an erection.20 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, or a penile implant.

You can learn more about these treatment options at


  1. Abrams P, Andersson KE, Birder L, et al. Fourth International Consultation on Incontinence recommendations of the International Scientific Committee: evaluation and treatment of urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and fecal incontinence. Neurourol Urodyn. 2010;29(1):213-40.
  2. Mixed Incontinence. WebMD Website. Accessed June 2024.
  3. Stress Incontinence. Mayo Clinic Website. Accessed June 2024.
  4. Markland AD, Goode PS, Redden DT, et al. Prevalence of urinary incontinence in men: results from the national health and nutrition examination survey. J Urol. 2010 Sep;184(3):1022-7.
  5. Data on file. Based on market research by Dymedex.
  6. American Cancer Society. Surgery for prostate cancer. Accessed June 2024.
  7. Ficarra V, Novara G, Rosen RC, et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies reporting urinary continence recovery after robot-assisted radical prostatectomy. Eur Urol. 2012 Sep;62(3):405-17. 
  8. Biardeau X, Aharony S; AUS Consensus Group, et al. Artificial urinary sphincter: executive summary of the 2015 Consensus Conference. Neurourol Urodyn. 2016 Apr;35 Suppl 2:S5-7.
  9. Data on file at Boston Scientific.
  10. Chung E. Contemporary male slings for stress urinary incontinence: advances in device technology and refinements in surgical techniques. Ther Adv Urol. 2023 Jul.
  11. Husch T. Kretschmer A Thomsen F, et al. The AdVance and AdVance XP male sling in urinary incontinence: is there a difference? World J Urol. 201 8 Oct:36(10) :1657- 1662.
  12. AMS 800™ Urinary Control System Operating Room Manual. Boston Scientific Corporation. 2018.
  13. Data on file with Boston Scientific.
  14. Montague DK. Artificial urinary sphincter: long-term results and patient satisfaction. Adv Urol. 2012;2012:835290. 
  15. Biardeau X, Aharony S; AUS Consensus Group, et al. Artificial urinary sphincter: executive summary of the 2015 Consensus Conference. Neurourol Urodyn.  2016 Apr;35 Suppl 2:S5-7.
  16. James MH, McCammon KA. Artificial urinary sphincter for postprostatectomy incontinence: a review. Int Urol. 2014 Jun:21 (6):536-43
  17. Sayedahmed K, Olianas R, Kaftan B, et al. Impact of previous urethroplasty on the outcome after artificial urinary sphincter implantation: a prospective evaluation. World J Urol. 2020 Jan;38(1):183-91
  18. Linder BJ, Rivera ME, Ziegelmann MJ, et al. Long-term outcomes following artificial urinary sphincter placement: an analysis of 1082 cases at Mayo Clinic. Urology. 2015 Sep;86(3):602-7. 
  19. Litwiller SE, Kim KB, Fone PD, et al. Post-prostatectomy incontinence and the artificial urinary sphincter: a long-term study of patient satisfaction and criteria for success. J Urol. 1996 Dec;156(6):1975-80.
  20. McCullough AR. Sexual dysfunction after radical prostatectomy. Rev Urol. 2005;7(Suppl 2):S3-10.

Caution: U.S. Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician.

AdVanceᵀᴹ XP Male Sling System

The AdVance™ XP Male Sling System is intended for the treatment of male stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Potential risks may include inability to urinate (urinary retention), return to incontinence, infection, erosion, device migration, pelvic organ disfunction, bleeding, and pain. These devices are contraindicated for patients with urinary tract infections, blood coagulation disorders, a compromised immune system or any other condition that would compromise healing, with renal insufficiency, and upper urinary tract relative obstruction. MH-557011-AB

AMS 800ᵀᴹ Artificial Urinary Sphincter

Your doctor is your best source for information on the risks and benefits of the AMS 800ᵀᴹ Artificial Urinary Sphincter. Talk to your doctor for a complete listing of risks, warnings and important safety information.

The AMS 800ᵀᴹ Artificial Urinary Sphincter is intended for use in the treatment of male stress urinary incontinence (intrinsic sphincter deficiency) following prostate surgery.

Men with diabetes, spinal cord injuries or skin infections may have an increased risk of infection. Some AMS 800 devices contain an antibiotic (InhibiZoneᵀᴹ Antibiotic Surface Treatment). The device may not be suited for patients who are allergic to the antibiotics contained within the device (rifampin, minocycline or other tetracyclines) or have systemic lupus.

Potential risks may include: device malfunction/failure leading to additional surgery, wearing away/loss of tissue (device/tissue erosion), inability to urinate (urinary retention), infection, and pain/soreness. MH-545611-AB

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: These materials are intended to describe common clinical considerations and procedural steps for the use of referenced technologies but may not be appropriate for every patient or case. Decisions surrounding patient care depend on the physician’s professional judgment in consideration of all available information for the individual case.

Boston Scientific (BSC) does not promote or encourage the use of its devices outside their approved labeling. Case studies are not necessarily representative of clinical outcomes in all cases as individual results may vary.

There are risks associated with all medical procedures.  Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of these devices.

This material is for informational Purposes only and not meant for medical diagnosis. This information does not constitute medical or legal advice, and Boston Scientific makes no representation regarding the medical benefits included in this information. Boston Scientific strongly recommends that you consult with your physician on all matters pertaining to your health.