Urinary incontinence is common after prostatectomy but with the proper awareness and exercise regimen you can improve your quality of life and decrease leakage.
The pelvic floor muscles consist of multiple layers that support the bladder by forming a sling from the pubic bone to the tailbone.
You must know how to correctly perform a pelvic floor or Kegel contraction to improve bladder function.
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Kegel exercises are contractions of the pelvic floor muscles. To perform pelvic floor muscle exercise correctly:
- Concentrate on your rectum (pretend that you are trying to keep from passing gas or stopping the flow of urine)
- Do NOT use your abdominal muscles
- Do NOT use your buttocks muscles
- Exercises should be performed until muscle fatigue occurs but try not to push past fatigue
- Some individuals will begin to see results after a few weeks of consistent exercises. It can also take longer (5+ months) to see significant results depending on the initial strength of the muscles and the extent of the symptoms. After surgery, it can take up to a 1 year to see results from the exercises.
- Try to avoid constipation as that creates undue pressure through the pelvic region
- Proper fluid intake should be continued even if incontinence is being experienced.
- The surgeon may place lifting restrictions after surgery. Make sure to follow these guidelines.
- Ask your surgeon for a referral to pelvic floor physical therapy if you are unsure how to engage the pelvic floor muscles and/or if you are not able to control the urinary leakage.