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Prostate cancer affects 1 in 7 men in the US. Treatment methods for prostate cancer often include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Bowel, bladder, and sexual function problems are common issues amongst men after prostate surgery. Some men regain proper function of these systems without help, but many continue to have complaints long past the expected time of recovery.
Prostate and Urinary Issues
Urinary complaints, such as urine leakage, urinary frequency and/or urgency, or dribbling after urination are common after prostate surgery. Bowel complaints are also common, ranging from fecal leakage, bowel urgency, or difficulty holding or passing gas. Some men also have difficulty with sexual function, such as keeping or gaining an erection or have pain with erection following prostate surgery. These symptoms are often due to improper functioning of the pelvic floor muscles.
Exercise and Recovery
The pelvic floor muscles stretch from the pubic bone at the front of your body to the bottom of your spine, below the bladder and bowel. They act as a sling, supporting the bladder and bowel and helping to control when you urinate or empty your bowels. When these muscles are weak, urine or fecal leakage may result. When these muscles are tight, other complications may develop. You can exercise and stretch these muscles just like any other muscle in your body. Working to ensure they function properly may help reduce your symptoms.
Research supports performing these exercises before surgery can speed up recovery. The exercises are not hard but do, but need to be performed in the proper way to achieve maximum benefits. Strengthening these muscles correctly has been shown to decrease the likelihood of lingering problems. Scheduling 1-2 visits prior to surgery can be beneficial for best recovery following surgery.
Pelvic Floor PT After Surgery
Finding a physical therapist specialized in treating the pelvic floor muscles is important for a quick, healthy recovery. If you or someone you care about has had prostate surgery, or is planning to, we would love to help your recovery process! There is help for these issues and it doesn’t involve medication or more surgery! Find a pelvic floor PT who has experience in male pelvic dysfunction near you.
Nicole DeBrie, DPT