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Prostatectomy: Things just aren't the same anymore

Did you just have a prostatectomy? Or are you about to have a prostatectomy? 

You are or about to become very familiar with the words, urinary incontinence. 

If you haven't had surgery yet, many patients find it valuable to visit with a pelvic floor physical therapist to learn how to properly engage the pelvic floor muscles. That way you are ready to start practicing those pelvic floor contractions as soon as your doctor gives you clearance. 

Not everyone who has a prostatectomy will have chronic urinary incontinence but getting a handle on it as early as possible has huge benefits. 

Depending on the surgical technique, there may be abdominal incisions that would benefit from scar tissue work. Additionally, bowel massages to help promote GI regularity which will put less strain on the pelvic floor. 

                                        Slim woman touching her belly on white background


You may notice you leak with coughing, sneezing, laughing or changing positions. Sometimes you might leak without any awareness. As you become better at engaging the pelvic floor and increasing the strength, you should notice a decrease in the leaking. 

Are all pelvic floor contractions the same?

There are different kinds of pelvic floor contractions:
Standard: squeeze and relax 
Long Hold: 2 seconds and above, with a goal of 10 second hold 
Quick Flick: rapid little contractions, important for coordination. 

                                             pelvic floor

Your physical therapist and your prostatectomy

Your pelvic floor physical therapist can assess the pelvic floor muscles externally in the perineum or internally through the rectum. They will help cue you to coordinate the contractions and breathing all at the same time. 

As you advance, you might notice one activity that always causes you to leak. We can practice those activities together to further challenge the pelvic floor. 

Urinary incontinence after a prostatectomy is so common and expected! Please don't feel isolated and wait to get help. Even a few sessions of pelvic floor physical therapy can make a big difference. 

If you're ready to address your urinary incontinence after prostatectomy, contact us today!