Truths From a Nurse Continence Advisor: The Side Effects of Urinary Incontinence in Men
By Maureen McGrath
RN, Nurse Continence Advisor, Host of the Sunday Night Health Show
One truth I know as a Nurse Continence Advisor is that urinary incontinence is not the sexiest subject, but it is one of the most important for women and men too! One myth surrounding urinary incontinence is that it only affects little old ladies. The truth is that men experience urinary incontinence also and it is common after treatment for Prostate Cancer.
Doctors do make every effort to educate men about the risk of complications from prostate cancer treatment such as erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. That said, men hear the “C” word and understandably are focused on surviving a prostate cancer diagnosis.
After all, they have survived cancer! But then reality strikes and the leaks are much more than men realize especially when their lives change. Prostate cancer often strikes during the middle years for men, the years when men may have just retired, are still very physically active and/or in a relationship. But urinary incontinence can get in the way of it all.
Effects of Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence may lead to isolation, loneliness, the need to wear diapers and depression. Not only will it affect the quality of life, but it may also impact a man’s dignity and self-esteem. And the most common type after prostate cancer treatment is Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) which is leakage of urine that occurs with physical activity that increases abdominal pressure such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise.
Brian was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer fifteen years ago. I invited him to be a guest on the Sunday Night Health Show to share his story. At the time of his diagnosis, he was a healthy 60-year-old who was gainfully employed and physically active: daily walks, inline & ice skating.
Under the care of his urologist, Brian decided to undergo a Radical Prostatectomy and he was cured of prostate cancer. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Brian suffered from Stress Urinary Incontinence for two years and resorted to using pads.
The pads weren’t always effective and they would often leak in social situations. He found this to be embarrassing and frustrating. He tried many conservative measures, but the spigot just never seemed to turn off. He was referred to a urologist who specializes in urinary incontinence. After examination, Brian was offered several treatment options and ultimately chose an implantable balloon device that was considered less invasive than other options available at that time. The balloons were implanted in Fall 2008. The device caused Brian to experience discomfort and was not effective in stopping his leaks. He underwent removal of this device in 2014.
Getting Back to Life with Contino
Brian was persistent and in late 2014, he enrolled in a clinical trial for the Contino device. The Contino device is a discreet and convenient urethral insert solution. Unlike diapers and pads, the Contino urethral insert obstructs the flow of urine from exiting the body and allows the bladder to fill normally. This enables you to control when your urine is released, avoiding inconvenient and embarrassing messes. Although his participation in the trial finished in 2015, he has continued to use the Contino device because as he puts it, “It works and I’ve got my life back. Furthermore, there are no side effects.” Brian continues to use Contino to this day and is living life without the worry of bladder leaks or pads. It took a long time, but he says it was well worth the wait. If you are experiencing stress urinary incontinence after prostate surgery, you don’t have to wait as long as Brian did for effective treatment.
Visit Contino to learn more and determine if it’s the right fit for you.