Exercises for incontinence after prostate surgery - how important are they?
Urinary incontinence is a significant side effect in a number of men post radical robotic prostatectomy but it has been proven that pelvic floor exercises can greatly improve voiding and sexual function.
Studies have now shown that patients who carried out pelvic floor exercises prior to and following surgery had significantly better continence three months after surgery.
The pelvic floor muscles begin from the front pubic bone and lengthen to the spine. They are situated underneath the bladder. These muscles are similar to a sling and they control urination and bowel emptying. The correct releasing and tightening of these muscles are known as pelvic floor or kegel exercises.
Pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen the muscles in the bladder which are weaker following surgery and therefore can cause urinary leakage. It is important that these exercises are taught by a specialist doctor/nurse as they can be performed incorrectly without correct instruction and hence this will often affect the recovery of urinary incontinence. It can also be difficult for individuals to locate the correct pelvic floor muscles so correct instruction is important.
It is also recommended that pelvic floor exercises are performed regularly to strengthen the muscles over time but they should not be overdone as like with all muscles over strengthening could over tire them. The general advice is to perform pelvic floor exercises a few times a day post surgery following the removal of the catheter.
If the pelvic floor muscles are stronger this will help with urinary incontinence, urinary stress incontinence brought on by coughing, sneezing etc, urgency and urge incontinence (sudden onset needing to urinate), urinary frequency and nocturia (waking during the night to urinate).
Pelvic floor exercises can also help with the recovery of erectile function, sustaining an erection, ability to orgasm and can also help with bowel and bladder problems.