Prostate Cancer Awareness Month takes place in September each year. It is critical for men to schedule screenings with their doctor for early detection, even if there are no symptoms present. Prostate cancer screenings are based on age, family history, health, and risk factors. Early detection of prostate cancer can make a difference in treatment and recovery.
We will discuss signs of a prostate problem, ways it can be detected, treatment options, and how to manage the possibility of incontinence after surgery. Incontinence products, catheters, and catheter supplies can all help manage incontinence after prostate surgery. We will provide some details and product options we hope can be helpful.
Signs of a Prostate Problem
There are some signs of a prostate problem, but they do not necessarily mean that you have cancer. Some of the warning signs of a prostate problem that can affect the urinary system and should not be ignored include:
- Difficulty starting or stopping the flow of urine
- Feeling a sudden urge to urinate more frequently, especially at night (nocturia)
- A burning sensation when urinating
- An interrupted or weak urine stream
- Inability to completely empty the bladder
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Erectile dysfunction
- Feeling pressure in the rectum
- Loss of bowel control from pressure on the spinal cord
Prostate Cancer Detection
Prostate cancer can be detected early through a digital rectal exam or a blood test that measures the amount of a prostate-specific antigen in the blood (PSA blood test). According to the American Cancer Society, the only way to be sure that a man has prostate cancer is through the prostate biopsy test, where tissue is taken from the prostate and examined under a microscope.
Treatments for Prostate Cancer
If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor will devise a treatment plan that may involve several approaches depending on how advanced the prostate cancer is. These can include routine monitoring, hormone therapy, radiation, or surgical removal of the prostate gland (prostatectomy). After radiation or surgery, the two most common side effects men experience are urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
Managing Incontinence After Prostate Cancer Surgery
After prostatectomy surgery, a Foley catheter is used to drain urine from the bladder. This indwelling catheter remains in place for approximately two weeks and is attached to a urine drain bag. The hospital will provide catheter supplies such as nighttime urine drain bags for use at home. Once the Foley catheter is removed, most men cannot control the urine sphincter, resulting in urinary leaks. Many men regain the ability to control the urine sphincter within a day or two. However, some men do not recover this control as quickly and remain incontinent for extended periods.
Using Urinary Catheters to Manage Incontinence After Prostate Surgery
One way to manage urinary incontinence is with urinary catheters. There are a variety of catheters and catheter supplies that can help manage urinary incontinence.
Hydrophilic catheters have a coating activated by water or saline to allow for smooth insertion and removal of the catheter. Hydrophilic catheters do not require additional lubrication and are an excellent option for home or on the go.
Unlike hydrophilic catheters, straight catheters are uncoated and require lubrication before use. Catheter supplies like single-use lubrication packets can be used to lubricate the catheter. Or, there are tubes of lubrication and catheter supplies that come as insertion kits that include all the supplies needed.
Closed System Catheters
Closed system catheters allow for a touchless catheterization experience. The entire system is integrated as one piece to include the pre-lubricated or hydrophilic catheter inside its own collection bag. Closed system catheters reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, too. The catheter itself is never touched, and the introducer tip minimizes the risk of pushing pathogens up the urethra.
External or Condom Catheters
Some men may prefer a less invasive approach to manage incontinence from prostate cancer. The external or condom catheter reduces the risk of urinary tract infections, can be more comfortable, and cause less restricted movement. Catheter supplies like a condom catheter are self-adhesive and feature a plug at the end to attach a drain tube to allow urine to pass into a collection bag.
Catheter Insertion Supplies
Catheter supplies such as the Cure Medical K1 and K2 Catheter Insertion Kits provide all the accessories needed for a safe, easy, and sterile catheterization experience. These kits include catheter supplies like gloves, lubricating jelly, an underpad, wipes, and a collection bag.
Drainage and Leg Bags
Urine drainage bags are used to collect urine from a catheter. These catheter supplies can be attached to the leg with leg bag holders to provide discreetness under clothing. Urine drainage bags are available in various sizes, brands, and styles and are also offered in disposable and reusable options.
Leg Bag Straps and Holders
Catheter straps are catheter supplies that help make the urinary leg bag more comfortable. And, catheter supplies like a urinary leg bag holder omit the use of catheter straps altogether. These types of catheter supplies slip onto the leg and feature a pocket the urine bag slides into, preventing contact between the leg bag and the skin and allowing breathability.
Using Incontinence Products to Manage Incontinence After Prostate Surgery
Another option for managing incontinence after prostate surgery, aside from catheters and catheter supplies, is with incontinence products. Some of the options include:
- Incontinence liners and pads in various sizes, styles, and absorbencies
- Incontinence protective underwear for both day and overnight protection
- Incontinence briefs and diapers with tab closures for bowel or fecal incontinence and higher absorbency levels
- Incontinence clamps can help men control leakage due to prostate cancer
- Underpads, bed pads, and chux to help protect bedding and furniture
Prostate Cancer Support
Support is available if you or a loved one is living with prostate cancer. First, talk to your doctor and then consider some of the options below.
TalkThatTalk – Support resources, checklists, downloadable guides, and more.
Cancer Support Community – Nationwide cancer support organization with all services free of charge.
The Dattoli Foundation – Resources, counseling, and publications on the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.
ZERO & UsTOO – An online community for prostate cancer patients offering free health tracking tools, videos, audio, tips, and personalized resources.
If you are experiencing warning signs of a prostate problem, always speak to your doctor about whether screening is right for you. Remember, early detection of prostate cancer can make a difference in treatment and recovery.
If you have any questions or would like assistance finding the incontinence products, catheters, or catheter supplies you are looking for, give us a call. We have Product Experts that are knowledgeable, friendly, and ready to help.