Pelvic Health physiotherapy, including pelvic floor training, before and after prostate cancer surgery helps maximise the chance of a full and speedy recovery.
When prostate cancer is diagnosed, men are often, understandably, in some shock. There are test procedures to undergo and a lot of information to take in. After prostate surgery, men generally recover very well. However, some men do experience changed bladder control, urinary incontinence or erectile problems. This can be restrictive and distressing. Fortunately, by three months most of these problems have resolved.
The base of the prostate is very close to the blood and nerve bundles that supply the pelvic floor. Sometimes these are affected by the removal of the prostate. Also, the urinary passage ( called the urethra) is shortened during the surgery, as it is surrounded by the prostate gland. The shortened urethra means it can be harder to prevent urine leakage. Occasionally, scarring can cause blockage of the urethra making it difficult to empty. The bladder itself sometimes becomes overactive and urgency ( where it is hard to hold on), can develop.
Attending physiotherapy before surgery is ideal if possible. There is then time to understand good bladder and bowel habits, and the importance of learning pelvic floor exercises properly and practise them. The pelvic floor muscles play an important role in bladder control, they help in erectile function and are part of the ‘core’ strength of the body. The pre-operative appointment can also be an opportunity to go over what to expect for the postoperative period, including up to three months and beyond, especially in terms of resuming physical activity, general exercise and sex.
After the surgery, a follow up appointment will help ensure confidence in correct exercising and resumption of activities like mowing, lifting and sports. If there are bladder control, incontinence or erectile problems, early treatment is important.