Prostate Surgery

he thought of undergoing prostate surgery is understandably distressing for any man, and you’re bound to have lots of questions.

If you’ve been told that you have to undergo prostate surgery, there’s bound to be a thousand questions running around your head:

“What’s going to happen?”

“Is it going to leave me incontinent?”

“Am I going to be able to ‘perform’ anymore?”

Your surgeon should be able to answer all of these questions for you, and if you have any questions or concerns, don’t be embarrassed to ask the doctors at any stage – they understand that it’s a worrying time for any man.

“What’s going to happen?”

Of course, the precise operation that you’re going to have depends entirely on what condition you have been diagnosed with. The two most common prostate problems are benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH – an enlarged prostate) and prostate cancer. There are non-surgical treatments available for these conditions, however, if you and your doctor have decided that surgery is the best option, the four most common prostate operations are:

Prostatectomy: this is where the prostate is removed, and is commonly used for cases of prostate cancer. There have been great advances in this surgery in recent years, and now, it’s often carried out laporoscopically (keyhole surgery), sometimes with the assistance of a robot. Sounds scary, but it just means that the cuts and stitches are more precise.

Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) Surgery: this is an operation whereby small sections of the prostate are removed, either by cutting or with an electrified wire. They’re then removed via the bladder. You might notice some blood in your urine for a few days following this procedure, but that’s completely normal.

Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy (TUMT) Surgery: this is used for men suffering from BPH, and is done as an outpatient procedure, usually with no need for an overnight stay in hospital. This treatment involves inserting a special microwave catheter into the prostatic urethra – this is then heated to destroy the surrounding prostatic tissue. It’s minimally invasive and the average recovery time is just five days at home.

Minimally Invasive Prostate Surgery (TUEVAP): this is a very similar procedure to TURP surgery, except that it’s a lot less invasive. Instead of using electrified wire, a small electrified roller ball is used, which vaporises the unwanted tissue. Again, this is often carried out as an outpatient procedure, with no need to stay in hospital overnight.

With all of these surgeries, there are the normal surgical risks, as well as the risk of erectile dysfunction and urinary problems following the procedure, however these will be explained to you by your surgeon so that you can make an informed choice.

“Is prostate surgery going to leave me incontinent?”

One of men’s main concerns about prostate surgery is that it’s going to leave them incontinent. Many men are embarrassed about talking about it, but you don’t need to be, male incontinence is a lot more common than you might think.

The main reason that men suffer with some form of urinary incontinence following a prostatectomy or other prostate surgery is that the muscles that surround the prostate (the male pelvic floor muscles) have been damaged during the procedure, meaning that you can’t control your bladder as easily as before.

The first line treatment recommended for this is pelvic floor or Kegel exercises. After your operation, you may have a catheter in place. Don’t start doing your male Kegel exercises until the catheter is removed. Once the catheter has been removed, and you feel ready, you can start to do manual pelvic floor exercises (how to do them is explained here – needs hyperlink). And, providing that your doctor has given you the all-clear to do so, you can use one of our Kegel8 V for Men pelvic toners in order to strengthen your pelvic floor quickly and efficiently, and help you to regain control of your bladder.

Your doctor can also prescribe you medications such as anticholergenics which will help to prevent spasms in your bladder, or decongestants to tighten up the urethra.

And until you regain full bladder control, there are underwear and pads that you can wear so that you can feel dry and confident, and they’re really discreet too. Only you will know that you’re wearing them. It will also help to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake as this will irritate the bladder, and if you’re overweight, it may help to lose a few pounds as the excess weight can put even more strain on your pelvic floor muscles.

Don’t be embarrassed, there is lots that can be done to help – don’t worry or suffer in silence.

“Am I going to be able to ‘perform’ anymore?”

Perhaps the biggest worry that men have following prostate surgery is that they aren’t going to be able to ‘perform’ in the bedroom like before. Erectile dysfunction is, unfortunately, a common side effect of prostate surgery. It won’t happen to everyone, but it is fairly common. However, there is a lot that can be done to help.

Medications such as Viagra can help you to achieve an erection like before so that you can enjoy a full and satisfying sex life. If you don’t want to take medication, medical vacuum pumps can help you to achieve an erection up to 90% of the time.

Intracavernous injection therapy is another alternative. If medications and pumps have been unsuccessful, a man can inject a chemical into the base of his penis, increasing blood flow and giving him a stronger erection. This sounds horrendous, but it’s actually surprisingly painless, and has shown success rates of between 75 and 94%, so in conjunction with your doctor, it’s certainly worth considering.

 However, it’s recently been found that pelvic floor exercises for men, or Kegel exercises for men are extremely effective at treating erectile dysfunction.

That’s right – pelvic floor exercises have been shown, over a period of six months, to be as effective as Viagra at treating erectile dysfunction.

After your catheter removal, as soon as you feel ready, it’s important to start exercising your pelvic floor muscles, in order to strengthen and tone them and repair any damage caused by your operation. What’s more, exercising your pelvic floor increases blood flow to the area, which helps the healing process.

When you’ve got the all clear from your doctor, try exercising with an electronic device such as our Kegel8 V for Men pelvic toner, designed especially to help men to strengthen their pelvic floor and combat incontinence and erectile dysfunction. In just minutes a day, you will start to notice results, and help to regain control of your bladder, your sexual function and rebuild your confidence.

We know that it’s a daunting time, but don’t suffer in silence. We’re here to help.