Urinary incontinence (UI), sometimes referred to as “lack of bladder control,” is the involuntary loss of urine.
Patients suffering from UI are unable to control the release of urine from the bladder.
Urinary incontinence is estimated to affect 1 out of 10 males, with increasing prevalence associated with aging.
While Stress Urinary Incontinence is the most common type, there are different types of urinary incontinence.
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)
Stress urinary incontinence is the unexpected leakage of urine when an outside pressure occurs with activities such as heavy lifting, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercise.
This outside pressure causes the already weakened bladder to leak urine.
The bladder is held in place by the muscles and connective tissue in the pelvis. When these muscles are weak, the outside pressure can push the bladder downward, causing the urethra to open and the urine to leak out.
A weak or damaged sphincter may also be the cause of stress urinary incontinence.
Urge incontinence, or also referred to as overactive bladder (OAB), occurs when a person is unable to hold back the urine long enough until he gets to a bathroom.
Patients often complain that although they feel the need to void in advance but begin leaking before they can reach a bathroom.
In rare cases, urge incontinence may be an early sign of bladder cancer.
Overflow incontinence is the result of a person being unable to empty their bladder completely due to an outlet obstruction such as an enlarged prostate and ultimately the overflow of the bladder with the newly produced urine.
With overflow incontinence, the bladder overfills and leaks out the excess urine, and the patient leaks urine continuously.
Functional incontinence is usually experienced by the elderly or disabled people who, in fact, have normal bladder control but cannot get to the toilet in time because of their limited mobility.
It is true that, as the risk factors for incontinence increase with age, the probability of experiencing continence-related issues increases too.
However, urinary incontinence can also be seen in children, adolescents, and adults too.
Nevertheless, if you often leak urine, do not accept it as a natural part of growing older.
Patients may abstain from reporting urinary incontinence due to embarrassment, but please keep in mind that urinary incontinence is often treatable. Seek medical assistance.
Obesity, smoking, and weak pelvic muscles are the main causes of urinary incontinence. Maintain a healthy diet and weight, do not smoke, and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with exercise to avoid incontinence.
For diagnosis, your doctor will perform a physical examination and will take your detailed medical history.
Depending on the findings of your medical history and physical examination, further testing may be required by your doctor.
One of the most common side effects of radical prostatectomy is stress urinary incontinence.
It is expected for post radical prostatectomy SUI to be resolved within one year following surgery. In some cases, patients may continue to experience SUI without any improvement over time. If you are having issues with bladder control and is an issue six months after your procedure, you should see a specialized physician to seek medical advice and, if necessary, discuss your treatment options.
Remember that most urinary incontinence cases are treatable. Depending on the severity and the type of your urinary incontinence, your doctor will decide with you on the best treatment option.
Commonly there are two treatment options:
1) Conservative treatment (e.g., medicines, special exercises)
2) Surgical treatment (e.g., Artificial Urinary Sphincter)
Artificial Urinary Sphincter (AUS) is a medical device specifically designed to treat stress urinary incontinence.
Artificial Urinary Sphincter is a surgical treatment option when non-surgical or behavioral treatment options fail. Artificial Urinary Sphincter placement is regarded as the “gold standard” in the surgical treatment of SUI.
A specialized physician (i.e., urologist) will surgically place the artificial urinary sphincter in the body.
Artificial Urinary Sphincter will mimic the role of a healthy urinary sphincter (the two muscles controlling the exit of urine from the bladder through the urethra). Artificial Urinary Sphincter will close the urethra preventing urine leakage. The patient will squeeze a pump located in his scrotum to release the cuff over the urethra and void. The cuff will return to its closed state in around 2 minutes to prevent urine leakage after voiding.
ContiClassic® Artificial Urinary Sphincter has wider occlusive cuff size options. This will enable your surgeon to choose the occlusive cuff that fits best with your urethral anatomy.
In some cases, double-cuff placement might be preferred. EasyClick™ Y-Connector will enable a double-cuff configuration of the device.
ContiClassic® Artificial Urinary Sphincter incorporates a hydrophilic coating on all device surfaces. This hydrophilic coating will give your surgeon the freedom to choose the aqueous solution she will dip the device before implantation.
It is expected that a full recovery from artificial urinary sphincter implantation could take up to 6 weeks. Please keep in mind that every patient will have a different timeline for recovery. Your physician will manage your post-op care. You need to follow your physician’s suggestions for a speedy recovery. Your implanted Artificial Urinary Sphincter will be activated by your physician in your follow-up appointment, which is generally scheduled for four to six weeks after implantation.
All components of the artificial urinary sphincter are concealed in your body and can not be noticed from the outside. Others will not know that you have an artificial urinary sphincter implanted unless you choose to disclose.
Aside from stress urinary incontinence, erectile dysfunction is another common side effect of radical prostatectomy surgery. If you are experiencing both SUI and erectile dysfunction consult a specialized physician. Artificial Urinary Sphincter can be used simultaneously with Inflatable Penile Prosthesis (e.g. Infla10 Three-Piece Inflatable Penile Prosthesis).
1 Rigicon® ContiClassic® Artifical Urinary Sphincter Instructions for Use.
2 Boysen, William et al. “Combined Placement of Artificial Urinary Sphincter and Inflatable Penile Prosthesis Does Not Increase Risk of Perioperative Complications or Impact Long-term Device Survival.” Urology vol. 124 (2019): 264-270.