Some cancer treatments like pelvic surgery or pelvic radiotherapy may cause differing types of urinary dysfunction. Depending on where your cancer is, and what kind of treatment you receive, urinary dysfunction or incontinence can occur.
Some cancers, and cancer treatments, can change the way your body works. The sphincter muscles act like a valve that holds urine in or releases it. Some cancers and their treatments can damage or change these muscles and nerves causing incontinence.
Cancer related incontinence:
Different cancers come with different risks, but cancers of the bladder, prostate, colorectum and cervical cancers bring more of a risk of incontinence simply by where the organ is located. Similarly, treatments like radiotherapy or surgery to the pelvis, all carry side effects such as damage or weakening of the muscles that control urination.
Treatments for incontinence:
- Bladder Training- In some cases, you may have to teach your bladder how to work again. You do this by holding off going to the toilet when you feel the urge to go, schedule trips to the toilet and try and space them out when possible and managing the amount of fluid you take in.
- Physical Therapy- Doing exercises like Kegel exercise , can help to strengthen the muscles used to control the flow of your urine.
- Collagen – Injections of collagen into the neck of the bladder can reduce leaking and give you better control over.
- Oestrogen –Women can try applying the hormone oestrogen to the urethra or vaginal tissue to help strengthen the bladder and give themselves more control over urination. This is a prescribed application.
- Medication- certain medications can be prescribed that may help to lessen the effects of incontinence.
- On the HSE continence promotion page, you will find information on types of incontinence and how to mange it.
- The Continence Foundation of Ireland is full of helpful resources on how to cope with continence.
- Physiotherapy can also aid in combating incontinence. For more information visit The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
Sometimes, incontinence can not be helped, but TENA products are specifically designed to ensure you are able to go about your day without worry. For information on these products and to buy them online visit Tena.
- Your local Continence Advisor
- Your local Physiotherapist
- Your local Public Health Nurse
- Your local Occupational Therapist to help with resources such as incontinence pads and equipment.