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Symptom Management:

Symptom Management

Side Effects of Treatment
Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Appetite Loss
Bladder Disturbances
Incontinence - Urinary
Dryness of the Mouth
Fluid and Electrolyte Imbalances
Flu-like Syndrome
Hair Loss
Menopausal Symptoms
Nausea & Vomiting
Neurological Disturbances
Spinal Cord Compression
Peritoneal Effusions
Shortness of Breath
Skin Conditions
Sleep Problems (Insomnia/Oversleeping)
Sore Mouth
Bone Metastases
Sexuality Issues
Sexual Dysfunction
Urinary Incontinence

Symptom and Description A person who cannot control the flow of urine has urinary incontinence. This loss of bladder control can involve a little leakage of urine when a person sneezes or coughs, or a total lack of control over urination. Urinary incontinence commonly occurs for several months after surgery, such as removal of the prostate, because of the surgery in the area of the bladder. Temporary incontinence can also occur with urinary tract infections and irritations.

Learning Needs You can help manage incontinence when it occurs by learning to:

  • Keep track of the times that you urinate and/or are incontinent
  • Perform certain exercises
  • Take good care of your skin
  • Take certain medications

Prevention It is common to experience some loss of bladder control after surgeries such as removal of the prostate, but you can help to prevent its continuation by participating in its management.


  • Keep track of when you urinate by completing a ‘‘bladder diary’’.
  • Try to urinate according to a schedule. If you have been leaking or urinating every hour or more, then try to urinate only once every 60 minutes. If you have been leaking or urinating every half hour, then try to urinate only once every 30 minutes. Keep on that schedule even if you don’t feel the urge to urinate.
  • When you have been able to urinate at that schedule without leaking in between, then increase the time interval between attempts to urinate, by 30 minutes at a time. If you feel an urgent need to urinate in between the scheduled times, try relaxation or distraction (for instance, balance your checkbook!) and the urgency may go away for a while.
  • Practice pelvic muscle exercises taught to you by your nurse or doctor.
  • Keep the skin around your genital area, groin, buttocks, and upper thigh clean and as dry as possible. Wash with soap and water to remove urine. Your nurse can help you select a moisture barrier to protect your skin, if needed. Change wet clothing or bedding immediately. Wear loose clothing. Wear adult briefs with pads or absorbent pads to help absorb urine and keep your skin dry.
  • Call your nurse if your skin becomes reddened or irritated.
  • Take any medications prescribed to relax your bladder muscles.

Follow-up Bring any record of urination and leakage with you when you see your doctor or nurse. Extending the time intervals between urination can eventually get you back to ‘‘normal’’ or to a point at which you are satisfied with your urinary control. Many institutions have incontinence clinics with specialists who treat urinary incontinence of all types. Your nurse or doctor may refer you to these services.

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