Urinary incontinence is a sensitive issue for men. We all take our ability to hold back urine for granted. But when you have an uncontrollable urge to urinate, it can cause both stress and embarrassment in any public or social situation. Some men experience incontinence because of overactive bladder issues. But for other men, they may have suffered damage to their urinary sphincter.
Every man has a muscle called a urinary sphincter. The purpose of this muscle is to manage the urine flow from the bladder. For example, when you want to hold your urine because you have to find a bathroom, it is the urinary sphincter muscle that makes this possible. It also prevents urine leakage as well.
Unfortunately, any damage inflicted upon the urinary sphincter will prevent it from functioning correctly. Then you could experience urinary incontinence and leakage at the same time. Most men don’t experience this problem naturally. When the urinary sphincter gets damaged, it can usually be attributed to a physical injury or complication from surgery.
Some men who receive prostate surgery come out of it with a damaged urinary sphincter. They won’t notice anything is wrong until urinary incontinence strikes them unexpectedly. The inability to control their urine might seem alarming, but it is not surprising if they’ve recently had prostate surgery.
Your urologist should start the treatment process by administering physical therapy and standard medications. Sometimes the urinary sphincter will recover with the assistance of these treatments. But if the urinary incontinence continues, the urologist will conduct more comprehensive diagnostic tests to determine the extent of the sphincter damage.
If the muscle damage is too severe, an artificial urinary sphincter implant is the best alternative solution. An artificial urinary sphincter is a unique device that mimics the function of the natural sphincter muscle. Surgery is required for the implantation of the device to be successful. There is no other way to do it.
The urologist puts the patient under a general or local anesthetic. Once the anesthesia takes effect, the urologist will proceed by making an incision between the rectum and scrotum. Another incision will also get made in the groin area. These incisions allow the urologist to gain access to the urethra.
A cuff gets inserted around the urethra, while a pump gets inserted into the scrotum. A special pressure-managing balloon gets inserted behind the abdominal muscles. Tubes connect the pump and groin area. All these components work together to sustain the function of the sphincter.
The urologist closes the incisions after all the implanted components are correctly connected. The cuff stays around the urethra for between 4 to 6 weeks, but the recovery time from the surgery only takes between 2 to 3 weeks. The device inside your body won’t be activated until the recovery process is complete. No further surgery is required to activate the device.
Patients must continue to attend their regular checkups with the urologist. Their recovery status needs close monitoring. The best thing for a patient to do is to take it easy and relax during the weeks of their recovery. Any high-intense physical activity or exertion could cause complications for the device.
Lesson to Remember
Please remember to try all alternative treatments before agreeing to an artificial urinary sphincter implant. Most men don’t experience long-term urinary incontinence after prostate surgery. It is usually a short-term problem that goes away after a few weeks or months. But if you continue to experience urinary incontinence afterwards, then you might not have any other choice left. An artificial urinary sphincter implant might seem extreme, but it is highly effective.