Prostate Rehab and Exercises

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in Irish men, after skin cancer, with 1 in 7 men diagnosed in their lifetime. If it is diagnosed early it can be treated successfully in most cases. Treatment that involves surgery to remove the prostate may result in some post-operative symptoms such as bladder weakness or sexual dysfunction. Bladder symptoms may include rushing to the toilet more often, not making it to the toilet on time or leaking urine as a result of coughing, sneezing, lifting or exercising. Sexual dysfunction may include reduced erectile function or sensation. Many of these symptoms can be improved with physiotherapy assessment and treatment.

Physiotherapy for these symptoms may include an assessment of your symptoms, the impact they are having on your day-to-day life and a physical assessment of the pelvic floor muscles. Treatments are available to improve your quality of life and return to work, exercise and your social life. These may include bladder retraining strategies, pelvic floor muscle rehabilitation, advice regarding penile rehabilitation and if appropriate, muscle stimulation, biofeedback, acupuncture and functional exercise strategies.

It is important that you are individually assessed to ascertain the type of dysfunction that is causing your symptoms in order to follow the best course of treatment but the following tips may be useful if you suffer from any of the above mentioned symptoms:

– Do not restrict your fluid intake as this can irritate the bladder further. Adults should drink approximately 1.5 – 2 litres of fluids each day, the majority of which should be water. Try to sip small amounts spread throughout the day.

– Avoid alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks, which are known bladder irritants. Eliminate tea, coffee, green tea, energy drinks and soft drinks. Drink decaffeinated tea and coffee if you must! Reducing juices and artificial sweeteners can also help.

– Try to avoid going to the toilet ‘just in case’.

– Watch your weight, aim for a BMI of 19 – 25 ideally. Being overweight or obese has been shown to significantly effect bladder symptoms.

– Avoid constipation as this puts pressure on the pelvic floor, may cause irritation of the bladder and worsen your symptoms. Adequate water intake will help, as will a balanced diet with enough fibre, vegetables and fruit.

– Regular physical activity can also keep the bowels moving regularly and optimise bladder and bowel function overall.

– Regular pelvic floor muscle exercises have been shown to improve continence and erectile function.

– If you are struggling with symptoms post-prostate surgery your physiotherapist will assess you and provide you with specific pelvic floor muscle exercises and bladder retraining strategies. It’s important that these are specific to you as every bladder and pelvic floor is