TUESDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly two-thirds of men who have prostate cancer surgery experience urinary incontinence afterward, but new research suggests that behavioral therapy can help lessen bladder control problems for a significant number of them.
After eight weeks of behavioral therapy -- including fluid management, pelvic exercises and bladder control techniques -- the researchers found a 55 percent reduction in incontinence episodes.
"Behavioral therapy is one more option for men," said study author Dr. Patricia S. Good, a professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "It's not a perfect treatment, and it does require work, but it also provides a significant improvement in quality of life."
The findings are reported in the Jan. 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Over a lifetime, about one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. One treatment option, called a radical prostatectomy, includes removing the prostate gland and surrounding tissue as well as the seminal vesicles, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. And, though the surgery has been proven effective for removing the cancer, it can cause serious side effects, including long-lasting urinary incontinence in as many as 65 percent of the men who undergo the surgery, according to the researchers.
An additional surgical intervention is available to help with urinary incontinence, but many men who've already gone through cancer surgery are reluctant to have another surgical procedure, they point out.
Other options that might help with incontinence include behavioral therapy, biofeedback and pelvic floor electrical stimulation. To see which of these alternatives might be helpful, Goode and her colleagues recruited a group of 208 men, 51 to 84 years old, who were experiencing urinary incontinence a year or mo
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