Prostate cancer is a relatively common condition, so is something that men and those who love them need to know about. In addition to understanding aspects of prostate cancer, such as risk factors and management options, it is also beneficial to know what it may be like to have prostate cancer surgery if that were necessary. Here, we share information from a prostate cancer recovery coach obtained through hundreds of visits with patients before and after their surgery.
- Most men who undergo prostate cancer surgery report only mild post-operative pain. It has been described as a sensation of doing a few too many sit-ups.
- Patients preparing for prostate cancer surgery often fear having a catheter. This small tube is inserted once the patient is anesthetized, so it is not felt. After surgery, most patients remain quite comfortable with the catheter in and have no problems changing from large-capacity bags to small-capacity bags. It is even comfortable to move around during the day wearing the small-capacity bag. The catheter is usually removed in a week or two.
- Patients can expect to be up and walking the night of their surgery. Most are released from the hospital the day after their procedure with instruction to walk at least a few times a day. This is beneficial to help move gas through the body cavity, which can be the main source of post-operative discomfort.
- Right after surgery, there may be a strong urge to urinate. This is caused by the small balloon that holds the catheter in place. While the sensation may feel odd, there is nothing to worry about. Urine will empty into the catheter bag.
- It is not uncommon for urine leakage to occur when the catheter is removed. For this reason, it is beneficial to come to this appointment prepared with incontinence pads and a compression garment like light compression underwear. The compression keeps the pad in place, reducing the risk of leaks.
- Urine leakage should resolve over time. This can take a few weeks or a few months. Until it does, it is wise to carry incontinence pads in case a change is needed. It can also be helpful to avoid stimulants like caffeine that could create a strong urge to urinate. Finally, leakage may be reduced by emptying the bladder frequently.