urethra—the tube that carries urine from your bladder and through your
penis—passes through the middle of the
prostate gland. When the prostate presses against the
urethra, you can have trouble passing urine. This could include trouble getting
started (urinary hesitancy), incomplete emptying, or a weak urine stream.
Sometimes, a urinary problem is caused by a prostate cancer tumor that is
pressing on the urethra. Most often, it is because of
benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is not
cancer but does make the prostate grow larger.
If you have urinary
symptoms, see your doctor to find out the cause. It may be cancer, or it may
not. If it is cancer, removing the cancer usually relieves the pressure on the
urethra. If prostate removal is not possible, surgery
to relieve the pressure on the urethra (TURP) may be
Urinary problems caused by treatment for prostate cancer
Because the prostate surrounds the urethra and is right next to the
bladder, surgery to remove the prostate and its cancer may damage nerves or the
bladder outlet muscle (sphincter). This weakens support for the lower bladder,
stress incontinence may develop. Radiation therapy can
cause increased urinary frequency and urgency. It may also cause narrowing of
the urethra, which makes urination difficult.
Some men will have incontinence following surgery or radiation for prostate cancer. This usually improves and in some cases resolves completely in 6 to 12 months. If you do not recover your control over urination in the first few
months or year after treatment, additional treatment for incontinence may help.
incontinence is long-term difficulty controlling
urine. Treatment is based on the type of incontinence and how much it affects your
life. For more information, see the topic
Urinary Incontinence in Men.
treatment for urinary incontinence includes the following:
Avoid drinking alcohol drinks, coffee, tea, or soda pop
Avoid drinking a lot of liquids in the evening
Have a schedule of urinating every 3
to 4 hours while you are awake, regardless of whether you feel the need.
If you are not able to empty your bladder all the way, practice
"double voiding" by urinating as much as possible, relaxing for a few moments,
and then urinating again.
Make a clearer, quicker path to the
bathroom and wear clothes that are easily removed, if you have trouble
reaching the bathroom before you urinate. Consider wearing clothing with
elastic waistbands or Velcro closures, or keep a urinal close to your bed or
Increase the amount
of fiber in your diet if constipation is a problem. Consider adding a small
amount of wheat bran, even a spoonful, to dishes you normally eat. See your
doctor if your constipation continues. For more information, see the Home
Treatment section of the topic
Constipation, Age 12 and Older.
some weight if you are overweight. Remember that effective weight-loss programs
depend on a combination of diet and exercise. For more information, see the
Weight Management and
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.