September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. It's an annual campaign to raise awareness of the disease. The goal is to support those affected by prostate cancer and encourage health-promoting behaviors. All men are at risk for prostate cancer. According to the CDC, "Out of every 100 American men, about 13 will get prostate cancer during their lifetime."
Fortunately, with early detection, most men can expect to be cured. There are a number of treatment options, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Physical therapy for prostate cancer should also be part of the treatment plan since there are side effects from the surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Radiation can irritate the bladder, leading to urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. It's a common but very embarrassing problem. The severity can range from occasionally leakage (when you cough or sneeze) to having an urge to urinate that's so sudden you can't make it to the bathroom in time. You may also experience pelvic pain or sexual dysfunction as a result of prostate treatment. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, "Nearly all men will experience erectile dysfunction for a few months after their surgery, with 40% to 50% returning to pre-treatment function after a year."
Seeing a physical therapist can help if you are experiencing any of these side effects. We can help strengthen weak pelvic floor muscles, tackle incontinence issues, decrease sexual dysfunction, increase energy, and re-condition after treatment. The American Urological Association guidelines for Incontinence After Prostate recommend pelvic floor muscle exercises or pelvic floor muscle training in the immediate post-operative period.
Physical activity and exercises are critical factors in prostate health for both fighting the disease and preventing recurrence. Those who lead an active lifestyle have better survival rates than those who do not. At Rainey Pain & Performance, we are here to assist you with improving your quality of life before and after prostate cancer treatment.