Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Urinary Problems and Prostate Cancer
prostate cancer and its treatment may cause urinary
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
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:
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerChristopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.