Bladder control may change after surgery or radiation therapy. You may find that you need to pass urine more often or in a hurry. Or you may leak a few drops of urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, strain or lift. This is called urinary incontinence and there are ways to manage it.
Tips for managing urinary incontinence
- Strengthening the muscles needed to control urine can help manage urinary incontinence. Find out how to exercise your pelvic floor muscles.
- Using continence pads can help you manage any leakage and prevent any loss of dignity.
- See a continence nurse or physiotherapist. They can develop a bladder training program for you – ask your doctor for a referral, or contact the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 or at Continence Foundation of Australia.
The blood vessels in the bowel and bladder can break more easily after radiation therapy. This can cause blood to appear in urine or faeces (poo), even months or years after treatment. Let your doctor know if this occurs so you can be given the appropriate treatment.
Podcast for people affected by cancer
Dr Pearly Khaw, Lead Radiation Oncologist, Gynae-Tumour Stream, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Deborah Neesham, Gynaecological Oncologist, The Royal Women’s Hospital and Frances Perry House, VIC; Kate Barber, 13 11 20 Consultant, VIC; Dr Alison Davis, Medical Oncologist, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Krystle Drewitt, Consumer; Shannon Philp, Nurse Practitioner, Gynaecological Oncology, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and The University of Sydney Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, NSW; Dr Robyn Sayer, Gynaecological Oncologist Cancer Surgeon, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Megan Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Cancer Council NSW; Melissa Whalen, Consumer.
We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
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