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What can you expect after prostate surgery?

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After prostate surgery, several changes can strike the patient's urinary system, including a lack of control over urination and, in some cases, erectile dysfunction. This refers to the inability to develop an erection that accomplishes sexual penetration, according to the American Cancer Society.

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Urinary incontinence after prostate surgery happens in one of three main types, explains the American Cancer Society. Stress incontinence involves leakage of urine when the area receives stress, such as during exercise or after a sneeze, laugh or cough. In this case, the muscular valve holding urine inside the bladder is not working properly. Prostate surgery can damage these muscles.

The second type is overflow incontinence, in which a man cannot empty his bladder completely, states the American Cancer Society. Urination takes a while to begin and consists of a stream that has almost no force. In this case, scar tissue has narrowed or blocked the outlet from the bladder.

With urge incontinence, the need to urinate comes suddenly. This happens when the bladder develops excessive sensitivity to the stretching process as it fills up with urine. In most cases, these types of incontinence resolve over a few months, notes the American Cancer Society.

Erectile dysfunction involves two bundles of nerves, one on each side of the prostate. In some cases of prostate cancer, the surgeon has to remove the nerves, meaning that spontaneous erections are impossible; however, such aids as prescription medicines, implants or vacuum devices help men achieve erections. Even in those cases, orgasms are not as intense and often do not involve the ejaculation of semen, as stated by the American Cancer Society.

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