A new study has shown that many men who suffer from urinary incontinence following prostate cancer surgery can significantly reduce their symptoms by adopting some relatively simple behavioral changes.
The study followed a group of 208 men who were randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group was taught how to modify their behavior to hopefully lessen symptoms, the second group had behavioral training as well as biofeedback and pelvic floor electrical stimulation, and the third group received no specific treatment.
Overall, the men in the first two groups who received behavioral training showed a roughly 50% decrease in the number of incontinence events per week compared with the men who received no specific training or therapy. There was no significant difference between the first two study groups. These results held up for at least 12 months as well.
The behavioral training in this study involved four home visits by a health care practitioner who instructed the men on how to do pelvic floor exercises including how to make use of pelvic muscle contraction to stop the urine stream and prevent accidents.
Of note as well, all of the men enrolled in the study had undergone surgery at least one year before entering the study suggesting that even persistent, chronic incontinence problems may benefit from behavioral therapy like that used in this study.
The study was published in the January 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).