What to expect
If you have been experiencing bladder or bowel leakage for less than a year, then this may still improve. But if you have had leakage for more than a year it is unlikely that it will improve further without surgery. For more information on what you can do next, read about leakage for more than 12 months. Talk to your doctor or surgeon, it is important that you are honest with them about what your urinary and bowel symptoms are so that they can offer you the best treatment for you.
What can I do?
Is your incontinence making you reluctant to get on with your normal everyday activities?
Are you reluctant to pop out to the shops, go on long car journeys or play a leisurely game of golf?
If so, then you need to find the right mix of continence products that will work for you. There is a wide range of products available to suit your needs, you are not limited to just using pads. In fact, most men prefer having a selection of products. For personalised help and advice use the Product Advisor
14“I had three different products depending on what my day was going to be - was I going out, was I going to be mobile?”
Hear one man's experience of managing incontinence and work:
Below is a brief summary of the range of products available. Follow the links for more detailed information on each product group and to find out how to obtain them.
You are probably familiar with pads. You may have been given some from the hospital and it is quite common for men to continue using the same type when they go home. However, there are many kinds of pad. Take a look at the different types available for light incontinence and moderate to heavy incontinence - you may find a design that suits you better. Click here if you need help deciding how heavy your incontinence is.
Here are some examples of pads that are recommended by men:
5Disposable pants If you have moderate to heavy leakage you could consider disposable pants. They may be too expensive to use every day but some men find them good for occasional use e.g. when going out
6Shaped pads For lighter leakage, consider disposable shaped pads (leafs). They are available in white or grey and are a discreet pad, worn with tight-fitting underwear
Sheaths are a popular alternative to pads for many men. They can work well whether you lead an active lifestyle, are more sedentary or use a wheelchair. In the UK, sheaths are available on prescription from your GP. Find out about sheaths.
Products for a shorter length or retracted penis
Having a shorter length or retracted penis can be a side effect of prostate surgery. If you are experiencing this, there are specially designed products that could work better for you than a sheath. You may also find a urine director helpful to make easier passing urine when standing up.
If sheaths don't work for you or you would like to try a reusable device, a body-worn urinal could be an option. Body-worn urinals don't suit all men but, if you are mainly walking or carrying out activities in a standing position 1, they are worth considering.
Penile compression devices
If you are very active and want a secure product to prevent leakage for short periods (less than two hours at a time) when undertaking a strenuous activity (e.g. running, dancing, bending and lifting) you could consider using a penile compression device, also called a penile clamp.
If you find that you need to pass urine without much warning or first thing in the morning when standing up, it might be worth considering a 'bottle' or
An alternative for men with a shorter length or retracted penis is to use a female urinal which have a wider opening or a urine director.
Products for bowel leakage
If you have bowel leakage or find you have little warning and need to reach a toilet quickly, specialised bowel pads are available. Find out more about pads for bowel incontinence.
Other products that you may find helpful for bowel leakage are:
Anal plugs which are inserted into the rectum (like a suppository) and help to prevent any accidental bowel leakage or give you time to reach the toilet if you have a sudden urge to go.
Faecal collectors are available which stick to the skin around the anus. They are generally most helpful for people who are unwell and in bed.
Special continence swimming trunks protect against any bowel leakage whilst in the pool and are available in a variety of styles.
Bed and chair protection
If you are worried about wetting the bed or chair, you can purchase products designed to protect bedding and upholstery, disposable bedpads are an alternative option.
Other sources of help
In the UK:
Contact your Continence Advisor - you can be assessed for products by a continence advisor (specialist nurse). S/he may be able to provide some products or signpost you to good local sources. Either ask your GP for a referral or find your local clinic and refer yourself.
Apply for a Surgery Support Pack from Prostate Cancer UK. It contains useful information and product samples.
In the US:
You can find information on Continence Central.
Contact the Canadian Continence Foundation for local information.
Contact the Continence Foundation of Australia.
Useful things you can do
Download and print your own Urgent toilet card you can use this to ask for access to a toilet in shops and restaurants.
Alternatively, you can order a ready printed urgent toilet card
Hear a man talking about how he used the urgent toilet card:
Radar key – For a small charge this special key will give you access to disabled toilets in the UK which give additional privacy and hand washing facilities and also have disposal bins for continence products link.
In Europe the Euro Key is an alternative.
The Great British Toilet Map Is a great resource if you are out and about in an unfamiliar neighbourhood in the UK- find out in advance where the nearest public toilets are.
Australian public toilet map gives details of 16,000 publicly available toilets across Australia, including accessibility, opening hours and facilities, such as showers.
Local Prostate Cancer Support Groups These operate in local areas and communities and give you the opportunity to meet up with men with similar experiences to your own. Many men (and their families) get valuable support from them.