What You Need to Know About Living in Diapers After Prostate Surgery

What You Need to Know About Living in Diapers After Prostate Surgery

Living & Loving with Prostate Cancer
Before a prostatectomy, men receive a warning about one of the most unpleasant, and life-altering events that occur following prostate surgery. Most men lose urinary control, referred to as urinary incontinence. According to Florida Hospital Global Robotics Institute “Recovery from incontinence after prostate surgery is unique to every patient, but rarely takes more than 3 months. Most men regain urinary control within 3 months.”

The way I determined how many diapers I’d wear daily caused me months of unnecessary grief, shame and embarrassment. First, I decided how much money I wanted to waste on diapers every day. Then I divided that number by the cost of each diaper. This equation led me to a five-diaper-a-day budget. For some men, five diapers a day might be enough to stay dry. For me, it wasn’t.

Day after day, I’d leave home only to find my jeans urine-soaked within a few hours. My next foolish move involved limiting my fluid intake until I could live without leaking out of my five-diapers-a-day budget. Reducing my fluid intake did not prevent public accidents.

It took me more than a month with countless public accidents to figure out what every girl learns in adolescence. You base the number of times you need to change on your flow, NOT by how much you want to spend per day. Eventually, I discovered it would take 15 diapers a day to keep me accident free.

Here are some helpful tips about living in diapers:

  • Find the brand that fits you around your thigh. If there’s space there, odds are you won’t stay dry long. Find a brand of diapers that fit snugly.
  • To determine how long you can stay in a diaper, stay in one until you leak. Stay in your next diaper 30 minutes less. Keep adjusting your time until you find the maximum number of hours you can go without your diaper leaking.
  • Keep a spare change of clothing, powder, and extra diapers, with you in your car or in a back-pack in case of a public accident.
  • To maximize your sleep time, create a “super diaper.” This is a diaper where you add a pad. In the middle of the night, should you wake up, take the pad out and either put in another pad, or go back to sleep in your diaper without a pad. This takes so little time, you can get back to sleep quickly.
  • Wear black nylon pants on outings. They don’t show wet spots and they dry quickly.
  • Don’t lose your perspective. For most men, living in diapers is temporary.

If you have other tips for living in diapers, please share them.

Note: Prostate Cancer News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Prostate Cancer News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to prostate cancer.

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Rick Redner received his master’s degree in social work from Michigan State University. He has spent many years working as a medical and psychiatric social worker He is the author of the award winning book I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours? His second book Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants won the Beverly Hills International Book Awards in Men's Health in 2016.

One comment

  1. Beverly says:

    Hello! I want to share some very valuable information. My husband had a prostatectomy nearly a year ago. Like most men, the surgeon bid him farewell with nothing but a recommendation to use adult diapers and do his Kegal exercises. This was not a realistic solution for going back to work in a small office, with the bathroom down the hall! After research, trial and error, we discovered the “external catheter”, or condom catheter. This is a huge game changer!! It works like a condom, rolled over the penis, attached to catheter tubing, with a small “leg bag” for during the day, and a larger “night bag” for sleep. It changed his life! With this device, he could discreetly visit the bathroom, empty the leg bag, and carry on. No diapers, no sitting in wet pee. The condoms come in various sizes, so you need to measure. The devices are sold in medical supply stores, and are inexpensive, but can also be covered by insurance. It is such a great solution, and we have no idea as to why all doctors do not advise their prostate surgery patients about this! Please look into this if you are facing prostate surgery – it will allow you an almost normal recovery. The only problem was some mild irritation of the penis, from the condom part of catheter. It’s best to wear it just part of the day, and give the penis a break when at home, etc. SO much better than diapers!!

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