Life After Cancer Treatment: Managing Bladder or Bowel Control Problems

Bladder and bowel problems are among the most upsetting issues people face after cancer treatment. People often feel ashamed or fearful to go out in public. "Going back to work was the hardest thing," one prostate cancer survivor noted.

This loss of control can happen after treatment for bladder, prostate, colon, rectal, ovarian, or other cancers. Your surgery may have left you with no bladder or bowel control at all. Or perhaps you still have some control, but you make lots of sudden trips to the bathroom. The opposite problem can happen when a medicine you are taking for pain causes constipation.

Getting Help

It is very important to tell your doctor about any changes in your bladder or bowel habits. Ask your doctor or nurse about:

  • Problems with constipation
  • Kegel exercises 
  • Medicines that may help
  • Help in coping with ostomies. If you have an ostomy, an opening from inside the body to the outside to pass urine or waste material, there are services and support groups to help you cope with changes.


Retrieved from on June 5, 2018.

Document source: 
National Cancer Institute