A trial of devices for urinary incontinence after treatment for prostate cancer

BJU Int. 2015 Sep;116(3):432-42. doi: 10.1111/bju.13016. Epub 2015 Apr 6.


Objective: To compare the performance of three continence management devices and absorbent pads used by men with persistent urinary incontinence (>1 year) after treatment for prostate cancer.

Patients and methods: Randomised, controlled trial of 56 men with 1-year follow-up. Three devices were tested for 3 weeks each: sheath drainage system, body-worn urinal (BWU) and penile clamp. Device and pad performance were assessed. Quality of life (QoL) was measured at baseline and follow-up with the King's Health Questionnaire. Stated (intended use) and revealed (actual use) preference for products were assessed. Value-for-money was gathered.

Results: Substantial and significant differences in performance were found. The sheath was rated as 'good' for extended use (e.g. golf and travel) when pad changing is difficult; for keeping skin dry, not leaking, not smelling and convenient for storage and travel. The BWU was generally rated worse than the sheath and was mainly used for similar activities but by men who could not use a sheath (e.g. retracted penis) and was not good for seated activities. The clamp was good for short vigorous activities like swimming/exercise; it was the most secure, least likely to leak, most discreet but almost all men described it as uncomfortable or painful. The pads were good for everyday activities and best for night-time use; most easy to use, comfortable when dry but most likely to leak and most uncomfortable when wet. There was a preference for having a mixture of products to meet daytime needs; around two-thirds of men were using a combination of pads and devices after testing compared with baseline.

Conclusions: This is the first trial to systematically compare different continence management devices for men. Pads and devices have different strengths, which make them particularly suited to certain circumstances and activities. Most men prefer to use pads at night but would choose a mixture of pads and devices during the day. Device limitations were important but may be overcome by better design.

Keywords: King's Health Questionnaire; body-worn urinal; penile compression device; quality of life; sheath drainage system.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorbent Pads
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostatectomy / adverse effects*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Quality of Life
  • Urinary Incontinence / epidemiology*
  • Urinary Incontinence / etiology*
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy*