Afex continence system

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 390
   Posted 5/14/2009 5:22 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi guys,
I'm about seven weeks post surgery awaiting further treatment but my most immediate obstacle is the incontinence issue. Still very wet night and day (less at night of course). Doing Kegels and wearing Depends pants when home.(pads do not suffice).   This type of protection however would not be enough in my workplace. I wear tha Afex incontinence bag system.
I have recently heard that this system could retard or delay the healing process. Anyone else aware of this information?

Age 61
Northeastern Penna.
11/08/08 annual checkup (3 yrs late) PSA 8.04 from previously 2.7 in 11/05
1/23/09 biopsy 12 cores positive, 10 cores Gleason 7, 2 cores Gleason 8 70% tumor
2/06/09 cat +bone scans clean ..
3/26/09 RRP surgery Post op path .. upgraded to Gleason 9 (5+4), seminal vesicles involved, several positive margins, 2 of 9 lymph nodes positive.
80% involved
4/4/09 Dr. advising wait for significant rise in PSA and initate hormonal treatment.
1st post op at 4 weeks PSA  .6  urologist concerned
will retest in one month

Steve n Dallas
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4848
   Posted 5/14/2009 5:55 AM (GMT -6)   
Info on the subject for guys like me that haven't heard of it:
I can't see how it could retard the process being that it's a device to collect urine versus absorb it.
Age 54   - 5'11"   205lbs
Overall Heath Condition - Good
PSA - July 2007 & Jan 2008 -> 1.3
Biopsy - 03/04/08 -> Gleason 6 
06/25/08 - Da Vinci robotic laparoscopy
Catheter in for five weeks.
Dry after 3 months.
10/03/08 - 1st Quarter PSA -> less then .01
01/16/09 - 2nd Quarter PSA -> less then .01
Surgeon - Keith A. Waguespack, M.D.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 655
   Posted 5/14/2009 6:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Greetings, Jim.  Sorry you are continuing to have these issues.  I know it is hard to remember your initial objective was to drain the swamp when you are up to your armpits in alligators....but just remember that in most cases it takes months to regain continence.  I remember guy after guy over this past year saying that he was fighting this issue and then all of a sudden it got better.  Hang in there and do your exercises and we'll trust that you'll be one of the next ones we hear from that it is getting better.  It's difficult to be patient but have confidence it will happen.  David

Age 55
Diagnosed Dec 2007 during annual routine physical
PSA doubled from previous year from 1.5 to 3.2
12 biopsies - 2 positive with 2 marginal
Gleason 3 + 3 = 6
RRP 4 Feb 08
Both nerves spared
Good pathology - no margins - all encapsulated - Gleason 4 + 3 = 7
Catheter out Feb 13 - wore pad for couple of days - pad free Feb 16
Great wife and family who take very good care of me

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 39
   Posted 5/16/2009 1:54 PM (GMT -6)   


Yes.  I have heard that use of incontinence devices, such as the Afex system, can retard or delay the healing or continence process.

Specifically, Dr. Patrick Walsh wrote "Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer", which I understand to be the classic book on this topic.  One of the prior HW contributors (bluebird) quoted p. 244 of Dr. Walsh's book:

     "First, whatever you do, do not wear an incontinence device with an attached leg bag, condom catheter, or a clamp. If you use any artificial device, you will hurt yourself in the long run. You won't be able to recover your urinary control because you won't develop the muscle control you need."

This advice is repeated almost verbatim by Johns Hopkins at and by the Univ. of Pittsburgh at

I did mention this to my doctor after I acquired my Afex system, and he was quick to agree that such artificial devices "teach" your body to be incontinent. However, as I do need some relief from time to time from the constant wetness of the diapers, he also agreed that intermittent use of the Afex system for special events was both logical and reasonable, and therefore O.K.

BTW, while I still think that the Afex system is good, I have found that their plastic legs bags are not durable. Mine developed a leak in less than 1 mo. of intermittent usage.



Last PSA prior to biopsy  -  11.9
Biopsy  -  8/7/2008
Cancer findings at left lateral and left medial apex of prostate
Gleason score  -  3+3 = 6
Staging  -  T1c
Prostate size/weight  -  128 cc./ 99 grams
Bone and CT scans  -  9/12/2008  -  both clear
Age at biopsy  -  65         Health  -  Excellent (other PCa)  (Lift weights, play golf & tennis (incl. singles))
da Vinci RP surgery  -  12/15/2008 at Naples Hosp.
Surgeon  -  Dr. Wm. Figlesthaler
Hosp. Stay  -  1 night
Catheter removed  -  12/23/2008
Post-Op blood tests  -  2/2/2009 & 3/27/2009                     PSA  -  undetectable
Scheduled 12 weeks biofeedback, coupled with electrical stimulation  (started 3/3/2009)

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 5/16/2009 7:34 PM (GMT -6)   
I've also read that continence can be somewhat delayed because you're not working on those continence muscles when you're using the condom catheter system. But I've also read comments by men who say systems like afex are literally giving them their lives back so they can go to work, etc. So, it seems as though it's a tradeoff. Certainly, when at home, it would be wise, as you're doing, to not use the system. Sounds like you're doing exactly what you need to do at this time to "make your life work."

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 260
   Posted 5/20/2009 8:53 PM (GMT -6)   
I've been using the Afex system for about 2 months now. It has definitely given me back the freedom to do the things I like to do. I wear it for about 12 hours per day, switching to pads at night.

While I'm wearing the Afex system I measure my progress by noting how much urine is in the bag versus relieving myself normally. I'm pleased to see a significant average decrease in the bag over the last 2 months. I think a lot of it has to do with always being conscience of my progress and having a reliable means of measuring it. It makes me do my best to improve my success.

When I started using the Afex system I was using about 12 pads per day. Now I think I would get by with 1 pad. As of this week when I go to the men's room at work there is barely a dribble in the bag. I'm drinking about 72 ounces of water per day and it's about 180 paces to the men's room. I believe the Afex system has actually helped me achieve more continence because watching my success or failure is so easy.

As RHC Jr. says, the leg bag is poor quality and barely lasts more than a month. Hopefully I will be able to discard the whole thing in the near future.

Age 69, First ever PSA 7.8 taken June 2008, Biopsy July 2008, 10 of 12 cores positive, Gleason 3+3=6
da Vinci surgery December 10, 2008, catheter removed December 29 2008
St. Lukes Hospital, Bethlehem, Pa.
Dr. Frank Tamarkin

Prostate weight 73.0 grams, Gleason 3+3=6, stage pT3a
Tumor locations: right anterior apex, right posterior apex to mid
left anterior mid to base, left posterior apex to mid
extensive perineural invasion in right anterior apex, right and left posterior apex to mid
seminal vesicles negative

First post PSA < .1 Jan 16 2009
Second post PSA < .1 Apr 17 2009

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