Full Bladder Feeling

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 2/28/2011 3:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Sometimes it seems like I must have the smallest bladder in the world.  I am getting a pretty good handle on being continent at about 4 1/2 weeks out from surgery.  I can build up a volume of urine and go when I want to go (mostly).
Sometimes when I go I have a lot of liquid stored up.  But many times, I get the urge to go and there is hardly anything there eventhough I feel like I need to go just as bad as if I had a full bladder.
I am trying the magnesium treatment (250 mg) that another member here posted about.  But the effects are inconsistent.
Before I had surgery I had similar symptoms.  I attributed that to BPH, which is different than PCa.  Previously, I thought that my enlarged prostate was pushing up against my bladder giving me the urge to pee.
Now, logically, it seems with the prostate gone there should be less of an urge to pee since it is not pushing up against the bladder.
It does seem like the full bladder feeling with no pee symptoms are getting better as time goes on.  But I was wondering if this is a normal situation for guys that have had surgery (or other treatments).  And, are there any other tricks, treatments or excercises that help with this.
Also, does anyone know what causes this?
Robert in AZ
Age 58; da Vinci on 1/26/2011
PSA History: 10/2005 = 1.7; 10/2007 = 2.8; 10/2009 = 3.6; 10/2010 = 4.9
Abnormal DRE in 2009; Increasingly abnormal DRE in 2010
Thank you POPs!
Biopsy on 11/23/2010: GS = 3+4 (right side) with 4 of 6 cores positive @ 40%.
Post-OP pathology: GS=3+4; tumor = 35%; pT3b; R. seminal vesicle invasion; Extraprostatic extension into the R. bladder neck; margins uninvolve

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 4093
   Posted 2/28/2011 3:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Robert -

I'mhappy to read to your post because I had the same symptoms pre surgery and right after surgery. Indeed, understanding/dealing with my bladder was the bigges tissue for me post op.

I am 7 weeks out of surgery.

My biggest challenge after surgery was going back to work after three weeks. This involves driving into Manhattan via tunnel and thanks to the amount of snow we had, this took 2 hours each way. I never wet myself, but I came close. 2 hours and change was my limit.

It's a double edged sword because in order to heal my urethra and gain confidence in my peeing again post catheter i was drinking up to 25 glasses of water a day and peeing every 15 minutes. As soon as I started going back to work I had to stop that routine. While at work I would drink a lot but would have to time it carefully and stop drinking around 4PM in anticipation of my commute home.

The first 3-5 weeks were sketchy, now though I'm in much better control vis-a-vis holding it in 2+ hours.

You'll get better in weeks.

Steve n Dallas
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4848
   Posted 2/28/2011 3:30 PM (GMT -6)   

When ever you feel the urge to go... try not to give in. Might help stretch the bladder a bit.

When I'm nervous - I feel like I need to pee like a race horse even tho very little will come out...


Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 818
   Posted 2/28/2011 3:50 PM (GMT -6)   
With the surgery, you (your bladder) might have become more sensitive to some drinks, caffeine in coffee or team, for example.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 363
   Posted 2/28/2011 4:10 PM (GMT -6)   
It took me a while for my bladder to re-learn what full felt like. I'm with Steve, I held it as long as I could (when at home just in case) to "stretch" my bladder. Sure enough a few months out full=full and pressure and need to go builds up just as it did before. I seem to have a bit smaller capacity than before but it's hard to tell the stream is so much stronger it empties so fast.

As with almost everything with our disease it takes time to find out what our new "normal" is.

Dave in Durango CO
07-06 PSA 2.5
01-08 PSA 5.5
09-09 PSA 6.5
12-09 Biopsy, initial Gleason 9 (4+5) later reduced to 8 with tertiary 5
03-01-10 Age 55 RRP in Durango CO by Dr Sejal Quale and Dr Shandra Wilson
03-16-10 Path' G-8 (4+4+5) Bilateral involving 21% of left lobe, 3% of right lobe, SVI, Focal positive margin, pT3b NO MX

All PSA as of 1-25-11 <0.04

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 172
   Posted 3/1/2011 9:28 AM (GMT -6)   
I had the same problems post surgery and some prior to surgery. I am the one who keeps talking about the magnesium and I can speak for my self here in that I had same full sensations and did what has already been mentioned..try to hold as long as you can to help strengthen bladder walls and keep taking the magnesium to help from that angle as well. It does get better. I am 5 months today post RRP I still get the urge or sensation of full bladder at about 200cc instead of 400-500 like before surgery. I can hold it, but feel the fullness sensation alot earlier than before.

Good luck
age 44 when diagnosed 45 now
RRP 9-28-10
gleason 3+3
pathology report clear
11-1-10 PSA 0.02
3 month 0.00
pump works ok
12-1-10 noctural erections, not very strong maybe 20%
tried all oral meds and nothing yet
Dr. R. Saint in Tulsa did my procedure, I do NOT recomend him!!
2-28-11 ED seems to be getting worse, no nocturnals for a week, and nothing spontanious at all still

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 24
   Posted 3/1/2011 10:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Bladder is the dumbest organ in you body. Needs to be retrained. I'm 8 weeks out and 90% dry during day and 100% evening and nights except for unexpected bending or lifting. As for the frequency I was told go when you need to and be comfortable. Over time it will work out.

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 143
   Posted 3/1/2011 11:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Since my surgery I swear I have a bladder the size of a walnut. I don't get a big bladder need to pee except at night but a sudden need more in my penis. I don't pee very much most of the time and my stream is hard to control. I am dry except when I strain.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 126
   Posted 3/1/2011 11:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi guys,

Well i am 11 weeks post op and still learning new bladder signals, i have found that i have had to experiment which drinks overstimulate my bladder and minimise them. I have found that any over two mugs of Decaf a day and my bladder control weakens, its the same with beer, two small i am ok but any more and i turn into a sprinkler system, also i have nearly quit drinking cola,

Any drink containing caffiene will overstimulate your bladder and i know its nearly impossible to avoid it, so i work towards minimising it.

Also if i spend time outside and get cold, that also triggers my bladder to weaken. Having said all this i am now dry at night and down to usually one pad in the day, two if i have been out in the cold and my bladder size is increasing meaning i can go longer between visits to the bathroom. I go every 2 or 3 hours in the day and rarely get up in the night so overall i am happy with where i am at now.

Take care, Bob.
Age 58
Prostate problems since early 40s
Ed since early 40s
April 2007 biopsy & all clear
July 2010 prostate swollen more, psa up to 5.6 August 6.7
September, biopsy again
October 7th diagnosed prostate cancer, Gleason grade 6 at 10% mass
December 13th 2010 open Radical Proctatectomy (non nerve sparing)
Pathology results came back Gleason grade 7 at 12% mass BUT clear margins
Catheter out Jan 5th 2011
Caverject for penile therapy 22nd Jan 2011
Dry at night since 1st Feb 2011

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 4093
   Posted 3/1/2011 1:35 PM (GMT -6)   
definitely agree on the caffeine. hard to stop drinking tea though.

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 131
   Posted 3/1/2011 2:16 PM (GMT -6)   
Sorry this is so long. I had a lot to cover:

I read the BPH sections of Dr. Patrick Walsh's book Surviving Prostate Cancer. To paraphrase, Walsh said that a bladder that has been subject to the influence of an enlarged prostate builds up a thick muscle wall. A normal bladder wall muscle is thin and supple. The thick walled bladder has a hard time expanding to fit more volume, tends to give urge incontinence feelings and can be so strong that leak occur.

In order to discuss the issue better for everyone, more data is needed so you are not just guessing how much you are urinating. While a Dr. will send you for tests on volume, sonogram of the bladder, probing around, etc., you can do a bit of charting yourself. Buy one of the urinals that have graduated measurements. Perhaps on a weekend or evening, hold off going until you are pretty uncomfortable but not leaking. Empty into the urinal and record the amount. Adult male bladders are suppose to hold approximately 16 oz or 473 ml when full. The brain and bladder work together. The bladder tells the brain that it needs some attention when it reaches around 200 ml. At 250 ml and beyond the brain tells the kidneys to slow down production a bit. Urges to urinate escalate as the volume increases. The pain is nature telling you not to overfill.

Chart how much you drink and when. The urge to void is related to overactive bladder and happens with the prostate in place when BPH is present but even those without any BPH can have overactive bladder symptoms. I suspect and just as Walsh describes, because the prostate is removed the hyper muscular bladder does not disappear into thin air. You are still left with overactive bladder symptoms and or urge incontinence. Part of overcoming overactive bladder is to keep drinking fluids, strengthen the pelvic floor muscles (Kegel exercises).

When the urge starts, hold off for 5 minutes then void. Add 5 minutes each week to holding off voiding until you achieve as close to 16 oz as possible. This part is not easy to do but it does help.

In my case: surgery in July 2010: Once I could actually hold urine in my bladder about 2 months later, I could barely hold 75 ml. Within the next 2 months I worked up to 100 ml before I really had to go or I started to leak. By the 5th month I got to 200 ml before I was dying to go. Right now at 7 months I am up to 250 to 260 ml before I reach agony. These volumes are for sitting down when feeling the urge. If I am continuously standing, right now I still only hold around 150 before my sphincter says it needs relief against the pressure. I go once in the middle of the night. That is a whole different story. I can hit the ultimate goal out of the park. On average when I get up around 2:30 am to go I void around 400 to 500 ml. So the bladder I have is capable but until the bladder walls become adapted to my new condition, I guess I will still have to work my way up to a greater capacity.

As stated by others, my stream is far stronger than the little girly dribble I did with my prostate and BPH in play. Also, I trained myself to void quickly and NOT to stand at the toilet and dribble and squirt like I did when my prostate was still in me. Finish decisively, do 2 or 3 kegels to empty the remaining urine and get going. Trying to push to empty only made my overactive bladder urge feeling stronger. The same goes at bedtime. Void and be done. Avoid the urge to pee just to empty a 1/4 or 1/2 full bladder with the exception of knowing that a long car ride or bathroom stop is not possible.

That's my 2 cents on the subject. Now you know everything I know and have experienced.

Mike S.
Dx 56
Biopsy: Gleason 3+3=6, PSA 6.6 One core of 12 with 5% T1c
Surgery: July 2010 J. Hopkins
Pathology Gleason 6, Neg Mar, Neg LN, Neg Sem Vesicles
9/15/10 1st post op PSA >0.1 undetectable
3/11/11 PSA - TBD
Incontinence - very slow recovery
Aug -Sept 2010 - 4-5 pads
Oct 2010 3 pads
Nov 2010 2 pads
Dec - Feb 2011 1 pad all day - 1 pad at night
ED: slow improvements

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 4093
   Posted 3/1/2011 2:36 PM (GMT -6)   
2 cents? that was a great and very informative post. I'm going to measure tonight.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 4093
   Posted 3/2/2011 10:06 PM (GMT -6)   
350 ml but I know I've released more othe rtimes post surgery.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 3/2/2011 11:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Have the same feelings, now 6 months post sugery.  Strong urge to urinate but when I void the bladder all I can normaly get about 100 ml, I'll do this 8 times during the day.  I wake up once at night.  Dry at night and sitting.  I have tried drinking different liquids, water, beer, tea, cola, however it doesn't seem to make a difference, it appears that fluid in equals fluid out.  When I do urinate I dont have a very strong stream.  I am doing kegel exercises, walking & trying to hold longer.
age 64 @ dx
PSA 2.8
left base G 3+3 30% involved
l/apex G 3+3 20% involved
Di Vinci bilateral nerve sparing 13 Aug 2010 Tulane NOLA (44 grams)
Post path report G3+4, Neg margins, neg nodes, pT2c
PIN identified
3 month PSA 0.0
6 month PSA 0.0
Incontinence 2-3 pads a day OK @ night & sitting
ED as expected but working on it

English Alf
Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 2217
   Posted 3/3/2011 5:37 AM (GMT -6)   
You may be doing better than you think.
And for every step forward there may be the odd step back too.

I had to get up at midnight, 2, 4 and 6 last night. So I guess my bladder is an old dog that sometimes refuses to be taught new tricks. (I don't think I have not had to get up for at least one pee for about 20 years, but it's usually only once or twice.)

I always had what was once described as a "small tank". That description was used when I was about 10 by a kid from Seattle who was visiting us in England. I am thus never aiming for 450ml a time. I'm happy when I manage between 150 and 200. (or to be more obvious, when i can fill but not overfill a jam jar)

Now C130j, or is that "Super Hercules", you've clocked up a lot of miles.
No more in-fight-refueling. I think you have to stop all coffee, cola, beer etc for best results. It's the caffeine in some and the acidity of the CO2 in others, or a combination of both. Acidic fruit jiice can thus also be a problem. Tea is not always so bad, for one thing it's easier to drink weak tea than weak coffee. There are also some very good decaffinated coffees about (I have just bought a new one-cup machine that can make decaff too. So I now most of the pads in the house are coffee pads!!!)
And have you tried green tea or camomille tea? That is meant to help both the bladder and digestion, a full gut is another thing that can press on the bladder.

Don't overdo the volume when it comes to input. 4 pints a day or so is about right.
Also don't overdo Kegels. A few every day is all that is needed otherwise you will over stress the muscles and make things worse. Watch what type of exercise you do too, I find that anything that invoves having my legs apart too much can make things worse. There are also some positions for sex that seem to result on the bladder getting pushed about, which I tend to limit the use of. (But I'm happier having sex even if it means that I have to go and pee more, than to not have the sex!)

edited to add this: I have just done a trial measure and found I had held in long enough to produce 310ml so this morning has gone better than alst night!
Born Jun ‘60
Apr 09 PSA 8.6
DRE neg
Biop 2 of 12 pos
Gleason 3+3
29 Jul 09 DaVinci AVL-NKI Amsterdam
6 Aug 09 Cath out
PostOp Gleason 3+4 Bladder neck & Left SVI -T3b
No perin’l No vasc invasion Clear margins
Dry at night
21 Sep 09 No pads daytime
17 Nov 09 PSA 0.1
17 Mar 10 PSA 0.4 sent to RT
13 Apr CT
66Gy 28 Apr to 11 Jun 10
Tired + weird BMs
14 Sep 10 PSA <0.1
12 Jan 11 PSA <0.1
Erection OK

Post Edited (English Alf) : 3/3/2011 3:42:33 AM (GMT-7)

Worried Guy
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 3739
   Posted 3/3/2011 3:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey c130j

I, too, found no difference between fluids. Liquids in = liquids out - 250 ml for sweat and breath evaporation (with Relative Humidity at 30-40%.) Granted, I did not drink beer nor did I drink salt water. But coffee caf or decaf, juice, water, milk, were all the same or below my measurement capability. And I have a lot of measurement capability.
My kidneys put out 70-80 ml/ hr. That relationship is almost perfect every time I pee during the day. 4 hours will have 300-320ml, 3 hours 200-250. If I fall asleep on the couch and wake up in 5 hours I will be bursting at 400 ml.
Yes, I record the time and amount of every pee. My poor, poor wife...
(Without data all you have is an opinion.)

With my new plumbing I have found I can dump out 50 ml that would ordinarily be retained. You might be retaining more than that. Give the perineum push a try. See how much you can squeak out. It might reduce the number of times you need to empty.
Good Luck
Age: 58, Mar 35 yrs, 56 dx, PSA: 4/09 17.8 6/09 23.2
Biopsy: 6/09 7 of 12 Pos, 20-70%, Gleason 4+3 Bone, CT Neg
DaVinci RP: 7/09, U of Roch Med Ctr
Path Rpt: Gleas 3+4, pT3aNOMx, 56g, Tumor 2.5x1.8 cm both lobes and apex
EPE present, PNI extensive, Sem Ves, Vas def clear, Lymph 0/13
Incont: 200ml/day ED: Trimix
Post Surg PSA: 10/09 .04, 4/10 .04, 7/10 <0.01, 12/10 <0.01
AdVance Sling 1/10/11

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2011
Total Posts : 4093
   Posted 3/3/2011 9:21 PM (GMT -6)   
a tractor trailer crashed out the licoln tunnel today causing a 100+ minute delay getting through tunnel. This caused all of NYC to become a parking lot this evening. It took me 3 hours to get home and I managed without even having to worry about peeing.
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