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J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2012 Jan-Feb;39(1):90-4. doi: 10.1097/WON.0b013e3182383eeb.

Life experiences of Brazilian men with urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction following radical prostatectomy.

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Nursing Department, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Campinas, (UNICAMP) Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.



The objective of this study was to explore the psychosocial meaning and repercussions on lifestyle associated with erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence (UI) in men following radical prostatectomy.


Ten men from Southeastern Brazil who underwent radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer were interviewed. All participants underwent treatment at a urology clinic during the period of September 2007 to February 2009.


A clinical-qualitative study was conducted, using semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions. All interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Each man was interviewed once. The average length of the interviews was 37 minutes (range: 16 to 81 minutes). Data from the interviews were subjected to content thematic analysis and development of categories based on psychodynamic references.


Three themes were identified: (1) sexuality called into question; (2) a body without governance; and (3) experiencing loss. These men reported difficulties in dealing both with the physical and emotional impotence resulting from the treatment. Urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction affected their body by accentuating conflicts related to masculinity, triggering subjective feelings of powerlessness, and psychological distress.


Study respondents assigned multiple psychological meanings to issues related to feelings of powerlessness in general, leading to a narcissistic wound. The men experienced UI as a bodily deficiency, and erectile dysfunction was experienced as a feeling of being devitalized. These results suggest that UI from prostate cancer treatment affects sexuality and self-esteem.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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