While the literature on prostate cancer health-related quality of life has grown extensively, little is known about symptom management strategies used by men to manage treatment-related side effects and the effectiveness of those strategies. We collected 628 symptom management reports from 98 men treated for localized prostate cancer. Participants were recruited from email lists and a prostate cancer clinic in Northern California. Data were collected using the Critical Incident Technique. Symptom management reports were assigned to categories of urinary, sexual, bowel, mental health, systemic, or "other." We calculated descriptive statistics by symptom type and management strategy effectiveness. The most common symptoms were urinary (26 %) and sexual (23 %). Participants' symptom management strategies varied widely, from medical and surgical interventions (20 %) to behavioral strategies (11 %) to diet and lifestyle interventions (12 %). The effectiveness of symptom management strategies varied, with sexual symptoms being managed effectively only 47 % of the time to mental health symptom management strategies considered effective 89 % of the time. Doing nothing was a commonly reported (15 %) response to symptoms and was effective only 14 % of the time. Men report the least effectiveness in symptom management for sexual dysfunction after prostate cancer treatment. Including men's experience with managing treatment side effects may be an important way to improve survivorship programs and make them more acceptable to men. More work is needed to find out why men frequently do nothing in response to symptoms when effective solutions exist and how providers can successfully engage such men. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.