A brief medical lesson, just so we're all on the same page: For a man, urine passes through the urethra on a journey from the bladder through the prostate gland and out the penis. The prostate is positioned like a donut around the urethra. Its job is to make fluid that accompanies semen when men ejaculate. When we are young, the prostate is about the size of a walnut. For half of us men, somewhere in our 50s, the prostate enlarges and pinches the urethra, slowing our urine flow. This is called Benign Prostate Hyperplasia, or BPH (as opposed to prostate cancer, which is much more serious). One would think removing the prostate would be the perfect solution to the problem, but it is difficult to separate the prostate from the nerves that control urination (countenance) and sexual function. If your surgeon accidentally snipped one of those nerves, you would be wearing a diaper (and a frown) for the rest of your days. There are some drugs that relax the pinching on the urethra to improve urine flow, buying you some time before you resort to surgery. A common surgical solution is the TransUrethral Resection of the Prostate, or TURP. Here, the surgeon hollows out the prostate, making it smaller, and leaving a bigger passageway for urine flow.General background
I was diagnosed with BPH at age 55 and took Flomax for five years to help relax my urethra and increase urine flow. Eventually, my prostate reached the size of a lemon, where Flomax was becoming ineffective. Also, I was weary of getting up to tinkle 2-3 times a night and of watching my beard grow while I waited to finish. Of the numerous surgeries available, I selected PVP Greenlight Laser surgery, where they blast a laser at the inside of the prostate and vaporize most of the interior, like removing the flesh from the inside of a lemon, leaving just the skin. I selected laser surgery because I heard there was less bleeding and recovery was quicker than with other TURP methods. Besides, for a while my prostate would be able to receive broadband internet and 304 TV channels.My background
My surgeon wanted to check to make sure I had no cysts in the urethra or bladder. Using an optical device with a probe the size of a long pencil, the doctor was able to take a look inside me. He said the scope had local anesthetic on it and it would sting slightly as he inserted it into my penis. I must be a big sissy, or don't understand the words "sting slightly". When the doctor finished, I suggested we swap places so I could ram the Mount Palomar Telescope up his penis for a looksee! At least the ordeal lasted only about a minute. My penis, expressly designed for one-way traffic, was sore for about two days and bled slightly. The surgeon also did a rectal exam, and an ultrasound of my prostate to determine its size. I used to hate those exams, but compared to the Mount Palomar Telescope, they were almost pleasant. I was also scheduled for a general physical to ensure that I had no hidden conditions that would surprise us all during surgery.Preparation for surgery
Day of surgery
Some people have to endure their catheters for a couple days. (Hint: A little Neosporin around where the tube leaves the penis may help keep the skin from getting crusty). One friend had to have his catheter removed when it got plugged with a blood clot, then had another reinserted. When that one plugged, the doctor inserted a bigger one, then a bigger one, until on his 5th catheter, the clots would pass out. If that had been me, I'd have passed out. After 24 l-o-n-g hours, it was time to kiss that bloody thing goodbye (not literally).Removing the catheter
They told me to drink plenty of water, which eventually had to come out. After a couple hours I was ready to try out my new waterworks. My poor willie was still sore from having a firehose stuck up there, which made me hesitant to open the floodgates. It was a classical psychology approach-avoidance syndrome. I had to pee real bad, but every drop hurt. Six drops is all I could do. An hour later I squeezed off 10 more drops. I called the surgeon to ask if I should stop drinking water lest I burst. He said keep drinking, take a hot bath to relax, take my old Flomax, and try some Celebrex to reduce inflamation.The first tinkle
By the next day my urine turned back to its natural color, and the speed started to pick up. It still stung, though. With each day the stinging became a little less and the flow rate a little more. I obeyed the doctor's instructions to remain sedentary and not to lift anything heavy for a couple weeks. I enjoyed watching my wife take out the garbage and recyclables.Recovery
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This information is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or treatment of prostate problems. If you suspect prostate problems, contact your health care provider.