Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP): What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

Prostate gland

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is surgery to remove a section of the prostate gland. This is done when the prostate gland has grown too large. The prostate gland is a walnut-sized organ in men that grows around the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder, through the penis, to outside the body. The prostate gland produces most of the fluid in semen.

You may need a urinary catheter for a short time. A urinary catheter is a flexible plastic tube used to drain urine from your bladder when you cannot urinate on your own. If it is still in place when you go home, your doctor will give you instructions on how to care for your catheter.

For several days after surgery, you may feel burning when you urinate. Your urine may be pink for 1 to 3 weeks after surgery. You also may have bladder cramps, or spasms. Your doctor may give you medicine to help control the spasms.

You may still feel like you need to urinate often in the weeks after your surgery. It often takes up to 6 weeks for this to get better. Once you have healed, you may have less trouble urinating. You may have better control over starting and stopping your urine stream and feel like you get more relief when you urinate.

Most men can return to work or many of their usual activities in 1 to 3 weeks. But for about 6 weeks, try to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities that might put extra pressure on your bladder.

Most men still can have erections after surgery (if they were able to have them before surgery), but they may not ejaculate when they have an orgasm. Semen may go into the bladder instead of out through the penis. This is called retrograde ejaculation. This does not hurt and is not harmful to your health. But it may mean that you will not be able to father a child. If this is a concern, talk to your doctor about saving your sperm before the surgery.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
  • Try to walk each day. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation.
  • Avoid strenuous activities for 6 weeks after surgery, or until your doctor says it is okay. This includes bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise.
  • For 6 weeks, avoid lifting anything that would make you strain. This may include a child, heavy grocery bags and milk containers, a heavy briefcase or backpack, cat litter or dog food bags, or a vacuum cleaner.
  • Ask your doctor when you can drive again.
  • You will probably need to take 1 to 3 weeks off from work. It depends on the type of work you do and how you feel.
  • Do not put anything in your rectum, such as an enema or suppository, for 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery.
  • You may shower and take baths when your doctor says it is okay.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay for you to have sex.

Diet

  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).
  • You may notice that your bowel movements are not regular right after your surgery. This is common. Try to avoid constipation and straining with bowel movements. You may want to take a fibre supplement every day. If you have not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, ask your doctor about taking a mild laxative.

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You cannot urinate.
  • You are leaking or dripping urine.
  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You are sick to your stomach or cannot keep fluids down.
  • You have pain in your back just below your rib cage. This is called flank pain.
  • You have a fever, chills, or body aches.
  • You have signs of a blood clot, such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness and swelling in your leg or groin.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not have a bowel movement after taking a laxative.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: May 24, 2016