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

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Your Recovery

Location of the prostate gland

Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is surgery to remove prostate tissue. It is done when an overgrown prostate gland is pressing on the urethra and making it hard for a man to urinate.

You may need a urinary catheter for a short time. It is a flexible plastic tube used to drain urine from your bladder when you can't 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. After you have healed, you may have less trouble urinating. You may have better control over starting and stopping your urine stream. And you may feel like you get more relief when you urinate.

Most men can return to work or many of their usual tasks 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. It does not hurt and is not harmful to your health.

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.
  • Be active. Walking is a good choice.
  • Allow your body to heal. Don't move quickly or lift anything heavy until you are feeling better.
  • Ask your doctor when you can drive again.
  • Many people are able to return to work within 1 to 3 weeks after surgery. 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.
  • If your bowel movements are not regular right after surgery, try to avoid constipation and straining. Drink plenty of water. Your doctor may suggest fibre, a stool softener, or 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 aspirin or some other blood thinner, 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.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • 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.
  • Take your antibiotics 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 chest pain, are short of breath, or cough up blood.

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

  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You have loose stitches or your incision comes open.
  • Bright red blood soaks through the bandage.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.
  • You cannot urinate.
  • You have symptoms of a urinary tract infection. These may include:
    • Pain or burning when you urinate.
    • A frequent need to urinate without being able to pass much urine.
    • Pain in the flank, which is just below the rib cage and above the waist on either side of the back.
    • Blood in your urine.
    • A fever.
  • You are sick to your stomach or cannot drink fluids.
  • You have signs of a blood clot in your leg (called a deep vein thrombosis), such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness or swelling in your leg.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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