I am not the typical UroLift patient as I don’t have an enlarged prostate. I have a narrow urethra and I have always been to the toilet more than the average person – during the day this was around every two hours. I didn’t realise I was different to anyone else until I got married 18 years ago and my wife commented that I went to the loo a lot – she called it my “great disappearing act”.
I was on holiday with friends of the same age last summer when it finally hit home just how often I needed the loo and how this wasn’t normal in men in their early 40s.
I went to my GP who referred me to urologist Neil Barber. He arranged for me to have an ultrasound scan of my bladder and some flow rate tests done – the results confirmed my flow was extremely poor. I also completed a quality of life questionnaire, which revealed just how much this problem was affecting me. I was waking up every night to visit the toilet, usually about three times, and I couldn’t remember a time in my adult life when I had slept through. I must have been very tired, but I think I had become used to feeling like that.
My work involves visiting people in their homes, and I felt embarrassed having to ask them if I could use their loo all the time. If I went to see a film, I’d have to interrupt everyone. I travel a lot for work and had to plan ahead everywhere I went so I could stop en route. It was annoying and often embarrassing.
Mr Barber sent me for some more tests –a scan of the prostate and a cystoscopy examination inside the bladder and urethra that showed my prostate was quite small, but the urethra was constricted by its size and shape.
He recommended the UroLift procedure because as my prostate grows with age, the urethra would constrict even more. By gently pinning back the prostate, more room is created for the urine flow.
The UroLift operation itself involved a day’s stay in hospital – Spire Clare Park in Farnham. I had a chat with Mr Barber and the anaesthetist who talked me through what they were going to do. I had a cannula in my arm for the anaesthetic and was given oxygen. Under general anaesthetic, four prostatic urethral lift devices were implanted, opening the prostatic cavity widely. The next thing I knew I woke up in the recovery room. I was able to pass water within 30 minutes. I was warned the first few times would be very painful. The first time it did indeed hurt a lot but after that, there was absolutely no discomfort. I was able to stop taking painkillers within 24 hours.
It’s now a month since the operation and I am delighted with the results. I have slept through the night every night for the last three weeks, and I am visiting the toilet far less often. Today, I went shopping with my wife and daughter and we spent the whole day out, and I didn’t need to visit the toilet at all. Funnily enough, my wife and daughter had to, but I didn’t. I now pass water about five times a day. It’s such a “relief” that this problem has been rectified.