I am a 55 year old man and over the last few months, I seem to have developed problems with control of my bladder. I haven’t plucked up the courage to visit my doctor yet, as I find it quite embarrassing to talk about.
It is not that I completely lose control of my bladder; it is more that I need to pass urine more often and my flow is less powerful than it used to be. When I think about it, I’ve also started to wake up a couple of times most nights to pass urine.
Do you think I need to go to the GPs or can I resolve the problem myself?
Mr Neil Harris, Consultant Urologist
These types of symptoms are very common in men and the important thing is that you’ve recognized the problem. A number of different conditions can lead to these symptoms. Most are not serious and one of the commonest is benign (non cancerous) enlargement of the prostate. However, there are also other less common causes, including prostate cancer, and for this reason it is advisable to make an appointment to see your GP.
The first thing he/she will do is ask you for some more details about your bladder symptoms. You will then undergo an examination, including assessment of the prostate, which means an examination of the back passage. Many men worry about this type of assessment, but there is nothing to fear and the vast majority of individuals find it only mildly uncomfortable. Most patients will be able to be reassured at this stage and be offered simple treatment including advice on fluid intake and possibly given some tablets to help the bladder to empty more efficiently.
Some men, however, will be referred to a urologist because they need further tests and more complicated treatment, including surgery.