The real gory bits that many don't want to know

I have been asked both face to face and by email the questions "How did it all start? What are the symptoms? What happened step-by-step?" If you want medical explanations then please either consult known and reliable medical websites or go and see your doctor. This is not the easiest task to undertake but the way I consider this is that if only I had seen the information below then it may have helped and comforted me a fair bit. Please remember that you may have some of the same symptoms that I had but whatever you do, just don't panic. There is a real good chance that you are 100% OK and that the particular problem that we share is neither serious nor leading to the same final diagnosis that necessitated my operation. However, having said this, if you have any of the symptoms please just go to your doctor and get checked out and don't give up until you have a definitive answer

I guess this all started in the 1990s when I was around 45. A routine urine test came up with a diagnosis of "blood in the urine". This does not mean that I was peeing pink pee, it was possibly just in the parts per million and completely invisible to the eye. To diagnose further I had to go to hospital for a rather uncomfortable procedure where a camera is poked down your penis so that they can have a good look around the bladder for any suspicious signs. To facilitate entry up the penis, you take either Picolax or Citramax the previous evening which I can assure really does "clean out the system". You are warned to make sure you are near a toilet after taking the mixture; you start of with kind of mild diarrhoea and it gets worse ... and worse. Next day you are so cleaned out that you are possibly afraid to leave home without a "potty". After hospital reception (and this may have changed since then) you prepared for the next step by having an anaesthetic cream plastered alll over the penis to deaden the feeling. Just to save wasting time, out come the rubber gloves and you know what's going to happen.

The scarier bit follows about 20 minutes later. The tube is inserted into the penis but to make an easier entry, water is pumping out of the tube as it is inserted; you don't really feel anything unpleasant at the time. It's soon all over and they've had a good look around your bladder so the tube is then taken out. This is when you realise why you were emptied out before the procedure. The water that was lubricating the tube entry is going into the same place as the tube, i.e. right into your bladder. If you are one who drinks many pints per evening then you may not find much of a problem, but I remember dashing to the toilet really fast and peeing so much for so long. Bear in mind that the penis is still fairly numb at this time so there is no pain in passing the water. You go home and possibly 30 or so minutes later you think "wow, I need a pee." This is where your eyes may water because it certainly is a little uncomfortable first time, but gets better as time goes on. I was unlucky, because at that time it was common for around 10% of the patients who had this procedure to contract cystitis. You just pop along to your doctor and get the answer, "Well they don't always clean the tubes as well as they could - take this course of antibiotics." If you have to have this done to you, I'm sure it is far better organised and more comfortable than it was 20+ years ago. If not, please email me and let me know.

So .... what was the result of my procedure? "There is nothing at all wrong with your bladder, but when we did the rectal examination (greasy rubber gloved finger probing up the arsehole) we found that you have an enlarged prostate. One thing is guaranteed for even a male blessed with elevated libido - the chance of embarrassing yourself by getting an erection throughout any of the preceding part is ZERO.


Transrectal Prostate biopsy - not as bad as it sounds but will include some of the scary bits that would not be scary if they told you first

Leading up to the operation and the brilliant lack of pain and quick healing due to minimal invasion