Following a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), you'll usually need to recover in hospital for one to three days before you can go home.
While in hospital, you may be given fluids directly into a vein (intravenously) until you've recovered from the anaesthetic and you're able to eat and drink.
You shouldn't experience any severe pain, but there may be some discomfort and bladder spasms (contractions) from the catheter, which is left in place because your urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) will be swollen and sore.
You'll be able to go home once you're catheter is removed and you're able to urinate normally. Before you're discharged, you'll be given advice about your recovery. A follow-up appointment to check your progress should be made for a few weeks later.
Urinating after TURP
You'll be unable to urinate normally at first because your urethra will be swollen. The catheter used to flush out your bladder during the operation will be left in place for a while to allow you to pass urine until the swelling goes down.
During the day after the operation, water may be pumped through the catheter to clean your bladder and get rid of any blood clots and other debris. This isn't usually painful, but may make your bladder feel uncomfortably full.
After around 24 to 48 hours, the catheter will be removed to check if you can pass urine and are able to go home. It's normal to find urinating uncomfortable and difficult to control for at least a few days after the catheter is removed.
If you're still unable to pass urine, a catheter may need to be reinserted temporarily. You'll be able to go home with the catheter still in place and an appointment will be made to remove it a few days or weeks later.
See living with a urinary catheter for information about looking after your catheter.
Recovering at home
It's common to feel tired and under the weather for a week or two after having a TURP. Most men are up and about after this time, but you'll need to take things easy for up to two months.
For the first few weeks, you shouldn't lift or move any heavy objects (including shopping) or do any strenuous exercise. If possible, ask friends or family members if they can help around the house.
Once you feel able, gentle exercise such as walking will help keep your blood circulating and lower your risk of getting a blood clot in your legs.
Drinking plenty of water while you're recovering may help reduce the risk of getting a urinary tract infection (UTI) and can help clear any blood from your urine. You may also be advised to do some pelvic floor exercises to help improve your bladder control.
Any pain can usually be treated by taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Returning to your normal activities
It usually takes between three and six weeks to fully recover from a TURP. Your surgeon or GP will advise you about when it's safe to return to your normal activities.
When you can return to work will largely depend on your job. For example, someone who works in an office may be able to return to work sooner than someone who does heavy manual work.
In most cases, you'll be advised to take around three or four weeks off work.
Your surgeon or GP will tell you when they feel it's safe for you to drive again, which will usually be when you can comfortably carry out an emergency stop.
Some people reach this stage after about a week, while others may not be able to drive for a month or more.
It will probably be around three or four weeks after your operation before you feel comfortable enough to have sex.
Blood in your urine
After having a TURP, it's normal to occasionally notice some blood in your urine. Around a week or two after the operation the amount of blood may increase as the scab on your prostate falls off.
Drinking plenty of fluids will help flush any blood or small blood clots out of your bladder.
If the increased blood in your urine continues for longer than 48 hours, you should contact the hospital.
When to seek medical advice
While you're recovering, you should contact the hospital clinic or your GP if you develop:
- a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
- severe pain while urinating
- an inability to urinate
- persistently severe or worsening blood in your urine
These symptoms can be a sign of a problem such as internal bleeding or a urinary infection that needs to be treated.