You had transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) surgery to treat an enlarged prostate. This article tells you how to take care of yourself at home after the procedure.
When You're in the Hospital
You had transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) surgery to treat an enlarged prostate.
Your surgeon inserted a tube-like tool called a cystoscope (or endoscope) through your urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis). Your surgeon used a special cutting tool to remove part of your prostate gland piece by piece.
What to Expect at Home
You can expect to start doing most of your normal activities in 3 to 6 weeks. Problems you may notice include:
- Problems with urine control or leakage after sneezing, coughing, or lifting.
- Erection problems (impotence).
- Absence of semen or decrease in volume. Semen travels up into the bladder instead of out through the urethra. This is called retrograde ejaculation. It is not harmful but can interfere with your ability to get women pregnant. It can be permanent.
- Burning or pain during urination.
- Passing blood clots.
You should rest as often as you need to the first few weeks after surgery. But you should also do regular, short periods of movement to build up your strength. While resting, continue to do some of the bedside exercises and breathing techniques your nurse showed you.
Gradually return to your normal routine. You should not do any strenuous activity, lifting (more than 5 pounds or more than 2 kilograms), or driving for 3 to 6 weeks.
Try taking regular, short walks. Work up to longer walks to build up your strength. You can return to work when you are better and can tolerate most activities.
Drink plenty of water to help flush fluids through the bladder (8 to 10 glasses a day). Avoid coffee, soft drinks, and alcohol. They can irritate your bladder and urethra.
Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fiber. You may use a stool softener or fiber supplement to help prevent constipation, which can delay the healing process.
For the first few weeks after surgery, take only the medicines your health care provider has told you to take.
- You may need to take antibiotics to help prevent infection.
- Check with your surgeon before taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Aleve, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or any other drugs like these.
You may take showers. If you have a catheter, do not take baths until it is removed. Make sure your provider clears you for baths to make sure your incisions are healing well.
Avoid sexual activity for 3 to 4 weeks. Many men report a lower amount of semen during orgasm after having TURP.
You may feel spasms in your bladder and may feel like you need to urinate while you have a urinary catheter in place. Your provider can give you medicine for these spasms. You may have urine come out around the catheter because of the bladder spams. This is normal.
You will need to make sure your indwelling catheter works right. You will also need to know how to clean the tube and the area where it attaches to your body. This will prevent infection and skin irritation. There should be urine draining and filling the bag if the catheter is working properly. Call your provider if you have not seen any urine drain in an hour.
The urine in your drainage bag may look darker red. This is normal.
After your catheter is removed:
- You may have some urine leakage (incontinence). This should get better over time. You should have close-to-normal bladder control within 3 to 6 months.
- You will learn exercises (Kegel exercises) that strengthen the muscles in your pelvis. You can do these exercises any time you are sitting or lying down.
When to Call the Doctor
Contact your provider if:
- You have pain in your belly that is not helped with your pain medicines
- It is hard to breathe
- You have a cough that does not go away
- You cannot drink or eat
- Your temperature is above 100.5°F (38°C)
- Your urine has a thick, yellow, green, or milky drainage
- You have signs of infection (burning sensation when you urinate, fever, or chills)
- Your urine stream is not as strong, or you cannot pass any urine at all
- You have pain, redness, or swelling in your legs
While you have a urinary catheter, call your provider if:
- You have pain near the catheter
- You are leaking urine
- You notice more blood in your urine
- Your catheter seems blocked and is not draining urine
- You notice grit or stones in your urine
- Your urine smells bad, or it is cloudy or a different color
TURP - discharge; Prostate resection - transurethral - discharge
Delongchamps NB. Surgical management of LUTS/BPH: new mini-invasive techniques. In: Morgia G, ed. Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. Cambridge, MA: Elsevier Academic Press; 2018:chap 14.
Helo S, Welliver C, McVary KT. Minimally invasive and endoscopic management of benign prostatic hyperplasia. In: Partin AW, Domochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 146.
Roehrborn CG, Strand DG. Benign prostatic hyperplasia: etiology, pathophysiology, epidemiology, and natural history. In: Partin AW, Domochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 144.
Review Date 4/1/2023
Updated by: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.