When to Consider TURP for Prostatitis

chronic prostatitis turp

You may be among the men who are asked by their doctor to consider TURP for prostatitis. TURP, which stands for “transurethral removal of the prostate”, is a surgical procedure that can be accomplished without making an external incision. While many men do well with other types of treatment, others may find that TURP for prostatitis is the answer that works.

What is TURP?

TURP is a procedure in which a clinician uses a special flexible instrument (called a resectoscope) that is passed through the urethra (the narrow channel in the penis through which semen and urine leaves the body) to the prostate gland. Once the gland is accessed, the clinician removes minute pieces of prostate tissue that are involved in blocking urine flow. The scope also allows the doctor to seal blood vessels.

TURP is generally used to treat men who have an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia. As a treatment for prostatitis, it is not a common choice. However, if you have recurrent acute bacterial prostatitis or recurring episodes of chronic prostatitis that respond to antibiotics, your doctor may suggest TURP. In the latter case, TURP may eliminate a breeding ground that is promoting your persistent infection.

Here’s an example of how TURP can help a certain population of men with prostatitis. In a new study from Belgium, 21 men with acute bacterial prostatitis underwent TURP (with two men having the procedure twice).

During a follow-up period of 3 to 108 months, 12 men became symptom free, two others became symptom free after one and two post procedure attacks, and eight were not cured. The authors concluded that TURP could cure about two thirds of patients and that “TURP is an acceptable procedure in the treatment of refractory recurrent bacterial prostatitis.”

What happens during TURP

Generally, here is a rundown of what to expect if you and your doctor elect TURP:

  • You will be given either general or spinal anesthesia
  • The clinician will inspect your urethra and bladder using an endoscope to be sure the surgical site is ready
  • Then a resectoscope will be passed into the urethra. This is when the surgeon will clip and remove pieces of prostate tissue that are blocking the urethra.
  • Electrical currents will be sent through the resectoscope to seal off any bleeding
  • A catheter will be inserted into the bladder
  • You will be sent to a recovery room
  • Pain medication will be administered as needed
  • You can expect to see some blood in your urine.
  • Once the bleeding has significantly subsided or stopped (typically after 2-3 days), the catheter will be removed and you can go home

Once you are at home, you should:

  • Drink lots of water to help flush out any residual blood from your bladder
  • Avoid lifting anything heavy for several weeks
  • Not drive until your doctor says it is okay
  • Contact your doctor if you experience chills, fever, increased pain, difficulty urinating, or any other unusual symptoms
  • Refrain from sexual activity for about 3 to 4 weeks or when it feels comfortable for you

Side Effects

Possible side effects and complications associated with TURP can include painful urination, risk of infection, retrograde ejaculation, blood in the urine, and bleeding. Of course, if you experience any other unusual symptoms following the procedure, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Bottom Line

Surgical procedures are typically not needed to treat prostatitis. However, you and your doctor might consider TURP for prostatitis if you have bacterial prostatitis that is not responding to other courses of treatment.

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