Following a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), you should not feel any severe pain.
However, there may be some discomfort from the catheter and your urethra (the tube through which urine passes) will be swollen and sore.
You will be unable to urinate normally at first, due to the swollen urethra. A thin tube called a catheter will be inserted into your urethra and up into your bladder so urine can drain away.
Immediately 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 is not usually painful, but may make your bladder feel uncomfortably full.
After your urethra has healed and you are able to pass urine normally, the catheter will be removed and you can go home. This normally happens about 24-48 hours after surgery.
It's not uncommon to still experience problems passing urine and a catheter may need to be reinserted temporarily. A future date for its removal may then be arranged for you and you can go home with the catheter until then.
After having a TURP, most men are up and about around a week after surgery. However, you will be advised to take things easy for about a month to six weeks afterwards.
For the first four weeks, you should not lift or move any heavy objects (including shopping) or do any housework or digging. If possible, ask friends or family members if they can help around the house.
Once you feel able, some gentle exercise such as walking will help keep your blood circulating, and lower your risk of getting a blood clot in your legs.
Any symptoms of pain can usually be treated by taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Blood in urine
After having a TURP, you may 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. If the increased blood in your urine continues for longer than 48 hours, you should contact the hospital.
Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, fruit juice and tea, will help flush any blood or small blood clots out of your bladder.
If you have constant bleeding or difficulty passing urine, you should contact your surgeon. It is normal to frequently feel the need to urinate for the first few weeks after the operation. This is because your urethra and bladder will have been irritated during the operation.
Sometimes, the irritation might feel like a stinging sensation when you urinate. Despite the stinging and a need to urinate more frequently, you should still drink plenty of fluid because it will also help prevent an infection from developing.
Returning to work
It may take between four and eight weeks to fully recover from a TURP. Your GP or surgeon will advise about when it is safe to return to work. This will depend on your occupation - for example, if you work in an office, you may be able to return to work sooner than someone who does heavy manual work.
You will be advised not to drive for six weeks after having a TURP. You will usually be able to drive again when you can comfortably carry out an emergency stop. Your GP will be able to advise you about this.
It will probably be several weeks after your operation before you feel comfortable enough to have sex.
Most men need to wait for six to eight weeks before having sex, after which time any bruising and tenderness should have healed.
Before you leave hospital after having a TURP, you should be given an appointment for a check-up at the outpatient clinic. This appointment will normally be about six weeks after the operation.