Jim Coulter travelled from Glasgow to the Birmingham Prostate Clinic to have GreenLight laser for an enlarged prostate. The 59-year-old describes his experience.

“The problem had been there for five or six years. I took medication, but I was still feeling very uncomfortable in my bladder almost all the time. My difficulty was stop and start and poor flow, rather than frequency or urgency. It made it very challenging whenever I was out and needed to go to the toilet.

A consultant in Glasgow told me – at some stage, you’ll need the good old-fashioned TURP operation (transurethral resection of the prostate). I thought – my uncle had that operation thirty years ago; haven’t they come up with something better since? I started looking online and read other treatments were available – GreenLight laser, Rezum and UroLift.

I looked at the Birmingham Prostate Clinic website and saw there was an option of speaking to a nurse, Mary Kirkham. I left a message on the Sunday evening to say I’d like to speak to her and was really impressed when she called me back on the Monday morning. She explained the different procedures, how they worked, advantages and disadvantages. I really liked the way Mary wasn’t promoting a particular approach or pushing me to come to the clinic; she simply gave me the information. She was very nice and very well informed.

I made an appointment and came down to Birmingham within a couple of weeks. I came down on the train and didn’t find the distance any issue. I found Mr Doherty very approachable and easy to talk to. An ultrasound showed I had a classic presentation and symptoms of BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) and GreenLight laser was my best option for a long term, durable solution.

I had my procedure in October (2019). My operation was on a Thursday and early on the Friday morning, when my catheter was removed, I passed urine with a strong flow I hadn’t had for 30 years.

I was really pleased, and hospital discharge was arranged, but then I suddenly found I couldn’t pass urine. Fortunately, I was staying in Birmingham. On the Friday night, I contacted Mary, who arranged for me to attend the hospital at 10pm, where I was re- catheterised. On the Saturday morning, I had a catheter check done by Mary, then on the Monday morning, Mary removed the catheter and I had a bladder scan done.

Sometimes, it is possible to go into temporary retention like this due to swelling of the prostate as a result of laser surgery. I haven’t had any problems with flow since and at my three-month review with Mary which included a flow rate assessment, mine has improved very significantly from 5 mils per second to 32 mils per second.

I do have a little urgency since the procedure, but that is because while my prostate was so enlarged for many years, my was ‘over working’ and there is some of that to an extent now, although the channel for the flow is so much better. All the way through my recovery, if there was anything I was worried about or needed advice on, I could call Mary at any time. That was really reassuring, especially when you live some distance away.

A big difference for me is that I don’t have that terrible, persistent uncomfortable feeling in my bladder anymore. I put up with that for two years, adjusting to it until I realised I couldn’t live like that any more. I’m very glad I’ve had GreenLight laser for BPH – I don’t have any doubts that it was the right thing to do.”