Walking football enthusiast Peter Jones from Shropshire warns others not to ignore the serious consequences of having an enlarged prostate (BPH)

Peter Jones BPH Enlarged Prostate

“I was fairly young when I first noticed that I needed the toilet more often. I was in my late forties, living in the States and saw a doctor there. I was told that although I had BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), it was mild there was no need to do anything just yet.

But once I returned to the UK, things got worse. I needed to get to the toilet more urgently and my days became increasingly planned around where the nearest gents were located. It just wasn’t practical. I went online to research treatments for BPH and came across a clinical trial in Southampton Hospital using embolisation to treat the enlarged prostate.

The idea of embolisation is to inject tiny particles (the size of grains of sand) into the blood vessels which feed the enlarged prostate tissue, cutting off the blood supply and stopping further growth of the unwanted tissue. The advantage is that it is carried out under local anaesthetic and no incisions are needed. A minimally invasive option certainly appealed to me because I was relatively young for BPH treatment and was keen to avoid major side-effects or a long post-op recovery. I would say embolisation eased my symptoms by 50 per cent and made it something I could live with.On that basis, I carried on for about four years until June last year (2016), when I suddenly developed terrible pain in my kidneys and groin. It was so bad I went straight into A&E.

I was diagnosed as being in chronic urinary retention. It would be later described that I had been ‘skimming off’ a small amount of urine in the toilet while the rest was backing up in my groin and kidneys.

It was a really disturbing and depressing time. I picked up two infections – in my bladder and my urinary tract. I had to wear a catheter and was warned that might be a permanent situation because my bladder could be badly damaged.

I was due to have a urodynamics test at my local hospital in Shrewsbury in July, but because I had an infection, the test was cancelled. My next appointment was scheduled for October, which convinced me to look online for an alternative. Given the problems I was experiencing, I didn’t want to wait three more months.

I found the Birmingham Prostate Clinic online and saw urologist Mohammed Belal. He carried out a urodymamics test and it was an immense relief to be told that there was plenty of function left in my bladder and that I would be suitable for treatment. One thought that troubled me was: why had I let things get this bad? Mr Belal assured me BPH is a very insidious condition; because it develops gradually, men put up with it and work around it without being aware how bad it is getting.

We discussed the TURP procedure (transurethral resection of the prostate). I was aware that it was a significant operation, but by that stage, I wanted a good, permanent solution. I saw Mr Belal on a Thursday and had my TURP the following Tuesday at the BMI Priory Hospital, Birmingham.

I stayed in hospital for one night, receiving excellent care from everyone I saw. I was expecting there to be blood in my urine after surgery, which was the case for about two weeks. Because I had been using a catheter, it took a few days to get used to going to the toilet normally again and for the first four to five weeks, there was some sense of urgency, which may have been in part physical and in part psychological.

But nothing was particularly difficult and by six to seven weeks, I was back to my ‘old self’. In fact, having lived with BPH for so long, it took a while to remember what my ‘old self’ was like, but at that point, I was completely free of all symptoms and any discomfort. It was a fantastic feeling. I felt very fortunate to come through with such an excellent outcome.

I enjoy playing Walking Football with men my age and up to their eighties. I recently wrote an article for our club because I feel strongly that men are much too inclined to ignore their symptoms and not seek medical help. My own experience shows BPH is not just impractical – it can have very serious and potentially life changing consequences if left without treatment and I hope reading about what happened to me may inspire others to see a doctor.”