Prostate enlargement can be more than bothersome: it can harm kidney function. John Willetts, age 72, explains what caused his unexplained fatigue


“Like many men of my age, I have been getting up to go the toilet at night for years. As my wife delights in telling me, I’m not getting any younger. Then last September, things noticeably worsened and I’d have to get up much more frequently.

At the same time, I was feeling much more tired, with a general sense of fuzziness. Again, I put that down to age, being in my early seventies, you know your body won’t work exactly as it did before. Then just before Christmas, I had a little leakage in the bed at night and so I arranged to see my GP.

I was sent to my local hospital to have an ultrasound scan of my urinary tract which showed my prostate had become so enlarged that I was retaining a large volume of urine in my bladder. Tests also revealed that my kidney’s filtration rate was impaired. The urinary retention had affected my kidney function; my body was being slightly poisoned. It explained the fuzziness and lethargy I had been experiencing. I was catheterised, spent two nights on the assessment ward and then discharged wearing the catheter to await TURP surgery (transurethral resection of the prostate).

I was fortunate to have a conversation with an experienced urology nurse. She suggested I should consider having laser surgery rather than the traditional operation for the enlarged prostate, called the TURP. She explained laser surgery is much less invasive and so recovery is far quicker.

I enquired and found out that laser surgery wasn’t available locally within the NHS, nor was it provided by my local private hospital. So I went online and found the Birmingham Prostate Clinic. I saw Mr Doherty on the Friday, was wholly convinced about the approach and had my operation the following Thursday.

I can honestly say that I didn’t experience any pain or discomfort from the operation at all. In fact, the only thing that was mildly uncomfortable was the removal of my catheter. Immediately after surgery, I had instant control and full urinary flow. I spent two nights in hospital, then for the first week or so, I was a little lethargic, probably due to the effects of the general anaesthetic.

Within two to three weeks I was completely back to normal. For me, that meant getting back to walking – I enjoy being up in the mountains and walking for six hours a day. I remember after my first day walking again, my legs felt a little tired, but otherwise I was absolutely fine.

It is only with hindsight that it becomes clear how my prostate enlargement was affecting my kidneys and making me feel so lethargic. I didn’t have the classic symptoms of BPH: I didn’t need to rush to the toilet all day, it was only at night that it was noticeable and only in the last few months that it became severe. Fortunately, my kidney function is improving and I certainly feel much better than I did.

We have many friends who are facing some terrible health issues and my prostate enlargement was minor by comparison. Prostate enlargement is not a disease, it is a mechanical problem and there is a solution for it. I couldn’t have hoped for a better solution than my GreenLight laser surgery – it resolved the problem perfectly and didn’t cause me any pain or discomfort. I have my energy and fitness back.”


To book a consultation with our Urology nurse click here

To book an appointment with Mr Alan Doherty call Zena Moll on 0121 704 7610