Potential complications

Many men worry about whether surgery for benign prostatic hyperplasia of the prostate will affect their ability to enjoy sex. Most men are able to have a normal sex life after a TURP. There are potential side effects that can occur following the procedure and it is important that you understand what may potentially happen following a TURP.


Blood loss during the operation can very rarely be large and may require a transfusion. The risk of transfusion is approximately 1 in 200. Please talk to Dr Swindle if you can not have a blood transfusion. Most men also have a small amount of bleeding when the scab falls off the raw surface of the prostate 7-10 days after the procedure. This rarely results in significant bleeding. The risk of bleeding usually lasts until the prostate is fully healed at around 6-8 weeks.

Urinary retention

Blood clots or swelling of the bladder neck can occasionally stop the flow of urine following catheter removal and a catheter may need to be replaced until the swelling resolves or the bleeding stops.


Infection can occur in the urine or prostate following a TURP and requires treatment with antibiotics. The symptoms of a urinary tract infection are difficulty urinating, burning on urination, frequent urination or fevers. If this occurs, contact Dr Swindle immediately on 0409103333, or if Dr Swindle is not available, go to your local doctor or nearest emergency department.

Scarring of the bladder neck or urethra

A stricture (scar) can develop in the urethra or the bladder neck (junction of the prostate and bladder). This can slow or block the flow of urine and may occur several months or years after the operation. If a stricture occurs it usually requires stretching or cutting to open up the narrowing and allow the urine to flow freely. This may occur in up to 10% of men undergoing a TURP.

Sexual function

Some men may experience alteration in their sexual function following a TURP. The following problems may occur:

Retrograde Ejaculation

After a TURP the internal sphincter or bladder neck is cored out to open up the prostate. During sexual activity the semen passes back through the wide open bladder neck into the bladder instead of passing out the penis at the time of orgasm and ejaculation. Later the semen is harmlessly flushed out with urine and may make the urine a little cloudy. This will result in a dry ejaculation and renders most men infertile. It should however not be used as a contraceptive method. The quality sexual climax, or orgasm, at the time of ejaculation should not be altered.


Some men report mild to moderate difficulty in getting an erection after a TURP. It is rare and occurs in approximately 10% of men and usually occurs in older men who are already starting to have trouble with their erections.


Incontinence, or leaking urine without control, may occur following a TURP. It usually improves in a few weeks but rarely can be permanent. Permanent incontinence occurs in about 1 in 200 cases and in this event, treatment is available.

Injury to rectum

Very rarely, injury to the rectum can occur during the operation and to repair the injury open surgery may be required. This complication is extremely uncommon.

Pain in the testicles

Swelling and pain in the testicles can occur due to inflammation.

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