When it comes to talking about potentially embarrassing health issues, men are well known for staying silent.
A recent international study suggests that women actually know more about men’s health issues than men do.
And that is leading to guys not taking the early signs of potentially life-threatening urological conditions seriously.
That was certainly the case for Benenden Health member and married father-of-two Iain Cooper.
He said: “It was my wife Angie who noticed that I kept getting up in the night to go to the toilet, and disturbing her sleep as well.
“She said to me I needed to get it sorted so that’s what I did in the end. It was her pushing me that made me go in the end.
“I tend to ignore a lot of things and just hope they will go away but obviously it doesn’t and it gets worse.”
Iain, 59, eventually went to see his GP who diagnosed Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BHP) - an enlargement of the prostate extremely common in men over 50 and the majority of men over 60.
“I started having problems about three years ago. I went to my GP and he gave me some drugs to take which didn’t work so they changed them and tried giving me something else but it still didn’t work.
“I was getting up and down through the night continuously, trying to go to the toilet but couldn’t.
“I spent ages going backwards and forwards, couldn’t sleep very well and finally went back to my GP to see if there was anything else he could do.”
Iain, who runs a domestic appliance repair business, was referred to Benenden Hospital Consultant Urologist Mr Steve Garnett who recommended several options including the Urolift procedure.
Urolift is a proven, minimally invasive treatment that fills the gap between prescription medications and more invasive surgical procedures.
The low risk outpatient procedure typically involves four to five small implants being placed into the prostate, lifting and holding back the enlarged tissue and relieving the pressure on the urethra.
This allows the urine to flow and the effect is similar to drawing two curtains apart and pinning them back.
“Mr Garnett explained that it was a fairly new procedure so I was a bit apprehensive at first but I needed something that was going to ease the problem and let me sleep again so it was something I needed to get sorted out.
“Due the fact that I had a heart condition as well and there was no anaesthetic involved, Mr Garnett said it would be a good idea to have the Urolift.
“I’m really pleased I did because it’s made such a difference to my life. I was very nervous about it because it was a new procedure and hadn’t heard of anyone who had it, which made me even more nervous.
“But I’m so glad I did because I’ve had no side effects and it’s worked for me tremendously.
“It’s a bit uncomfortable but it’s more comfortable once you’ve had it done and I can now sleep all night without having to get up at all.
“The operation was very successful, I was home the same day with very minimal drugs to control afterwards.
“I had some pain relief for a couple of days but after that I was fine, I didn’t need it. There was a bit of blood in my urine for a couple of days but after that it cleared up.
“The recovery time was very quick and I was back at work within a week.
“Mr Garnett was very helpful and explained everything to me. He’s a very nice guy and made me feel at ease. I decided to go with his advice and I don’t regret any of it.
“The hospital is lovely, it’s so clean and everyone is so pleasant, everybody talks to you and makes you feel at ease the whole time you’re there.”
Published on 20 June 2019