"I always thought retention happened to men in their 80s, not someone my age." After almost a year of difficulty with voiding his bladder and the associated dribbling, Mark decided to see a doctor.
Mark is a busy man. He's been in 80s synth bands, worked as a graphic artist, was involved in the construction industry and runs his own window cleaning company. He has an infectious love of life and an easy going manner. A sociable guy, he enjoys the company of others and going out.
For such a gregarious fellow, Mark's confidence and ease in public spaces took a knock when he began to experience issues with voiding.
I couldn't go to the toilet, I couldn't finish.
This was the beginning of Mark's symptoms, the inability to completely void the bladder of urine. At first, Mark thought nothing of it, believing it would pass, but the symptoms persisted and began to cause him embarrassment.
I was experiencing dribbling, couldn't disguise it, I thought it happened to people a lot older than me.
LUTS: Common symptoms experienced by men
Mark's experiences are common in men and belong to a range of symptoms that are gathered under the term LUTS: Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms - covering the bladder, prostate and urethra.
These symptoms often cause confusion about the cause of retention, and anxiety about the possible diagnosis, and thankfully, after almost a year, Mark visited a doctor. Many men leave it longer to have these symptoms checked, and this increases the chance of developing a UTI - urinary tract infection. Urine that remains in the bladder and urethra increases the chance of developing an infection due to the manifestation of bacteria.
Mark is grateful for finding a solution to retention in the form of intermittent catheterisation, a therapy that is discreet, requires only a disposable catheter and allows Mark to choose when and where he can void his bladder.
Hid doctor referred him to the urology department, and a nurse recommended that he try the therapy. At first he had reservations, but quickly took to his new routine.
He's regained his confidence, can completely void his bladder at a time and place of his choosing, and suffers no more embarrassing incidents. More importantly, Mark has avoided the larger risks of developing a UTI.
Mark describes his symptoms and journey to self-catheterization in an interview that we've made available by clicking the link below.
We've put together a PDF called "What is LUTS" which describes the symptoms and treatments available.