The Floppy Sphincta
I am not going to post a picture of my subject this week, the floppy sphincta. I shall just sit on it. Heaven knows how I got into this subject but arrogance played a big part. Firstly, as an athlete at 76 years of age, I assumed my muscles to be strong if not rippling. Secondly, I do lots of gardening and that includes lots of lifting so my pelvic floor, wherever it is, is good and strong. However, circumstances have proven otherwise. Now, there follows a tale of male health problems, none of which possess any engagement with elegance. I started this tale from a point of complete innocence. A simple blood test and I am told there is blood in my urine. Over three more weekly tests, no change. I can see further tests ahead of me and none of them was pointing to the floppy sphincta.
I am referred to urology. Now that word is anathema to the male pysche. Whereas people with a cervix have crowds peering up their orifices, most males would prefer hara-kiri as a first option. Very quickly, the finger is up the backside and an overlarge prostate identified. On the other side, a camera up the urethra and I stare at an impressively clean bladder wall; it’s mine. No signs of cancer but a bulge caused by the prostate pressing on it. A couple of weeks later, my kidneys are scanned and are fine. A week later, I attend the ‘flow rate clinic’. I drink lots of water. Once ready, into a small room and left alone to pee into a machine. I must pee 200 mls, which would normally take me a week. I manage 120 and return to the corridor to drink more water.
The corridor is the great leveller. Half a dozen men, sipping water and resigned to a vacant stare. Those coming out of the small room proud as punch at having succeeded after two or three tries. They could not have looked more pleased if they had just beaten Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone. Whatever, even I had to reflect, so, 76 years of age and all it comes down to is one decent piss. I return to the room and am soon a dribbling success.
The floppy sphincta
My final appointment with the urologist is 13 weeks after all this started. Consequently, I have to take a drug to reduce my prostate, over perhaps 6 months. However, I am also given leaflets for pelvic floor exercises and bladder training. I dont need those was my first response. However, no sooner have I tried them than I find that the muscles are quickly sore and challenged. After some weeks, they are better and it is a routine easily followed. I needed those exercises and so do most men and people with cervixes.
People without a cervix
The story ends with the fact that nobody has mentioned the blood in my urine, not once. However, Google will tell you that this is a problem for aged men, caused by abrasion between an overlarge prostate and your waterworks. Perhaps a fifth of us, especially those exercising or gardening, will have microscopic amounts of blood in their urine, perhaps permanently. None of this is weakness rather than sheer mortality. If you are a man, man up the moment you get any of these symptoms and get checked. At the very worst, you can look no more than a little pathetic. At the very best, a strong pelvic floor will improve your sex life, assuming you have one!
PS – the flower is a geum in my garden. No matter how you feel just look at that gorgeous flower