Case Study: “Bloody %#$@ Biopsy!”

rx.jpgErin Bunn of North Carolina, whose husband, Gene, 51, had robotic surgery a month ago, sent me this story.  Erin read that I was very interested in discussing doctor-patient relationships.  Which I am.   But I have to say it took everything I had to keep from fainting when I read this.  Ditto for Ted.  So imagine how it must have felt in real life. 

After Erin finishes her story, I’ll make some comments.

Let me share one of my ‘doctor/patient’s wife’ interactions with you, to give you an idea of how serious I am concerning every detail of my husband’s condition.

The biopsy was just completed, so I asked the doctor specifically how long we should abstain from any sexual activity.  He readily shared that we could resume normal relations as early as the next day, that the biopsy should not interfere with Gene’s ability to perform, nor should there be any pain involved.

He went on to advise us that we could expect to possibly see some blood in his urine, possibly his stool or even a tinge in his semen …  and not to be worried, as this is perfectly normal after such a procedure…

Well, I can honestly tell you that both Gene and I were “fully unprepared” for the bloody ejaculation we encountered  — my husband almost passed out and couldn’t bring himself to even glance that way again before I cleaned us up.  (All I could think about was how physically repulsive it would have been, should I have gotten a mouthful of that!)

When we next saw the doctor, his expression told me that he was fully unprepared for my remarks. So I point-blank chastised him for minimizing the amount of blood and not preparing us properly for sexual activity after a TRUS biopsy, and I can honestly say he was utterly speechless and genuinely unsettled.

I’m thinking he withheld information, or painted the ugliness somehow pretty, in order to avoid such unpleasantries, and he suddenly discloses that I am the first person to share this type of feedback with him.

Well it was then my turn to be momentarily stunned, but I rebounded quickly and dutifully absolved him of any guilt.  But I did make it extremely clear that if he was to be our doctor select, then he needed to provide me with all the ugly details in order to make our journey easier.


I asked Ted what he thought about this story.  He said that, based on his own experience, the doctor should have ordered this couple to wait a little longer.  He just couldn’t see having sex in that condition.

Then I checked my favorite newsgroup to see what the guys had to say, if anything.  Here are some samples:

Just so you know, after the biopsy the ejaculate can be quite
startling.  Mine was of the consistency and color of flat (no fizz)

Another man opined:

Mine was like tomato juice, kinda scary. 

Then I turned to the experts:  This is from the Urology Channel: 

Will the prostate biopsy affect me sexually? 

 No. There will be no after effects of the biopsy that will change your sexual ability or enjoyment. Your semen may contain some blood for a while, but this is not harmful to you or your partner. We do not recommend sex until 10 days after the biopsy.

The respected prostate surgeon, William Catalona, also addresses this question:

 Q: How soon after ultrasound and rectal needle biopsies can a man have sex?

A: I recommend waiting for one week. It is not uncommon for blood to be in the semen weeks to months after biopsy, but this blood is not harmful to either sexual partner.

My conclusion?  The doctor was wrong.  But at least Erin brought her concerns out into the open and discussed them with the doctor.  Maybe he learned something, too. 

This entry was posted in Healthcare and Ethics, Sexuality and Intimacy on by .

About Leah

Some introductions: First is yours postess with the mostest, yours truly. My name is Leah, but I sometimes I use the nickname "callalily," after my favorite flower. Next is dear husband Ted, who is the Prostate Cancer patient and the inspiration for everything. I consider everyone in the PC community to be family. So what I would like to do with this blog is to advocate for the humane and compassionate treatment of people with prostate cancer and their loved ones, and to try to do it by example. One area that could use a lot of improvement, in my opinion, is doctor-patient relations. I hope to write passionately and compassionately, and especially with a liberal sprinkling of *humor,* because I believe in its exceptional power to heal. I have also learned a lot of factual information about prostate cancer in the past year, from patients and from doing research, especially in the area of erectile dysfunction. So there will be a lot of substantive stuff as well. About me: late 40s, proudly born in Brooklyn, lived there for the first half of my life, then crossed over the bridge to Manhattan, where I've spent the second half. Have a B.A. in history and a law degree. Also worked in corporate communications, doing writing and editing. I love old movies, poetry and watching forensic shows on TV. My favorite topic is murder and mayhem. If I had my life to live over I think I would be a medical examiner, arson investigator or homicide detective. About Ted: He is 55, born in St. Louis, good-looking, fit, has an M.S. in Computer Science but has begun a new career as a writer for a medical ad agency. Ted was diagnosed with PC in August '05, had robotic prostatectomy on 10/15/05. The surgery failed. Ted had a positive PSA test last January, and underwent salvage radiation therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Ted is the intellectual type, reads a lot, but he is also into working out and praying. Anything else, you want to know, you can email me privately @

One thought on “Case Study: “Bloody %#$@ Biopsy!”

  1. Victoria French

    I’m a long time friend of Erin and Gene Bunn and I can only imagine this situation and even more…I can hear Erins voice expressing her concern.
    I wish them the best of recovery

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