I failed a urine alcohol test at work – is my prostate to blame? Dr Zoe Williams answers your concerns

I failed a urine alcohol test at work – is my prostate to blame? Dr Zoe Williams answers your concerns

CHILDREN have returned to the classrooms – but how are yours faring?

The Sun’s online Beat The Back To School Bugs series has plenty of tips for keeping your kids healthy as the new term gathers pace.

Dr Zoe answers questions on dementia and failing an alcohol urine test at work
Dr Zoe answers questions on dementia and failing an alcohol urine test at work

With a change in routine, the pressures of schoolwork and potential for bullying, children may struggle with their mental health.

Signs include withdrawing from their usual leisure activities, changes to eating and sleeping habits and mood.

To help your child open up, do an activity together, such as cooking or going for a walk, when it is clear to your child you are available to listen.

The more regularly you check in with them, the more normal it will become.

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Here is what readers have asked me this week . . . 

Q MY husband was diagnosed with dementia in 2020.

It’s getting harder to be at home in our two-storey house and I want to move to a bungalow.

But will his dementia get worse in new surroundings?

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A A person in the earlier stages of dementia is likely to cope better with moving home than someone in the later stages.

It is advisable to make any changes to a person’s surroundings when their dementia is stable, if this is possible.

Moving home can be unsettling for anyone, even if they have perfect health.

It is worth noting that shortly after a move, someone with dementia can experience a bit of a dip.

It is not a true deterioration of the disease process in the brain, but an additional factor exacerbating symptoms of the disease.

For people living with dementia, moving to unfamiliar surroundings can make them feel more confused, disorientated and upset.

Your husband may seem out of character for a while and ask about “home” and “going home”.

He may not initially accept the new surroundings and possibly ask questions repetitively, or even make accusations.

None of this is easy, but if everyone is prepared it will make a huge difference.

There are some things you can do to help make the transition more comfortable.

Depending on the person’s stage of dementia, conversations and visits to the new home and photographs of it before moving can make the new environment more familiar.

When you move try to keep the room as familiar as possible, by considering layout and using furniture or decorations he is used to.

Leave the bathroom door open and a light on at night.

You can ask your GP or local authority to refer you to an occupational therapist, who can recommend ways to adapt the environment to support your husband.

For example, adding dementia-friendly clocks or labelling doors.

Q I RECENTLY failed an alcohol urine test with my employer.

At the same time, I was really struggling to pass urine and when I did the test I hadn’t had a wee overnight – and not for about eight hours.

Doing the test was a struggle but I managed to pass enough urine.

After being told I had failed it, I went to my GP, who confirmed I had acute urine retention and an enlarged prostate.

I have been fitted with a catheter to help with my problem until I have a date for a HoLEP procedure.

Would alcohol still be in my urine with the problem I have and would it cause me to fail an alcohol urine test?

I have been with my current employer for 26 years and have never failed until now.

The only explanation I can find is my urine retention problem.

Please help as this has got me down.

A Firstly, thank you for writing in.

This must have been an incredibly unpleasant and upsetting set of circumstances, especially with it being related to your employer.

Acute urinary retention occurs when you lose the ability to empty your bladder.

In your case, the enlarged prostate was squashing the urethra, the tube that starts at the base of the bladder, passes through the prostate gland to the end of the penis and ends at the urethral opening, where you pee from.

If an enlarged prostate puts enough pressure on the urethra, it can nip it off and then the bladder has to stretch to hold more urine.

The HoLEP procedure you are waiting for will hollow out the prostate to reduce its volume, which should take the pressure off the urethra, so your bladder can empty normally again.

I don’t know if this would have affected the result of the urine test and I wasn’t able to find a conclusive answer.

Was there any infection in the urine at the time?

This can cause a false positive urine alcohol result.

I’m guessing your employer has been made aware of everything, and that you are waiting for a prostate procedure?

If not, tell them.

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The fact you’ve worked for the company for 26 years and never had a failed test, and your acute urinary retention was diagnosed, would count as a mitigating circumstance in my opinion.

If you are still feeling down, it is worth talking to your company’s human resources department and getting this cleared up as quickly as possible.


Hana Carter

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