When Should You See a Urologist?

Urology is a branch of medicine that specializes in the medical and surgical aspects of the female and male urinary tract as well as the male reproductive system. Urologists usually focus on any of these 7 subspecialties:

  • Calculi for stones in the urinary tract
  • Female urology for pelvic outlet relaxation disorders and urinary incontinence
  • Male infertility
  • Neurourology for erectile dysfunction and voiding disorders
  • Pediatric urology
  • Renal transplantation
  • Urologic oncology, which deals with cancer

Common Concerns That Need the Attention of a Urologist

  1. Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection

UTI or urinary tract infection, as its name suggests, is the infection of the urinary tract. It is caused by bacteria and can be classified into 2 types, depending on whether they occur in the bladder or urethra. Bladder infections are almost always caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a typically harmless bacteria that can be found in the small intestine. Urethral infections are often caused by sexually transmitted infections such as herpes and gonorrhea. UTI symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating, bloody or dark urine, frequent urination, and kidney pain.

  1. Urinary Incontinence

Loss of control over one’s bladder is a common and embarrassing problem. Sometimes, incontinence only involves leaking a bit of urine upon sneezing or coughing. There are also episodes when it is so severe that getting to the toilet in time is pretty much impossible. Do not hesitate to see a urologist if your daily life is being disrupted by incontinence.

  1. Painful Bladder Syndrome

Also known as interstitial cystitis (IC), painful bladder syndrome is a chronic bladder problem that causes pain and pressure below the belly button. Cases vary from person to person, and symptoms may change every day, or last weeks, months, or even years. At worst, the condition sends the patient to the bathroom anywhere from 40 to 60 times a day.For women, the condition is sometimes accompanied by pain in the vulva, vagina, or behind the vagina, while men experience pain in the testicles, penis, scrotum, or the area behind the scrotum.

  1. Enlarged Prostate

Enlarged prostate or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) is a common prostate problem for more than half of American males over the age of 60. This non-cancerous enlargement happens when prostate cells gradually multiply and block the urethra through which semen and urine exit the body. Accompanying signs of an enlarged prostate includes continued dribbling of urine, difficulty in starting urination, feeling that the bladder is not completely empty after peeing, frequent and urgent need to urinate, and weak or slow urinary stream.

  1. Kidney Stones

Kidney stones, also called renal lithiasis and nephrolithiasis, are small mineral and salt stones formed in the kidney. Any part of the urinary tract can suffer from the presence of kidney stones, and passing them through urination can be quite painful. Mild cases only require the patient to drink lots of water and pain medication. Stones lodged in the tract, however, can cause complications and may require surgery for removal. Kidney stones are usually accompanied by cloudy or foul smelling urine, fever and chills, pain when urinating, and severe pain in the side and back.

  1. Erectile Dysfunction

Last but not the least is sexual dysfunction. It is characterized with trouble getting and maintaining an erection, and reduced sexual desire. Males suffering from this condition should not hesitate discussing it with their urologist.

The Urinary Tract Anatomical Chart

Image Source – Woulters Kluwer

References: About, Mayo Clinic

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