Urology is the field of medicine that focuses on the urinary tract and the male reproductive system's health and function. You would visit a urologist to seek treatment for any condition affecting the Genitourinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra, and adrenal glands. They will also diagnose and treat conditions affecting the penis, prostate, and testicles.
Minor urinary tract concerns can be treated by your primary care physician, but should symptoms persist or worsen, you may want to see a specialist. For urinary symptoms, you should seek help from a urologist. When symptoms continue, there may be an underlying condition to blame, and if left undiagnosed and untreated, you could experience a decline in overall health. You don’t want to delay your visit to the urologist.
It can be uncomfortable to discuss urological and sexual problems, but it is necessary for overall health. There are certain conditions that can negatively impact your sex life, your quality of life, and overall health if left untreated. It is important for men to be on the lookout for specific symptoms. Earlier diagnosis leads to better chances of successful treatment. Early intervention is key!
You should see your urologist if you notice any of the following:
♦ Blood in your semen or urine
♦ Pain in your lower back, sides, or pelvis
♦ Frequent need to urinate
♦ Trouble urinating
♦ Urine leakage
♦ Pain or burning sensation during urination
♦ Decreased sexual desire
♦ Difficulty getting or keeping an erection
♦ Lump in the testicle
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should make an appointment with a urologist. Several of these symptoms can be indicators of multiple different conditions and may overlap, so it is important to get an accurate diagnosis. The urologist can correctly identify the condition and work to prevent it from developing into something more serious.
Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can cause infections anywhere along the urinary tract. These are common and can be serious if left untreated. Bacteria are the most common cause, but additional factors can increase the risk of developing an infection, such as:
♦ A previous infection
♦ Age (these are more common in older adults)
♦ Kidney stones
♦ Urinary tract obstructions, such as an enlarged prostate
♦ Prolonged bed rest
♦ Prolonged use of catheters
♦ Poorly controlled metabolic conditions
♦ Weakened immune system
Don’t wait: When an infection reaches the upper tract (kidneys), it can be life-threatening. So, it is important to seek medical care if you suspect you have one. Infections can also move from the kidneys into the bloodstream, leading to a condition that causes dangerously low blood pressure, shock, and even death.
The prostate continues to grow with age as a result of prostate cells multiplying. As a result, the gland increases in size. The natural changes in sex hormones associated with aging are thought to play a role in the development of this enlargement, and a family history of prostate problems also increases your risk.
At first, the symptoms are mild, but if the condition is left untreated, they become more serious and uncomfortable. The most common symptoms include:
♦ A weak urinary system
♦ Incomplete bladder emptying
♦ Loss of bladder control
♦ A sudden need to urinate
♦ Painful urination
♦ Blood in the urine
♦ Need to strain when urinating
Don’t wait: While prostate cell growth is normal, it is important to make sure a more serious condition does not develop. Regular prostate screening after the age of 50 allows you to identify abnormal cell growth so that you can begin treatment right away. With any prostate enlargement, it is important to seek proper diagnosis and treatment, as the enlarged gland can interfere with urinary function and significantly reduce your quality of life.
Loss of Bladder Control
Loss of bladder control causes you to leak urine accidentally. It is primarily a symptom of another health condition, and there are several medical conditions that can cause this. In men, the likeness to develop this increases with age. It is important to identify the underlying cause in order to treat the problem effectively. The conditions that are commonly known to cause urinary issues include:
♦ Being overweight
♦ Obstruction in the urinary tract
♦ Enlarged prostate
♦ Nerve damage
Don’t wait: Loss of bladder control not only interferes with your personal life but, without treatment, can increase your risk for repeated infections. Continuously wet skin can also cause skin infections, rashes, and sores.
Small, hard deposits of mineral acid salts can form inside your kidneys, and while these do not typically cause damage, they are painful as they pass through the urinary tract. Symptoms of these stones include:
♦ Difficulty urinating
♦ Cloudy or bloody urine
♦ Upset stomach
♦ Pain in the side, back, groin, or lower stomach
Poor kidney health is marked by the inability of the kidneys to filter blood and remove toxins effectively. Your body is at risk of toxin buildup, leading to an increased risk of chronic health conditions. Kidney health is particularly important for men, as studies have shown a link between hormone reduction associated with aging and poor kidney function.
Often there are no symptoms present with poor kidney health, but possible symptoms can include:
♦ Unexplained shortness of breath
♦ Persistent nausea
♦ Reduced amount of urine
♦ Swelling in the extremities (fluid retention)
♦ Pressure in your chest
Don’t wait: Poor kidney function and mineral acid salt deposits can be dangerous, especially if there is an infection following it through the urinary tract. When the urine is stagnant, there is more time for bacteria to colonize and multiple. Bacterial load increases and predisposes you to more serious conditions, which can become fatal if left untreated.
There is also a significant link between kidney failure and reduced sexual function, where renal failure changes hormone level and function, causing erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. In later stages, the risk of infertility is also increased.
Men of any age can experience the inability to get or keep an erection, although the risk does increase with age. This typically is the result of an underlying problem that needs attention. It can be caused by psychological and physiological issues such as stress, fatigue, injury, and excessive alcohol consumption. Additional causes in older men include:
♦ Being overweight
♦ Poor kidney function
♦ Poor thyroid function
♦ Sleep disorders
♦ Nerve damage
♦ High blood lipid count
♦ High blood pressure
♦ Poor cardiovascular health
♦ Uncontrolled glucose levels
Another common reproductive issue in men is caused by low sperm production, blockages that prevent delivery of sperm, or abnormal sperm function. Several factors can contribute to this, including:
♦ Lifestyle choices (smoking, alcohol drugs, being overweight)
♦ Hormone imbalances
♦ Environmental factors (pollution toxins, radiation)
Chronic health problems can also be a factor in low sperm count. The most obvious symptom is the inability to conceive a child, but there are other symptoms to be aware of, such as:
♦ Pain or swelling in the testicle area
♦ Abnormal breast growth
♦ Recurrent respiratory infections
♦ Low sperm count
♦ Sexual dysfunction
Don’t wait: The inability to get or hold an erection can be a sign of an underlying condition related to metabolic or even heart health. Ignoring this can leave you with an undetected cardiovascular problem that could be fatal. Reproductive issues can be stressful, but complications can also develop if it is left untreated. Not only can you not conceive a child, but there may be an underlying infection or condition that needs treatment.
When you visit a urologist, specific tests are performed to help correctly identify the condition you may have. After providing a urine sample, you will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms. After a physical exam, the urologist may also perform any of these tests depending on the symptoms you report:
♦ Imaging tests such as a CT or MRI scan or an ultrasound to see inside your urinary tract
♦ Cystogram to take images of your bladder
♦ Cystoscopy (using a small scope to see inside your urethra and bladder)
♦ Post-void residual test to see how fast urine leaves the bladder and how much is left in the bladder after you urinate
The treatment your urologist will prescribe will depend on the diagnosis and the underlying cause of the condition being treated.
An enlarged prostate is initially treated with self-care and remedies at home. If symptoms persist or worsen, then you need to re-visit with your doctor. When symptoms do not subside, medications and surgery may be recommended. Infections are typically treated with antibiotics, as bacteria are the most common cause. In the event a virus is the cause, antivirals may be prescribed.
The inability to get or keep an erection is treated by addressing the underlying cause. In many cases, medications that are designed to increase blood flow to the penis will be prescribed. Medications are also prescribed to help promote normal urinary function by relaxing bladder muscles for more efficient emptying.
Poor kidney function can be treated with medication to relieve pain and drinking plenty of water to help pass toxins or mineral buildup. The use of a machine to filter your blood for you can help to extend the life of your kidneys. Kidney replacement is the final option, but there is a long waitlist for this procedure.
You also have natural treatment options to help support prostate and urinary tract health.
1MD Nutrition’s ProstateMD® formula contains a superior extract, USPlus®️ saw palmetto, which is the highest quality on the market and strongly recommended for prostate health. USPlus®️ saw palmetto works by inhibiting enzymes responsible for the hormone activity that affects prostate cell growth. This helps to minimize further prostate enlargement and support overall urinary tract function.
In addition to this, the ProstateMD® formula contains several equally powerful and beneficial ingredients to support men’s health.
♦ Pygeum: This herbal extract supports prostate and urinary tract health by protecting tissues from oxidative damage and reducing the risk of infection.
♦ Pumpkin seed oil: Both alone and combined with saw palmetto, pumpkin seed oil supports healthy prostate cell growth and bladder and urinary tract function.
♦ Stinging nettle: These leaves contain potent antioxidants and essential minerals that support prostate growth and bladder function. This helps to maintain proper urinary flow.
Most urological conditions can be treated successfully when identified early, but the risk of serious disease is significantly increased if ignored. A urologist has the training and experience to correctly identify underlying conditions that can be causing your symptoms. It may be uncomfortable to discuss, but this is not a visit you want to delay.
Should you notice symptoms related to your urinary tract or reproductive organs, seek help from your urologist sooner rather than later. With proper evaluation and the support of clinically-studied, natural ingredients found in ProstateMD®️, you can take a more proactive approach to improve your overall health and vitality.
Dr. Daniel Brison
Dr. Daniel Brison is a board certified urologist who completed medical school at the State University of New York, and residency at the prestigious Endourology fellowship program at UCLA.