There will come a time in most men’s lives when having a urologist will come in handy. As men age and begin having urinary or prostate problems, they realize and understand why urological health is vital to their daily well-being.
What does a urologist do?
Urology is a specialty focusing on the health of the urinary system – kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra – of both men and women. For men, urologists play a strong role in overseeing the health and functioning of the male organs and reproductive system, including the penis, testes, scrotum, and prostate. Urological health is essential for men since health problems in this area commonly increase with age. Urologists can diagnose and treat a wide variety of medical conditions affecting men, including urinary incontinence, recurrent bladder infections, weak pelvic floor muscles, erectile dysfunction, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and prostate cancer.
When should a man see a urologist?
A good question all men should ask is, “When should I start seeing a urologist?” By the time men reach age 40 is a good time to establish that relationship. However, no matter what age, any man, with a medical issue or concern affecting his urinary or reproductive health, should schedule an appointment with a urologist.
Why should men begin seeing a urologist at age 40? The fortieth birthday is a milestone in a man’s life – men are still young but likely beginning to show some wear and tear from unhealthy habits. Two of the most important urological aspects of good health during this phase of life will be prostate and sexual functioning. A urologist is a man’s go-to expert for best managing these issues, helping to guide men on what to expect, what lifestyle changes to make, and when to treat a problem.
However, anytime a man experiences the following urinary health issues, is the time to schedule an appointment with a urologist:
- Kidney stones
- Prostate cancer
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Penile cancer
- Bladder cancer
What happens during a first-time visit to a urologist?
- Fill out a questionnaire
All doctor’s offices have patients fill out a questionnaire asking for basic health information, the severity of any ailments such as lower urinary tract symptoms, incontinence, and sexual health.
- Urine specimen
A urine specimen is routinely asked for a urologist to evaluate a man’s physical and urinary health. Therefore, be sure to go to the appointment with a full bladder in order to easily provide a urine sample.
- Provide medical history and medication list
Most likely the first person a man will see entering the exam room, will be a nurse or other medical staff person. Their job is to ask about any medical issues pertaining to a man’s urinary tract functioning. They will also ask about the health of all bodily systems that can impact the development of urological problems. For instance, men with diabetes are more likely to have erectile dysfunction, urinary tract infections, overactive bladder, or incontinence.
During this part of the visit, the list of medications will be reviewed. It’s wise to bring a complete list of all medications, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, minerals, and any herbal supplements a man takes.
- Urologist performs the physical exam
The physical exam will be performed by the urologist, with the focus on the genitourinary system. For men, the urologist will do a genital exam and a digital rectal exam assessing prostate health. The urologist performs the digital rectal exam by inserting a gloved finger into the rectum to examine the prostate gland, feeling for any abnormalities such as lumps or bumps that may indicate prostate cancer.
For men age 40 and older, the urologist should order a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test used to detect prostate cancer. The PSA test can be done at a doctor’s office where the blood sample is then sent off to a lab to be evaluated.
The urologist will also review a man’s medical history, addressing any specific information affecting urinary or sexual health.
- Develop a treatment plan
Upon completion of the examination, the urologist will discuss a treatment plan based on the findings from the visit. For example, the treatment plan may be ordering additional tests for assessing testosterone levels, kidney functioning, or treating erectile dysfunction.
Depending again on what was uncovered during the initial visit, certain procedures may be advised, such as a cystoscopy to examine the bladder and urethra to diagnose certain conditions.
Urinary and sexual health functioning is vital to every man’s health and well-being. A urologist is the best specialist for keeping a man’s urinary tract functioning at an optimal level. This is the area of medicine they know best and can provide men with the advice and answers they need to protect their urinary and prostate health long-term.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.