Men, How Will You Know It’s Time to See a Urologist? –Mike Smith, RPh
For many men, the decision to see a physician about a physical problem is not an easy one to make. This is especially true if the problem involves an intimate subject like urology, so let’s go over some valid reasons to consider making that appointment.
These primarily include: Erectile Dysfunction (ED), difficulty in urination (usually Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, or BPH), loss of bladder control, blood in urine, lower abdominal pain, a testicular mass, lowered sexual desire or libido, and infertility.
For ED, it is important to explore the causes, since there are many. A few men have a psychological issue or a relationship which leads to ED, but much more commonly it is a physical problem. ED can be the result of a vascular (blood vessel) disease, high blood pressure, renal (kidney) disease, and low Testosterone levels. Of these, probably the easiest to correct is Low Testosterone. We are fortunate to live in a time when there are multiple ways to treat Low T, starting with injection (which is the oldest method in common use); topical administration (which can be creams, gels, or patches); and now pellet therapy which is becoming more available. Pellet Therapy involves implantation of testosterone under the skin, where it releases over 3 to 6 months. Other causes such as high blood pressure can be treated and blood pressure medications can usually be adjusted to find a therapy less likely to cause ED. Treatments specific to ED include the commonly available oral drugs like Viagra and also an injectable combination of drugs called “Tri-Mix”, which has to be compounded in a pharmacy which has a certified cleanroom.
BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy) is a very common reason to see the urologist. This has been covered extensively elsewhere, but it is an important consideration since it can lead to difficulty in urination. The process inhibits the body’s ability to fully empty the bladder, leading to frequent bathroom visits at night, and sometimes urinary urgency.
Loss of bladder control is another good reason to see a urologist. While not always possible, a urologist can help with bladder training or medications to manage the problem.
Blood in the urine should always get your attention. Multiple causes exist, but since one of the causes is bladder or kidney cancer, this should get you to the doctor to rule that out.
A testicular mass found upon self-examination could indicate a tumor, but also could have other causes, so don’t let this go very long without getting it checked out.
Lower abdominal pain and infertility are very non-specific (have many causes), but if this is unexplained and/or persistent, it would be a good idea to explore the causes with a doctor.
While I understand the reluctance of men to deal with these sensitive subjects, it is dangerous to put these issues off until too late to do anything about them. If you recognize yourself in these ailments, do yourself a favor and see a doctor.