What exactly does a urologist treat? A urologist is a specialist who treats diseases or disorders of the male and female urinary tract as well as the male reproductive system. The organs included in this field are the kidneys, adrenal glands, ureters, bladder, and urethra, as well as the male testes, prostate and penis. Here is a general idea of the types of diseases and disorders that a urologist treats:
1. Prostate Cancer
Because prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the United States, men need to be aware of potential symptoms, including dull pain in the lower pelvic area, frequent or painful urination, and blood in the urine or semen. A urologist will diagnose prostate cancer by performing a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate specific antigen (PSA).
2. Kidney Cancer
Though kidney cancer is one of the most treatable and curable cancers when it is diagnosed early, there are often no obvious symptoms. Many cases of kidney cancer are discovered when a urologist is treating someone for an unrelated problem.
3. Bladder Cancer
Smokers put themselves at a higher risk for bladder cancer, the 6th most common cancer in the United States. Treatments for bladder cancer include transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT), laser therapy, intravesical chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
4. Kidney Stones
A urologist can treat the painful occurrence of kidney stones with several treatment options including extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), ureteroscopy (URS), percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PNL) or open surgery.
5. Enlarged Prostate
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), commonly known as enlarged prostate, is a common problem for aging men. Because of the prostate’s close proximity to the bladder, BPH can cause problems with urination such as frequent urges to urinate, dribbling, or inability to urinate.
6. Male and Female Incontinence
A urologist is able to treat both male and female incontinence. There are many treatments for this condition, ranging from physical therapy to medications to surgery.
Prostatitis, or prostate infection, is a condition with symptoms that can include painful urination; pain in the lower back, abdomen or pelvic area; fever; and chills. However, for some men prostatitis can occur without any symptoms. Once the urologist discovers the cause of the prostatitis, then a course of treatment, usually involving antibiotics, can be determined.
8. Erectile Dysfunction
A urologist can offer a variety of treatments for erectile dysfunction (ED) including medications, external vacuum devices and surgical procedures.
9. Urinary Tract Infections (Cystitis)
UTIs affect about 40 percent of all women and 12 percent of all men at some point during their lifetime, causing symptoms of painful or burning urination, cloudy urine, and abdominal pain. UTIs can be treated with easily with antibiotics, but it is important to see a urologist if you have any symptoms to rule out other more serious medical problems.
10. Peyronie’s Disease
Though less common than some of the other urological diseases and disorders, Peyronie’s Disease effects middle aged men. Peyronie’s Disease causes a formation of scar tissue along the penis. Though this scar tissue can’t be seen, it can lead to painful erections.
11. Male Infertility
Infertility affects approximately 1 in 6 couples trying to have children. A urologist can diagnose the cause of male infertility and then offer various treatment options depending on the cause of the infertility problem.
Though having a vasectomy doesn’t fit into the urinary tract disorder category, it is a very common reason for men to see a urologist. A vasectomy is a relatively simple procedure, and is one of the most effective methods of birth control for couples who decide they no longer want to have children.
These are just a few of the many reasons to see a urologist. In fact, you don’t even need to have a medical issue to see a urologist, because it’s a smart idea to schedule an annual physical exam with a urologist to proactively monitor your urinary tract health. If you would like more information about these or any other treatments involving the urinary tract, or you would just like a physical exam to check your urinary tract health, then contact Urology Specialists of the Carolinas today.