When Should a Woman See a Urologist?
Do women see urologists? The short answer is yes!
Although it is a common misconception that urologists are only for men, this is not the case. A urologist specializes in diseases of the urinary tract for both men and women. Now that we’ve set the record straight, when should a woman see a urologist?
Whether you’re going for an annual checkup or a specific reason, it is always important to make yourself — and your health — a priority. In this blog, we’re breaking down the eight most common urological problems that women experience. To answer the question, “When should a woman see a urologist,” keep reading!
8 Common Urological Problems for Women
1. Female Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence (UI) is when the body involuntarily leaks urine. This condition occurs more often in women than in men, and there’s no denying that it can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Symptoms of urinary incontinence include involuntary urine leaks during physical activity or a sudden need to urinate even shortly after using the restroom.
The good news is that urinary incontinence is a very fixable problem! A urologist can examine your symptoms and determine what type of urinary incontinence you’re experiencing. Afterwards, they will be able to recommend a treatment plan, so you can achieve a leak-free life once again.
2. Overactive Bladder
An overactive bladder causes the involuntary loss of urine due to a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. Because of changes in estrogen and weakened pelvic floor muscles after pregnancy or menopause, women are more likely to suffer from an overactive bladder. In fact, two out of five women are affected by this condition.
Symptoms of an overactive bladder include frequently needing to use the restroom, waking up two or more times during the night to use the bathroom, or involuntary leaking. Due to lack of awareness, an overactive bladder often goes untreated. However, when diagnosed, an overactive bladder can easily be treated!
3. Recurrent UTIs
If you think you might be suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI), you’re not alone. In fact, more than half of women will experience at least one in their lifetime. Because a woman’s urethra is close to their rectum, it is easier for bacteria to enter and cause an infection. A urologist will diagnose a chronic UTI if a person has two infections during a span of six months.
Chronic UTI symptoms include frequent urination, dark or bloody urine, a burning sensation while urinating, and pain in your kidneys or bladder region. Most UTIs are treatable with a prolonged course of antibiotics. After completing your antibiotics, a urologist will monitor your symptoms and create a plan to help prevent any future UTIs.
4. Blood in Urine
Blood in urine, also known as hematuria, comes in two forms. While some blood is visible and easy to detect, it can also be microscopic and invisible to the naked eye. In these cases, a urinalysis will be needed to detect the blood.
Blood in urine is a common symptom of an underlying urinary issue. The potential causes of hematuria include a UTI, urinary tract cancer, bladder or kidney stones, and kidney disease. Once your urologist determines what is causing the blood in your urine, they will be able to treat the issue accordingly.
5. Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are small, hard mineral deposits that form inside of kidneys. When a large kidney stone develops, it can become lodged in your urinary tract, causing a blockage and immense pain. Symptoms include severe pain in your side or back, a burning sensation while urinating, cloudy or foul-smelling urine, and nausea or vomiting.
In some cases, a patient will be able to pass their stone naturally by taking pain medication and drinking plenty of water. However, more severe kidney stones may require surgery to effectively remove the stone.
6. Kidney Cancer
As is the case with any disease, it is much easier to successfully treat kidney cancer when it’s detected early. In the early stages of kidney cancer, patients may show no symptoms at all. As the cancer progresses, patients start to exhibit various symptoms, such as changes in urine, extreme fatigue, swollen face or feet, localized pain, or nausea. Kidney cancer is often found during a routine screening, which shows why it is important for women to see a urologist.
7. Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is a form of cancer that occurs in the tissues of the bladder. Although it is more common in men, it is still possible for a woman to develop bladder cancer. There are three types of bladder cancer: transitional cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma.
In most cases, blood in the urine is the first detectable sign of bladder cancer. Bladder cancer can also affect urination, including changes such as frequent urination, a pain or burning sensation while using the bathroom, and having difficulty urinating. However, these symptoms could also be caused by a UTI, kidney stones, or an overactive bladder, so it is important to see a urologist to be properly diagnosed.
8. Low Sex Drive
Like the name suggest, low sex drive is characterized by an overall loss of sexual desire. There are many factors that can cause a low sex drive — both physical and mental. Potential reasons for developing a low sex drive include relationship issues, depression or anxiety, stress, medical illnessess, and low estrogen levels. Although there is no “normal” schedule for sexual intercourse, we recommend contacting a specialist if you notice a change in your sex drive.
When to See a Urologist vs. a Primary Care Doctor
So, when should a woman see a urologist? Although your primary care doctor may be able to diagnose or treat minor urological issues, a urologist is specifically trained to treat any condition involving the urinary tract.
All of our urologists are board-certified by the American Board of Urology, and are trained in the latest treatments and procedures to help you with whatever urological problem you may be experiencing.
If you think you are experiencing symptoms related to a urological problem, we suggest going straight to a urologist. In fact, you don’t even need a medical issue to see a urologist! We recommend scheduling an annual physical exam to proactively monitor your urinary tract health.
See One of Our Urology Specialists
If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “When should a woman see a urologist?” then we hope reading this blog has answered your question. If you are experiencing any of the urological problems that we mentioned in this blog, or you would like a physical exam to check your urinary tract health, then contact us to schedule an appointment.
And in the meantime, check out our Checklist of Preventative Yearly Care for Women! This guide is designed to be your go-to resource for all your female health needs, especially as you age. Click the button below to access your free copy!