When it comes to health and wellness, there is one stereotype in particular that men seem to face more than women. It is the reluctance to schedule an appointment with a primary care provider when a health concern arises.
There can be an even higher level of hesitancy or avoidance when the issue deals with personal areas of your body. Although it may seem uncomfortable to reach out to a doctor about these particular matters, it is vital to do so as certain symptoms can imply that there is something more serious occurring.
What is Urology?
Urology is a branch of medicine that involves the urinary system and male reproductive organs. There is a wide spectrum of conditions that fall under urologic care for men ranging from disease of the prostate and certain cancers to kidney stones and UTIs to incontinence and sexual health.
Whatever end of the spectrum that the concern falls under, it can greatly affect your day-to-day life.
When to See a Urologist
Men often avoid the need for help with an issue, but it’s critical that they recognize symptoms and take action. As our bodies age, our chances of experiencing certain urologic issues increases. Most of these problems are easily dealt with, but there may be a need for further investigation by a specialist.
Health concerns related to urology are usually discussed at an appointment with your primary care physician before a visit with a urologist is suggested. If you are experiencing a less severe condition (a urinary tract infection, for example), then you might not need a referral.
However, if you experience pain in your abdomen, sides, genitals, or back when you urinate, you have erectile problems, or you experience blood in your urine, it is likely that you should see a specialist.
If and when an appointment with a urologist becomes necessary, you can expect a physical exam that may include checking for lumps or tenderness, testing for weakened pelvic wall muscles between the scrotum and intestines, and a prostate exam.
Urological Health Tips
Let’s face it; we all want to avoid perceived sensitive issues that involve our personal health. When it comes to our urologic health, taking some basic steps toward a healthier lifestyle can help reduce your risk for preventable issues.
- Hydrate: Water and hydration are essential to all aspects of our health, especially our urinary tract. Drinking the correct amount of water will not only help keep you hydrated but will also reduce the chance of developing kidney stones. If you divide your bodyweight by two, it will reveal the number of ounces of water you should drink per day. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs., you will need to drink about 100 oz. of water.
- Nutritious Diet: In addition to eating a diet rich with nutritious foods, there are certain foods and beverages to avoid helping reduce bladder irritation such as spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine. You should also avoid a diet that is high in fat as it increases the probability of developing kidney stones or cancer.
- Lifestyle Changes: Exercise, reducing stress, and quitting smoking are all methods that help lower and regulate your blood pressure. In addition to several common health benefits, this can also help to improve erectile dysfunction and other urinary tract issues.
In conjunction with all these healthy habits, it is important to see your doctor on a regular basis. Your scheduled appointments will help to serve as a reminder about the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle, give you the opportunity to bring any concerns up with your provider, and will also help to keep your body in check to help spot any abnormalities that may have developed since your last visit.
Scott Niditch, MD, is with UPMC Urology in North Central Pa. and sees patients at Susquehanna Health Urology, 2330 Saint Mary St. West, Lewisburg, and UPMC Wellsboro Urology, 103 West Ave., Suite 201, Wellsboro. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Niditch, call 570-724-3636. For more information, visit UPMC.com/UrologyNCPA.