Nov 11, 2021 Key Reasons to See a Urologist

Urologists at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus explain how to recognize some of the most common urological conditions and when to see a doctor.

Many people don’t think about their urologic health until something goes wrong. But it’s common to experience difficulties with the urinary tract—the bodily system that urologists treat and maintain.

Imani Rosario, MD
Imani Rosario, MD

The urinary system includes the bladder, kidneys, ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the bladder), surrounding tissues and parts of the male reproductive anatomy.

“Urologic problems can happen to anyone, male or female,” says Imani Rosario, MD, a urologist at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus (MMCSC). “Proper functioning of the urinary tract and related systems is vital to good health, so it can be important to consult a urologist with specialized expertise if you experience difficulties.”

“Don’t let embarrassment be a barrier to care,” advises MMCSC urologist Propa Ghosh, MD. “Some people feel that talking about certain problems is undignified, but all parts of the body are equally dignified when it comes to maintaining proper function and overall health. It’s a privilege for us to treat people who trust us with what are sometimes highly personal matters.”

Propa Ghosh, MD
Propa Ghosh, MD

Here’s how to recognize some of the most common urologic conditions and manage them with the help of a urologist.

Bladder Control Problems

TELLTALE SIGNS: Urine leakage during everyday activities or an inability to reach a toilet in time.

Women often experience urinary incontinence when pelvic floor muscles weaken due to pregnancy and childbirth, menopause or a variety of conditions including pelvic organ prolapse—a stretching of connective tissues around the bladder and vaginal wall. Men sometimes leak urine due to prostate problems.

Lifestyle measures such as physical activity and weight loss can lead to fewer leaks and reduce risks of conditions that can increase urinary urges such as diabetes. Urinating on a regular schedule and doing pelvic floor exercises may also help. In some cases, urologists treat incontinence using medications and medical devices.

Kidney Stones

TELLTALE SIGNS: Sharp pain in your back, side, lower abdomen or groin, or blood in your urine.

Solid, pebble-like kidney stones can form when urine contains high levels of minerals such as calcium. Some are small and may pass with little or no discomfort. But larger stones can become lodged in the urinary tract, impeding the flow of urine and triggering pain or bleeding.

A urologist can treat kidney stones using a variety of methods that typically break the stone into smaller pieces that pass more easily through the urinary tract. You can help prevent kidney stones from recurring by drinking enough liquids throughout the day, reducing dietary intake of minerals such as calcium and sodium or taking specific medications prescribed by your urologist.

Urinary Tract Infections

TELLTALE SIGNS: A burning sensation when you urinate or unusually intense or frequent urges to void even when you have little urine to pass.

Bacteria can infect any part of the urinary tract, but bladder infections are most common. Bladder infections sometimes move upstream and cause kidney infections, so it’s important to treat a urinary tract infection (UTI) early.

Most UTIs can be treated by taking a full course of an antibiotic. To prevent future UTIs, drink plenty of water and urinate often (including after sex) to flush bacteria out of your system. A urologist can also advise on hygiene practices that help keep bacteria from the urethra. If UTIs recur, ask a urologist about changing birth control methods, some of which pose lower risks of UTIs than others.

Prostate Enlargement

TELLTALE SIGNS: Needing to urinate often or urgently yet often having a weak stream, difficulty starting a stream or dribbling at the end of urination, or experiencing pain with urination or ejaculation.

As men age, natural growth of the prostate gland can begin pressing the nearby urethra, reducing the flow of urine and making it more difficult for the bladder to empty completely. If urinary difficulties can’t be controlled with simple measures like regulating fluid intake, a urologist may prescribe medications that help control prostate growth or relax certain muscles to improve urine flow. A urologic surgeon can also perform a variety of minimally invasive procedures to destroy prostate tissue and relieve pressure on the urethra.

Erectile Dysfunction

TELLTALE SIGNS: An inability to achieve or keep an erection adequate for satisfying sex.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is common but not necessarily a normal part of aging. A variety of factors that affect the body’s vascular, nervous and hormonal systems can contribute to ED, including cardiovascular conditions such as high blood pressure and atherosclerosis; type 2 diabetes; nerve damage; and psychological issues like depression and anxiety.

Lifestyle measures such as losing weight, not smoking, drinking less or no alcohol and increasing physical activity can often help. If not, a variety of medications can facilitate the male response by boosting blood flow. A urologist can also offer guidance on other options such as medications delivered through injections or suppositories, devices or surgery to repair blood vessels.

To find a urologist at MMCSC, call 888.724.7123.