10 Questions to Ask Your New Urologist

The medical advances and options available today can make it very confusing to not only understand a health condition but to find the right specialist to treat it. In general, you want someone with whom you can build a rapport and feel comfortable with; someone who can answer any embarrassing questions you may have and provide the information and care you need.

Urologists are physicians and surgeons who are trained to address issues and illnesses of the “body’s plumbing,” or organ systems including the ureters (tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder), and the urethra (the duct that drains urine from the bladder out of the body). Other common conditions they treat are sexual dysfunction, kidney stones, an overactive bladder, urinary tract infections, and even cancer.

Make sure you’re getting the help you need. Go to your first appointment with a urologist armed with a list of queries. And remember: there are no stupid, trivial or questions that are too gross.

Here are some potential questions you may want to ask a urologist:

1. What might be causing my symptoms?

If you have an inkling of what may causing your symptoms, be sure to tell the doctor. He or she may be able to rule out some of those suspicions. And if you’re provided the most common cause of your symptoms, but that doesn’t seem likely to you, be sure to follow-up with “What else might be causing my symptoms?”

2. Can you tell me specifically what my diagnosis is?

Ask for as specific a diagnosis as possible. What do you do next? Are there any choices? If further tests or treatment are needed, you should always ask why they are needed and what other alternatives exist.

3. Do I need to be screened for prostate cancer?

The American Urological Association recommends yearly screenings for men aged 50 - 75 years. This includes a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood screening and a digital rectal exam. Men with a family history of prostate cancer and African-American men are advised to begin screenings at age 40.

4. Why is my sexual drive lower than normal?

The doctor may conduct a morning test of your testosterone levels. If it is normal, most urologists do not recommend additional doses of testosterone. Erectile dysfunction at a young age (under 50) may be caused by past trauma, vascular problems or diseases like diabetes or hypertension.

5. Why do I feel the urge to urinate more frequently?

The urge to urinate usually begins to occur more frequently as men get older. Caffeine and alcohol can make the problem worse by preventing the kidneys from reabsorbing the water one needs to pee. 

6. Why does it take a long time to urinate? 

Many prostate-related urinary problems are the result of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or an enlarged prostate that is putting pressure on the urethra, reducing the flow of urine. Medications can help, but in severe cases invasive interventions may be needed.

7. Why do I have an unusual pain/discomfort/swelling/lump in my genital area?

Don’t be embarrassed about asking questions like these. They may be indications of a urological conditions that need to be treated. 

8. Is my semen normal? 

Normal semen is thick and white. The consistency might vary. Persistent blood in the semen is called hematospermia and may indicate a prostate issue. If your ejaculate is painful or has an odor, it may mean an infection.

9. Can a man break his penis?

A penile fracture occurs when the fibrous connective tissue around it “breaks” during intercourse. There’s usually a very loud, painful snap followed by detumescence (when the erection subsides). The result is bruising and swelling, and it is considered a surgical emergency.

10. What is your experience with this type of cancer?

If you have a confirmed diagnosis of prostate or testicular cancer you need to ask: What is your level of experience, and are you board certified in this particular area?

You need to have the best treatment for best outcomes, quality of life, and chance of survival. Make sure the urologist you choose is up-to-date on the latest technology and procedures.

After your visit, evaluate how it went. Did you like the way the urologist interacted with you? Did he or she seem knowledgeable and trustworthy? Do you want a second opinion? Does he or she understand and respect you?

To learn more about why you should visit your urologist, call Urology Specialists of Milford at (508) 473-6333 to request an appointment with board-certified urologist Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg.