It is inevitable that most men, especially as they age, will at some point experience some sort of urological problem. These complications could also be a result of certain conditions, injury, genetics, or even a birth defect. Urinary health is a vital component of a man’s healthcare. Urology focuses on the health of the urinary tract, which encompasses the kidney’s, bladder, urethra, and reproductive system, and is responsible for removing waste (urine) from the body.
Urologists have special training and knowledge of men’s health and what to do for the male urinary tract and reproductive system, should an issue arise. Many times, problems like urinary incontinence, infertility, and bladder infections (UTIs) are common problems that are often associated with women. However, this is not always the case, as men can be affected too. This can often cause embarrassment, and effect self-esteem, confidence, and quality of life. Therefore, when issues do arise, it is crucial that a man seek help from a urologist as early as possible, so further complications do not occur.
Here are a few of the most common urological conditions that affect men:
- Enlarged Prostate (BPH): Having an enlarged prostate is one of the most common issues for men, especially older men. This condition is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or BPH. BPH occurs when the prostate, a walnut shaped gland located between the bladder and urethra, becomes enlarged, making it hard to urinate. Some men experience a sensation that they need to urinate, but nothing comes out, due to swelling of the bladder and prostate. BPH can be dangerous if left untreated, with kidney problems and infections a distinct possibility. The urologist will test a man’s PSA level (Prostate-Specific Antigen, a protein produced by the prostate), and if levels are high, it can indicate a possible diagnosis of prostate cancer.
- Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer happens to be the second leading cause of death for men. It occurs when cells in the prostate become cancerous and start to grow uncontrollably. All men need to have their PSA level checked annually as well as have a digital rectal exam. Depending on the man’s PSA levels, and severity of the cancer, treatment options will vary and may include chemotherapy and radiation.
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED): Erectile Dysfunction is a common condition that affects men, with 52 percent of men age 40 and up experiencing ED in the United States. ED occurs when a man is unable to get or maintain an erection for sexual intercourse. It’s not uncommon for a man to feel embarrassed or depressed in this situation, as sexual health is an extremely important part of an intimate relationship. If they feel like they are not providing or pulling their weight, it hurts their confidence and self-esteem. Fortunately, the urologist has many treatment options for erectile dysfunction, including medication, hormone replacement, surgery, etc.
- Prostatitis or UTI: Men can get a urinary tract infection just like women can. If it burns when you pee, or the urine is cloudy, this can be a sign that bacteria are in your urinary tract and could result in a UTI. Generally, a UTI can be treated with antibiotics. Prostatitis is an infection in the prostate that is similar to a UTI, but can cause painful urination, abdominal pain, pelvic and lower back pain.
- Urinary Incontinence: Urinary incontinence is a more common condition for men as they get older. This occurs when muscles in the pelvic wall weaken, causing a person to lose control of their bladder, causing leaking, or someone to have to pee frequently.
Infertility: Infertility doesn’t only affect women. A man is the other part of the equation. 15 percent of couples are infertile, meaning after having sex for about a year, they are unable to conceive a child. Half of that percentage of couples contributes to the male side. A urologist can help properly diagnose the cause of infertility and help create a treatment plan. Treatment for infertility depends on what is causing it, which could be hormone levels, mood, stress, low sperm count, etc.
To learn more about the common urological conditions that could affect men, and what treatment options are available, call Urology Specialists of Milford at (508) 473-6333, or request an appointment online. A Harvard trained and board-certified urologist, Dr. Steinberg has extensive knowledge of the many ways that men’s health can be affected. He will diagnose your condition, and find the safest, most effective treatment for each individual.