Urology Specialists of Milford, LLC Blog

Posts for tag: Urinary Tract Infections

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.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) occur when bacteria or, less commonly, viruses or fungi enter the urinary tract. Most exit the body in the urine, but if any remain, they can be a source of infection.

Kidneys, ureters, the bladder, and urethra are all part of the urinary tract.  A UTI can happen at any point along this path, though it is most common in the lower tract – the bladder and urethra that respectively hold and eliminate urine from the body.  This infection is known as cystitis.

Generally, when one hears about UTIs, it has to do with women.  But UTIs are not only for women.  Basically, if you have a urinary tract (which you do!) you too can get a UTI.

UTIs in Women

Women are always at high risk of getting a UTI, and for many women the condition becomes chronic.  In fact, about half of all women will get a UTI in their lifetime, with one in five contracting a second one.

One reason why women are at greater risk is because their urethra and anus are very close together.  Believe it or not, simple things like wiping front to back after going to the bathroom can keep bacteria and other havoc-starters at bay. 

Genetics can also play a role:  for example, some women may have structural abnormalities in their urinary tract. Menopause causes changes in the protective vaginal flora, as does dehydration.

Sexually active women must stay vigilant with regard to UTIs, and the risk rises with the frequency of sexual activity:  bacteria flourish with improper use of diaphragms; spermicidal products can trigger genital inflammation; and douching, deodorants and feminine hygiene products may invite invasion by bacteria.

Diabetes compromises the immune system as well and may make the patient vulnerable to UTIs.  Other conditions posing risk include pregnancy, kidney stones, spinal injuries, stroke and multiple sclerosis.

UTIs in Men

Although rare, the risk of UTIs in males increases with age.  UTIs are most common in men over 50 years.

In men, a UTI is often related to an underlying medical condition, such as an enlarged prostate or kidney stones that obstruct urine flow and allow bacteria to fester in the bladder.  Diabetes and other health conditions may further weaken the immune system.  A bladder catheter insertion can pave the way for infectious bacteria.  An uncircumcised penis may harbor harmful bacteria under the foreskin.

Symptoms of UTI in men are generally the same. But one symptom is specific - fluid seepage from the penis.  This would need an immediate medical diagnosis.

UTIs in Children

By the time they are 11 years, about 1% of boys and 3% of girls will have developed a UTI.  The most common symptom is a fever.

If a child does not urinate often, later their muscles may not relax enough to empty their bladder and flush away bacteria in the urine.  Some children may have a structural abnormality that impedes urine flow or lets it reverse from the bladder to the kidneys.  This will cause chronic kidney infections and damage.

Potty training can also lead to UTIs, especially in girls but also in uncircumcised boys.  Again, wiping from back to front after urinating or having a bowel movement, instead of the opposite, is a common cause, and dirty diapers or not cleaning a child properly while diapering can also raise the risk of UTIs.

Symptoms among children are the same as in adults.

UTIs in Infants

Infants cannot verbalize their discomfort.  The only way is to know if they have a UTI is to analyze their symptoms, then report your findings to your pediatrician:

  • Unexplained fever.
  • Strange-smelling urine.
  • Poor appetite, slow weight gain or vomiting.
  • Fussy, irritable behavior.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea.

A suspected UTI in an infant must be seen to immediately to prevent deterioration and kidney damage.

UTIs in the Elderly

UTIs are among the most common infections in the elderly, but their symptoms are often vague and non-specific.

Fatigue, agitation, incontinence or delirium, along with other behavioral changes, may be the only sign of a UTI in this demographic, both for male and female.  The elderly are also more likely to develop serious complications from UTIs.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may have a UTI.

  • Burning, pain (dysuria) sensation, as well as a repeated, strong urge to urinate (especially at night).
  • Pain or pressure in pelvis, lower abdomen or back
  • Cloudy, dark or odorous urine.
  • Fatigue and trembling.
  • Fever, chills, nausea or vomiting (especially if the infection reaches the kidneys).

Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg can expertly evaluate and treat UTIs and help prevent them from recurring. To find out more, call Urology Specialists of Milford at (508) 473-6333 to request an appointment.