Urology is the medical field dedicated to the health of the urinary system and the male reproductive system. The urinary tract stores and releases urine as liquid waste, helping the body to maintain the right balance of water and chemicals.
Urology focuses on the care of the bladder, kidneys, prostate gland, ureters, urethra, and male reproductive organs. However, everyone – including men, women, and children – can develop urological conditions that should be addressed by a specialized physician.
What Does a Urologist Do?
Urologists diagnose and treat problems and disorders of the urinary tract and the related organs.
The urinary tract includes the following:
· Kidneys – Filter waste out of the blood to produce urine
· Ureters – Carry urine from kidneys to the bladder
· Bladder – Stores urine
· Urethra – Moves urine from the bladder out of the body
The male reproductive system:
· Testicles – Organs inside the scrotum that make testosterone and produce sperm
· Prostate – Gland below the bladder that adds fluid to sperm to produce semen
· Penis-releases urine and sperm out of the body
When to See a Urologist
Urological problems can occur at any age and should be treated if they do appear, but a normally healthy person should see a urologist regularly from the age of 40 to maintain their urinary and sexual health. Men over 40 should ideally get annual exams with the same doctor.
Starting in the 40s, urinary and sexual health – especially prostate health for men – plays a big role in a person’s quality of life. Urologists are experts in managing these issues and in guiding patients on what to expect, recommending lifestyle changes if necessary, and determining whether a problem needs to be monitored or treated.
A urologist will check a man’s PSA (prostate-specific antigen) or look for any changes in his PSA as compared with past exams. Any elevation in the PSA or any changes must be evaluated for the possibility of prostate cancer. Recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs) in either gender should also be addressed by a urologist.
Some urological conditions may not manifest symptoms immediately. The following need urgent attention:
· Frequent urge or difficulty in urinating
· Burning pain during urination
· Sudden noticeable decrease in sexual desire
· Abnormal prostate during self-exam (unusual firmness, small nodules, or irregularities)
· Erectile dysfunction and low libido (these may indicate hypertension, renal failure, or vascular disease)
· Blood in urine
· Testicular pain
· Symptoms indicating kidney stones (pain coupled with overly frequent urination, or urgency withut the ability to urinate)
· Lower abdominal pain
· Severe constipation
Conditions Urologists Treat
In addition to addressing urinary tract infections, incontinence, infertility, and Interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome) – all of which can occur in either gender – urologists check and treat the following health issues:
· Cancers of the bladder, kidneys, penis, testicles, adrenal glands, and prostate glands
· Varicoceles (enlarged veins in the scrotum)
· Bladder or pelvic organ prolapse
· Pain in the pelvic region (bowel, bladder, uterus, or ovaries)
· Dropping of the bladder into the vagina
· Cancers of the adrenal glands, bladder, or kidneys
· Overactive bladder
· Menopause issues
· Sexual dysfunction
· Blockages and problems in the urinary tract
· Undescended testicles
Urologists in Phoenix
If you are concerned about your urological health, call Ironwood Urology today at (480) 961-2323 or request an appointment online. Dr. Desi Avila is a board-certified urologist with extensive experience with men’s health concerns. Let us help you get healthy so you can enjoy the active lifestyle you love.