Urology focuses on conditions and diseases of the urinary-tract system as well as the male reproductive organs. Both men and women can be susceptible to urological issues, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), but certain conditions affect men only – particularly men who are over the age of 50.
Many urological conditions in men tend to be due to prostate issues. The prostate is a small, walnut-sized organ in the male reproductive system that is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. Its primary function is to produce fluid that makes up part of the semen to nourish and protect sperm.
Urinary and Sexual Health Issues in Men
Most urological issues that men have tend to involve the reproductive system. Let’s take a look at some of the most common urological conditions in men as we get older:
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is a natural enlargement of the prostate that is not the result of a malignant (cancerous) growth. BPH is not linked to prostate cancer and does not increase your risk of getting cancer, but its symptoms can be similar.
The upper section of the urethra passes through the prostate gland – so if the prostate becomes enlarged, it can create pressure and obstruct the passage of fluid through the urethra. This can result in a weak urine stream, a weak bladder, urinary incontinence, a backflow of urine (which can cause bladder or kidney infections), or an inability to urinate. If urine is not released by the body, it can lead to kidney failure.
Cancer can begin in any place in the body. It starts when cells in a specific part of the body suddenly begin to grow and multiply uncontrollably, invading and destroying surrounding healthy tissue and organs. Prostate cancer often develops very slowly, so men may have it for years without knowing it.
Screening tests, such as the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, can usually identify prostate cancer before symptoms develop. Prostate cancer can be treated successfully if detected early.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection that is satisfactory for sexual intercourse. It is not uncommon for men to fail to get or keep an erection from time to time, but if it occurs more than 25% of the time, speak to your urologist for advice and possible treatment.
Although ED most frequently occurs in older men, it can occur at any age and for many reasons. These include underlying health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, clogged blood vessels, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.
Low Testosterone (Low-T)
Testosterone is a male sex hormone, which in men is largely produced by the testicles. Women have a small amount of testosterone and men have a small amount of estrogen; our levels of sex hormones gradually decline with age in both genders. Low testosterone (low-T) is a deficiency, or the underproduction, of testosterone in men.
Testosterone is important in men for a number of factors, including bone density, fat distribution, red blood cell production, muscle strength, sex drive, sperm production, and the growth of facial and body hair. Low-T can be caused by many factors aside from age, including medical conditions such as diabetes, an infection, obesity, an injury to the testicles, or a hormonal condition.
If a man does not produce enough testosterone it can lead to symptoms such as low sex drive, changes in mood (irritability, depression), reduced energy, low bone density, sexual dysfunction, and weight gain.
Men’s Healthcare in Phoenix
Here at Ironwood Urology, our experienced urologist Dr. Desiderio (Desi) Avila focuses on all aspects of men’s health and is committed to the complete evaluation and treatment of many different health conditions.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Avila or to find out more about our services, call us today at (480) 961-2323 or you can request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to being your healthcare partner so you can live the active lifestyle you enjoy.