Urologists diagnose and treat a variety of urinary tract issues. They can also help you with bladder and pelvic pain, as well as sexual dysfunction in men.
If you’re unsure of whether or not to see an urologist online, ask your primary care doctor for referrals or recommendations. This will make it easy for you to find the right specialist for your specific medical needs.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an inflammation of one or more parts of the urinary system, which includes your bladder, urethra, and kidneys. UTIs can be serious and need to be treated early on.
Women are more likely to have UTIs than men. This is because women have shorter urethra tubes that make it easier for bacteria to move up from the rectum.
In addition, pregnancy and menopause can increase the risk of UTIs. Pregnant women may also have more severe infections, especially if they’re using birth control methods that can block the urine flow.
Urinary tract infections can be treated with antibiotics that a healthcare provider prescribes. These are typically given in 3- to 7-day regimens.
Kidney stones form when calcium and oxalate or uric acid in your urine combine to make crystals that stick together. They can cause kidney damage and kidney failure if not treated properly.
A urologist will diagnose a kidney stone by taking a full medical history, performing a physical exam and running tests. These may include a 24-hour urine collection and a blood test for specific substances that may be causing the stone.
If the stones are small, they usually pass on their own within three to six weeks. If they do not, doctors may prescribe medications like tamsulosin (Flomax) to relax the ureter and help the stone pass. Pain medicine and anti-nausea medicines may also be used.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) is the name for a group of conditions where the muscles and tissue support your pelvic organs (such as the uterus, bladder, urethra and rectum) weaken and cause them to drop into or out of your vagina.
Your doctor may notice a prolapse during a physical exam, when you have symptoms like pressure or fullness in your vagina or problems with incontinence. Your doctor will also perform a pelvic examination to determine what type of prolapse you have and how severe it is.
Treatment for POP aims to improve quality of life and prevent or reduce complications associated with the condition. It can include nonsurgical treatments like pelvic floor exercises, a pessary or, in some cases, surgery.
Cancer of the Urinary Tract
Urinary tract cancers grow in the urothelium, the lining of the bladder and upper urinary tract. This lining normally swells and shrinks to push urine out of the body.
But when it is exposed to chemicals (carcinogens) in the urine, this lining can change and grow out of control. It can also cause tumors, which are cancerous growths.
These tumors can spread to other parts of the body. This is called metastatic cancer.
Treatment for upper urinary tract cancer usually starts with a course of chemotherapy before surgery. This is a type of treatment that has been shown to increase survival rates by 10%.
Other treatments may include radiation therapy or surgery to remove part of the kidney and ureter. If these treatments aren’t effective, you might be able to participate in clinical trials, research studies that test new treatments.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
STIs are infections that can be spread from one person to another through sexual contact. They are usually passed during vaginal, anal or oral sex but can also be transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or when giving birth.
Having an STD can lead to serious health problems, including infertility and some forms of cancer. If you have an STI, get tested and treated quickly.
STIs can cause a variety of symptoms, including bumps, sores, warts and discharge in the penis, vagina, mouth or anus. Some STIs don’t have any symptoms at all, so they may not be diagnosed until severe complications develop.