To maintain our health and vitality, most of us regularly see our primary care doctor, our dentist, and our eye doctor. Because we’ve been taught to follow this general model of healthcare, confusion may arise should unusual symptoms occur. If symptoms are sexual or urinary in nature, they require the care of a urologist. Most men never think to see a urologist until it is recommended by their primary health physician. This doesn’t usually happen until sometime after age 50. However, there may be a need for urologic care before then. Here are some of the indications to be aware of.
- Erectile dysfunction. The conversation about erectile dysfunction has become common in recent years. This problem, which may affect up to 50% of adult males, is no longer something that gets brushed under the rug. We talk about it. Most men know that there are ways to treat this condition. However, because supplements and medications are available, some men may overlook the need to have erectile dysfunction evaluated by a urologist. This specialist can perform necessary tests to evaluate the physiology of the male reproductive system and potential hormonal or systemic involvement in the inability to keep or maintain an erection.
- Kidney stones. Although men are more likely to develop kidney stones than women, this is not common knowledge, nor is what to do about this condition. The signs of kidney stones include abdominal, side, or back pain, nausea, vomiting, odd-smelling urine, and blood in the urine. A urologist can diagnose kidney stones based on symptoms but typically orders an ultrasound or other imaging to confirm stones, their type, and their measurements. In some cases, kidney stones can pass. Sometimes they need to be broken down into small pieces for this to happen.
- Testicular pain. There are several reasons why a man may experience testicular pain. In adolescent males, sudden testicular pain may indicate testicular torsion, an event that requires emergency care. Adult males may experience testicular pain due to kidney stones, trauma to the testicle, infection, cysts, or other factors. A urologist can identify the cause of pain and administer appropriate treatment. Dr. Shridharani is one of few microsurgeons in the country who performs denervation surgery as a treatment for testicular pain.
In addition to these problems, men should see a urologist if they have tested high for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) or demonstrate the signs of an enlarged prostate, such as a weak urine stream or difficulty urinating.