Urology Blog

Your Vasectomy: Before, During, and After

Vasectomy Chattanooga TNUndergoing a vasectomy can be a life-changing decision. It is one that must be made with considerable forethought. Once a man decides that this procedure is the best method of birth control for himself and his partner, his questions may revolve more around what to expect than how the procedure will ultimately affect his life. The bigger picture is already understood. Now it’s time for the smaller details, like what happens before, during, and after the vasectomy. We’ll discuss that here.

Before Vasectomy Surgery

Vasectomies are performed as outpatient procedures. Patients do not require general anesthesia and do not stay overnight in the hospital. This limits the steps that need to be taken before the procedure. Patients should:

  • Stop smoking as soon as possible when considering a vasectomy. Smoking inhibits healing.
  • Avoid medications and supplements that can thin the blood. Examples include aspirin and ibuprofen. Tell the doctor all medications that are being taken, prescription and over-the-counter.
  • Arrange a ride home after the vasectomy.
  • Shower and clean the genital area the night before surgery or day of the procedure.

The Vasectomy Procedure

Patients may recline or lie down during their vasectomy. A local anesthetic is injected into the scrotum to numb nerve-endings so no pain is felt. After the area is numb, the surgeon creates a small opening on one side of the scrotum. The vas deferens is lifted to the opening, where to tube is cut and sealed. It is then put back into place. The same steps are repeated on the opposite side of the scrotum. If necessary, stitches are placed to close the tiny incisions.

After Surgery

Patients expect discomfort after a vasectomy. However, the pain is not usually as significant as anticipated. Ice packs can be applied to the scrotum (with a thin towel against the skin) for short periods to relieve discomfort and swelling. Patients may prefer to recline or lie down as much as possible for a day or two after the procedure. The surgical team will discuss what pain medications can be taken to control comfort.

Within a week to 10 days, most patients can go back to work. Strenuous activity and exercise may resume about two weeks after surgery. Sexual activity can resume one week after surgery, but the vasectomy should not be relied upon as the sole form of birth control until the doctor confirms the absence of sperm in the semen.

Schedule a vasectomy consultation in our Chattanooga office at (423) 778-5910.

Erectile Dysfunction: So Many Myths to Address

Erectile Dysfunction is a topic that most men wish to avoid. However, this is an important conversation to be had between partners, between men and their doctors, and in the media. When we do not address issues like erectile dysfunction straight-on, we leave room for misconceptions. Even today, common myths about erectile dysfunction keep many men from obtaining the care they need and deserve. Here, we discuss what those are.

  1. Erectile dysfunction happens to older men.

Erectile dysfunction that is related to low testosterone may more often affect older men, this is true. However, low testosterone is only one potential cause of erectile dysfunction. Studies indicate that men aged 40 and older are more likely to develop problems maintaining an erection but that a growing number of younger men also encounter erectile dysfunction.

  1. Erectile dysfunction is a physical condition only.

Men may experience erectile dysfunction for any number of reasons. Physical factors are just one of several influences. In younger men especially, erectile dysfunction is more often linked to emotional stress and psychological challenges such as depression and anxiety. Certain medications may also cause erectile dysfunction. A thorough health history and examination can get to the heart of the matter and  help a man identify the ways in which his intimate health can improve.

  1. Erectile dysfunction is not dangerous.

While many cases of erectile dysfunction relate to hormones or psychological stress, there is a chance that an underlying health condition may be the root problem. Erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of a health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, or high cholesterol. This is an important reason to have a thorough health examination and consultation with a family physician.

  1. There is no way to get rid of erectile dysfunction.

Several treatment options for erectile dysfunction have been developed in recent years. The first step in managing or correcting this issue is to identify causative factors. If erectile dysfunction relates to stress or emotional health, therapy or appropriate medications may be helpful. If hormones are responsible, therapies to restore balance may be recommended. There are also treatments that can address structural factors affecting the penis.

Schedule a consultation with your Chattanooga urologist to discuss erectile dysfunction. Call UT Urology at (423) 778-5910.

Symptoms Men Should Not Ignore

UT UrologyWe expect our various organs to perform well from day to day. For the most part, they do, though they may surprise us from time to time with unexplained symptoms. With age, many men come to realize that they may live with occasional difficulty keeping an erection or with slower urinary flow. Overall, the effects of aging are normal and workable. However, there are certain symptoms a man should recognize as abnormal so he can obtain the care he needs to restore health.

Symptoms to Take to The Doctor

  • Painful sex. There are several potential reasons why sex can be painful for a man. Perhaps the penis rubs up against a partner’s IUD (intrauterine device). Uncircumcised men may experience a minor tear in the skin during sex. Pain may also indicate a curve in the penis or, in some cases, penile fracture, though this is rare. In any case, if painful sex is the norm, it deserves some exploration with a medical professional.
  • Poor erections. Many men expect some degree of erectile dysfunction as they age. All cases of erectile dysfunction should be examined. However, if it becomes impossible to keep an erection in any circumstance, medical attention is necessary. Erections are one of several biomarkers for heart health so, when things go South, your doctor wants to know why.
  • Lumps or bumps. Just as women are encouraged to perform routine breast exams, men can benefit from examining their genitalia from time to time. Most bumps and lumps in the scrotum are benign and easily treatable. Common causes of bums include genital warts, varicocele, spermatocele, hydrocele, and hernia. Painless lumps in the testicles have a small chance of being cancerous and should be evaluated sooner rather than later.
  • Testicular pain. Men learn early on that their balls are not supposed to hurt. There is no other pain in the body that is quite like testicular pain. Regardless of intensity, recurring or persistent ball pain should be checked out by a doctor to rule out infection, testicular torsion (twisting), varicocele, or another condition.

UT Urology offers the services you need to stay on track with optimal health and wellness. To schedule a visit to our Chattanooga facility, call (423) 778-5910.

The Role of Laparoscopic Prostatectomy in Treating Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Chattanooga TNProstate cancer is a condition that, when diagnosed, is graded. The grade of a cancerous prostate tumor is reached by assessing size and other characteristics that indicate potential aggressiveness. When a tumor appears to be on the aggressive side, radical prostatectomy may be advisable. This surgical procedure removes the entire prostate gland. In some situations, the early removal of the affected gland may provide an effective cure as well as a reduced risk of recurrence. Laparoscopic prostatectomy is a minimally-invasive technique that offers meaningful benefits.

Before the development of laparoscopic procedures, men needing a prostatectomy underwent traditional open surgery. Open surgeries require a larger incision to accommodate surgical instruments as well as visual access to the surgical site. The extensive nature of open surgery incurs a longer recovery period. Laparoscopic procedures are conducted with an instrument that enables viewing of the surgical area via a small camera on the end of a tube. No large incisions are needed, only a few small incisions through which tiny instruments can be inserted.

Why More Men are Choosing Laparoscopic Prostatectomy

Virtually any patient who has been diagnosed with localized prostate cancer may be a good candidate for prostatectomy. The benefits of this closed procedure versus traditional open surgery include:

  • Less trauma to the abdominal wall
  • Smaller, more discreet incisions
  • Less bleeding during surgery
  • Better visual magnification of the surgical site
  • Shorter hospital stay than traditional open prostatectomy
  • Less need for pain medication after surgery
  • Earlier return to normal activities
  • Better nerve-sparing capability

What is Laparoscopic Prostatectomy Like?

This minimally-invasive procedure can last between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 hours. Before surgery, general anesthesia is administered. The anesthesiologist monitors vital signs throughout the procedure. Small incisions are made to visualize and access the prostate. The catheter and camera are inserted through one and surgical instruments are inserted through the others. Using these instruments, the surgeon removes the prostate gland as well as the seminal vesicles, two fluid-filled sacs next to the prostate gland. After these structures are removed, the urethra is attached to the bladder neck. Depending on the diagnosis, nearby lymph nodes may be biopsied at the time of surgery.

If you are experiencing symptoms of an enlarged prostate or have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, or if you have a higher risk for either of these conditions, contact our Chattanooga office. We can help you navigate your treatment process. Call (423) 778-5910.

Can BPH Affect Your Sex Life?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the condition we refer to as BPH. It is the condition in which a man’s prostate has become enlarged. Studies have indicated that approximately half of all men develop BPH between the ages of 51 and 60. In the over-80 age group, nearly 90 percent of men experience the symptoms of an enlarged prostate.

Most men recognize bladder issues as a sign of BPH; a need to urinate frequently and being met with weak urine flow. BPH can also cause a full bladder sensation immediately after urinating. The pressure on the bladder may make it difficult to start urinating and to fully empty the bladder, leading to dribbling. These are relatively well-known facts about BPH. What might not be as obvious is the connection between an enlarged prostate and sexual issues. Some issues relate to BPH directly and some to the type of treatment a man is prescribed to manage his prostate health.

  1. Diminished sexual satisfaction may occur when a man is woken several times a night by his need to urinate. Sleep issues often coincide with anxiety and, together, the two may result in a general decline in sexual satisfaction.
  2. Libido may decrease as a side effect of certain medications prescribed to treat an enlarged prostate. This most commonly occurs with 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors. If libido decreases after beginning a course of oral medication for BPH, a man should speak with his doctor about alternative treatment modalities such as straight alpha-blockers or laser ablation.
  3. Erectile dysfunction affects up to 10 percent of men who undergo TURP for the treatment of BPH. TURP, or Transurethral Resection of the Prostate, is a minimally invasive procedure that also carries a risk of incontinence and impotence. As an alternative to this technique, many men consider laser ablation to reduce the symptoms of BPH.
  4. TURP may also cause retrograde ejaculation, a condition in which semen enters the bladder rather than exiting the body from the penis. When a man has retrograde ejaculation, conception becomes a challenge because, although he will reach climax and have an orgasm, it will be what we call “dry.”

At UT Urology, we are continually researching treatments that help men maintain sexual and prostate health throughout their lifetime. To learn more about current treatment options for BPH, call our Chattanooga office at (423) 778-5910.

Why Do My Balls Hurt?

Enlarged Prostate Chattanooga TNEvery man has an innate knowing that his testicles are a delicate area of his body. Even the topic of testicular pain is a sensitive one to discuss. The testicles are front and center, so to speak, which makes them vulnerable on a physical level.  Emotionally, the testicles are known to support male sexual development and virility throughout adulthood. Injury or pain in the testicles, then, can understandably present a fair amount of concern. Here, we discuss what testicular pain may mean.

Does testicular pain suggest cancer?

This is the big question, so we’ll tackle it first. Urologists may see one or more patients every week who are concerned about testicular pain. While pain itself is clearly a common issue, the correlation between pain and testicular cancer is very weak. Testicular cancer is actually quite rare, accounting for only one percent of all cancers that affect men. Furthermore, it is more likely that testicular cancer will present as swelling or a painless lump in one of the testicles. Men can and are encouraged to learn how to perform self-checks to spot testicular cancer or other changes to their anatomy.

Potential Causes of Testicular Pain

  • Testicular torsion is a type of pain that may more commonly affect young men (aged 10- to 20-years). This condition can be serious due to its restriction of blood flow to the testes. Torsion typically occurs quickly and causes intense pain. If comfort does not improve within a few minutes, prompt medical attention should be sought.
  • Epididymitis is a painful problem that involves inflammation in the tube at the back of the testicle. This condition is typically caused by infection. Often associated with STIs like chlamydia, it is also possible for a basic urinary tract infection to cause epididymitis. A course of antibiotics may be prescribed to resolve the infection.
  • Orchitis is also related to infection. This inflammation occurs in the testicles themselves and may improve with antibiotics.
  • Hydroceles can cause dull pain that also creates a sense of nausea. This condition involves fluid accumulation near or within the epididymis.
  • Spermatocele is an uncomfortable problem related to fluid accumulation in the testicles.
  • Varicoceles are a type of varicose vein, or swollen vein, in the testicle.

Most cases of testicular pain can be easily treated with nonsurgical or microsurgical techniques. Don’t let pain bench your quality of life. Call our Chattanooga office at (423) 778-5910 to schedule a consultation.

What To Expect After Your Vasectomy

Vasectomy Chattanooga TNApproximately half a million men in our country undergo vasectomy treatment each year. This form of long-term birth control may be very common but that doesn’t mean it is an easy decision to make. Many men think about a vasectomy for years before making their final decision. In many cases, it’s not the question of permanence that stops them, it’s questions about what to expect after this procedure.

Understandably, there will be apprehension about choosing to have a delicate area of the body operated on. Many stories have been passed around about the aftermath of a vasectomy, which doesn’t help matters. Here, we want to clear up any misconceptions you may have about what it’s like to have a vasectomy. The more you know, the more peace of mind you can have about this advantageous procedure.

Vasectomy Recovery Timeline

Initial Recovery

Vasectomies are performed as an outpatient procedure. It is possible to drive yourself home or have a loved one drive you to and from your appointment. We recommend going straight home after the procedure and committing the remainder of the day to rest. We may prescribe pain medication to use as directed for a few days. During this time, you may want to stay home and stay off your feet as much as possible. Rest supports the healing process and reduces the severity and duration of post-operative swelling. An ice pack may also be applied for approximately 20 minutes, several times a day. A cloth should be placed between the ice pack and the skin.

Making Progress

During the first few weeks of vasectomy recovery, many men feel more comfortable with a little extra support. An athletic supporter, bike shorts with compression, or other garments that fit more tightly can create a sense of security around the healing scrotum.

Exercise is clearly off-limits, and it is important to also remember that “heavy lifting” includes anything that weighs more than a gallon of mild. If as healing progresses and physical strength improves, lifting is a no-no, as are exercises such as squats and crunches. After about two weeks of recovery, most activities can be resumed, so be patient with your body as it recovers.

What about sex?

This is a common question we hear from our vasectomy patients. Usually, patients can resume sexual intercourse about a week after their vasectomy. It is important to keep in mind, though, that sperm may remain in the vas deferens for several months, which means pregnancy can still occur. A reliable method of birth control should be used until we have confirmed sterilization.

Get the facts about vasectomy treatment in our Chattanooga office. Call (423) 778-5910 to schedule a consultation.

Could a Vasectomy Affect Your Sex Life?

Vasectomy Chattanooga, TNUndergoing a vasectomy is an enormously personal decision for every man who considers this permanent form of pregnancy prevention. The benefits of the procedure are clear. What isn’t clear to many potential patients is how having a vasectomy may affect their sex life. Will orgasm change after a vasectomy? Erection or ejaculation? We answer these questions here.

Ejaculation after Vasectomy

A vasectomy stops sperm, not semen. The procedure modifies the vas deferens, the small tube that transports sperm into the ejaculatory ducts, where semen passes through after production in the seminal vesicles. Not only does a vasectomy leave semen production intact, but it also does not change the characteristics of the ejaculate other than to eliminate sperm. Semen output should remain the same in terms of quantity, consistency, and color.

Orgasm after Vasectomy

There is an old myth that a man who has had a vasectomy may find it more difficult to reach orgasm. This is a complete myth. Sexual climax is the result of physical and psychological stimuli during intercourse and does not rely on sperm nor the vas deferens for optimization. Some studies even suggest that men report better orgasms after their vasectomy.

About Libido

The 2017 study conducted among 294 couples in Germany revealed numerous facts about the effects of vasectomy on sexual wellness. Contrary to misconceptions, a man who has a vasectomy is not “less manly,” nor do they feel that way, according to the study. In fact, many of the men who participated in the study revealed that they had more sex after their vasectomy, as well as better erectile function and generally improved sexual satisfaction.

At the time of the study, the Guttmacher Institute for family planning research noted that only 8 percent of contraception in the United States fell into the vasectomy category. This is despite the high success rate (only 15 to 20 accidental pregnancies for 10,000 men) and low risk associated with vasectomy.

What Works for You?

Every situation is unique. We prioritize education among our patients and helping them overcome obstacles that relate to misperceptions about vasectomy treatment and how it may affect quality of life. If you’re ready to learn more, contact our Chattanooga office at (423) 778-5910.

Medical Options for Enlarged Prostate

Enlarged Prostate Chattanooga TNThe prostate is an important part of the male reproductive system. It is here that fluid is produced and supplied to nourish the sperm in the ejaculate. This small organ that sits just above the rectum and behind the bladder is normally about the size of a walnut. When a man reaches his mid-30s, hormonal changes combine with diet, lifestyle habits, and family genetics to affect the prostate. It is at this time that the organ may begin to enlarge.

Prostate enlargement is an event that may occur over several years, decades even. By the time a man reaches his 50s, he may have diagnosable benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. This condition describes an enlarged prostate gland that may cause symptoms. The urethra, the tube that travels from the bladder to the penis, travels through the prostate. If the gland enlarges to a point of pressing on the urethra, urine flow may change.

Symptoms related to an enlarged prostate may be treated in several ways. There is no “right” treatment for every man, which is why comprehensive medical care is a must. At UT Urology, men in the Chattanooga area receive a high level of personalized care that looks beyond prostate size to consider all factors related to this condition and how it may be improved.

Determining the Right Level of Care

To fully understand benign prostatic hyperplasia, a urologist will likely perform a digital rectal exam to estimate prostate size. Imaging such as ultrasound may also be performed. However, symptoms are as important as size when it comes to determining the right level of care. Some men may develop symptoms with only mild enlargement, and some may have a very large prostate but no symptoms. Doctors will ask questions about urination and may also order lab tests to screen for prostate cancer and evaluate kidney function.

Treating Benign Prostate Hyperplasia

When there are few symptoms affecting a man’s quality of life and no indication of prostate cancer or kidney or bladder problems, no immediate treatment may be prescribed. Periodic prostate exams may be scheduled more frequently and lifestyle modifications may be recommended. In some instances, non-surgical treatment such as medication or other conservative approach such as Rezūm water vapor therapy.

Prostatic enlargement in which symptoms such as urinary frequency (day and night) and urgency, weak flow, or irregular flow are the norm may require surgical intervention. Even here, several treatment options exist. As often as possible, the most conservative and minimally-invasive technique is selected.

Our priority is to help each of our patients understand their treatment options for BPH. For more information, call our Chattanooga office at (423) 778-5910.

Minor Annoyance or Major Warning Sign?

MEN'S HEALTH Chattanooga TNIt is no secret that men are notorious for avoiding the doctor until they absolutely must receive medical care. The notion that subtle symptoms are merely a minor annoyance could be very, very wrong. It is our intent to help men in the Chattanooga area make sense of urologic symptoms; to understand their origin and, most importantly, find an appropriate way to correct the problem.

Here, we want to discuss signs that you or a man you love needs to see a urologist.

  1. Erectile Dysfunction. Historically, the topic of erectile dysfunction has been one that men have avoided. Only recently has it become recognized as a widespread problem. A urologic examination seeks to understand erectile dysfunction in the wider context of general health. Is the obvious problem linked to another, such as hypertension? Understanding the nature of erectile dysfunction, a urologist can then discuss appropriate treatment.
  2. Frequent urination. There are several reasons why a man may need to urinate frequently. Whether this occurs primarily at night or becomes disruptive of daytime activities, frequent urination is a problem to explore with a urologist. The underlying issue could be an enlarged prostate, infection, or urinary incontinence. With proper treatment, the problem can become much more manageable.
  3. Difficulty urinating. Sometimes, urinary difficulty goes hand in hand with a frequent need to urinate. This could relate to an enlarged prostate and the inability to adequately release urine.
  4. Blood in the urine. If urine is pink-tinged or red, a urologic exam should be scheduled right away. This holds true even if evidence of blood comes and goes. Thorough testing is necessary to determine the cause of blood in the urine, which might be infection or kidney or bladder cancer.
  5. When a couple has difficulty conceiving, it is important for both partners to undergo a thorough health examination revolving around fertility. Studies suggest that 25% of infertility cases relate directly to a male reproductive issue.

Our medical needs change as we go through life. At some point, men will be best served by the inclusion of a urologist in their general healthcare team. To schedule a visit at UT Urology, call (423) 778-5910.

UT Urology © 2019 - Medical Website Marketing by Advice Media

Call Now Button