10 Common Myths About Urology

December 08,2022 |
Man holding a water bottle and checking his watch.

Urology is an important part of your overall health, but it’s a field that’s associated with a lot of misconceptions. Whether you’ve seen a urologist before or not, here are some of the most common myths in the field.

  1. Bladder Issues Are a Part of Aging

    Aging does bring about a number of changes to the body, some are normal, and some are not. However, bladder issues are not considered a normal part of aging. Things like urinary incontinence, nocturia, increased urgency, or frequency are not something that you should just endure because you’re getting older. They’re an underlying condition that can lead to disruptive symptoms, but there are treatment options available for people of all ages. Your risk of being affected by one increase as you age, but your ability to be treated does not.


  2. Urologists Are for Men

    People assume that because urologists perform digital rectal exams and monitor prostate health, they’re only for men. They’re often seen as the male counterpart of an OB/GYN. In reality, a urologist specializes in the urinary tract system, which both men and women have. Urologists care for your bladder, urethra, kidneys, adrenal glands, and all of the moving parts that connect the system as a whole. Therefore, regardless of your gender, you should be seeing a urologist—especially if you experience any symptoms.


  3. Only Women Suffer From Urinary Incontinence

    Unfortunately, women do suffer from urinary incontinence more often than men. But this doesn’t mean that men can’t be affected by the condition. The reason that incontinence disproportionately affects women is due to the female anatomy and stress over time. Pregnancy, menopause, and other female-specific instances greatly increase your risk for incontinence, but there are several treatment options available to help you overcome accidents or potentially embarrassing situations. Also, many professionals believe that men suffer from more incontinence than is reported, they’re just less likely to come forward with these types of symptoms. Try to avoid withholding information from your urologist, regardless of gender, as doing so is only going to prolong the problem.


  4. Prostate Cancer is Slow Growing

    The truth is that each person is different. Every single case of prostate cancer, even amongst family members, is unique. There is no hard-set biological behavior that cancer follows, so the rate of growth will vary between individuals.

    Although some individuals may experience extremely slow growing prostate cancer that requires no treatment and only surveillance, others are quite aggressive. On average, men tend to fall in the middle of the two extremes, with moderately aggressive cancer growth that’s curable with the right treatment.

    Luckily, with early screenings and regular visits to your urologists, prostate cancer is one of the most curable cancers that afflict men today. However, you should never put off treatment or your annual urologic visits just because you assume that another few months or a year “won’t hurt.” Prostate cancer is still one of the leading causes of cancer death and is almost always due to a lack of early detection.


  5. Prostate Cancer Only Affects Older Men

    The prostate is the only organ that continues to grow throughout the entirety of a man’s life. This means that by the time men are older, they’re more likely to suffer from prostate-related issues like benign prostatic hyperplasia. However, that doesn’t mean that prostate cancer is inevitable nor that it can’t affect younger men. Cancer is characterized by an abnormal cellular growth and can happen at any age in your life, even before the age of 40. The best thing to do is to stay proactive about your health, get regular screenings, and talk to your doctor about your family history—especially if prostate cancer is present. 


  6. Other Tests Can Replace a Digital Rectal Exam

    A digital rectal exam (DRE) is a physical exam that’s performed by a urologist. During the procedure, your prostate will be examined for size and any signs of abnormal growths. You should begin getting DREs around the age of 40 and continue every single year for preventative care. This can help you catch any signs of prostate cancer early.

    PSA blood tests are another type of diagnostic testing for prostate cancer. They measure prostate-specific antigens present in your blood. Although they’re often used in conjunction with a DRE, they are not a substitute and can lead to false negatives. In reality, it’s a way to complement a DRE and make sure your doctor receives a full picture of what’s going on.

    Similarly, if you have a colonoscopy, you still need a DRE yearly. Although they both involve the anal cavity, a colonoscopy only evaluates your colon, not your prostate.


  7. Everyone Should Drink the Same Amount of Water

    There are so many different sources that circulate the internet about how many glasses of water you need per day. On average, websites tend to say about 8 to 12 glasses of water. This isn’t the reality. Again, every person is different. People who are more sedentary and are in a colder environment most of the day will need significantly less water than those who are active or located somewhere warm.

    Although hydration is important, drinking too much water can cause urologic conditions like urinary frequency, urgency, and even incontinence. Excess consumption of liquids can also lead to overactive bladder. On the other hand, too little water can increase your risk of kidney stones and other conditions. Dehydration can be serious and have lasting effects on the body.

    Our bodies need different amounts of water based on what we’re doing, where we are, and even what medications we’re taking. The best way to determine if you’re getting enough water each day is to pay attention to the color of your urine. If your urine is a pale yellow/transparent color, you’re sufficiently hydrated. If your urine is dark or amber colored, you need to drink more water. If you notice any strange colors in your urine, see your doctor for further testing.


  8. Water is the Key to Passing Kidney Stones

    Another misconception surrounding water and hydration involves kidney stones. Many people believe that if they have a kidney stone, water will help. Being hydrated is key to passing kidney stones more easily, but overhydrating can actually lead to further complications.

    When you drink too much water and your urethra is obstructed, it can cause distention in the urinary tract. This can increase feelings of pain and often make the process of passing a kidney stone much worse. Instead, it’s better to maintain moderate hydration levels and work with your doctor if you’re experiencing high levels of pain.


  9. Drinking Less Water Reduces Incontinence

    Urinary incontinence occurs when you leak urine throughout the day. It’s often caused by a pressure on your bladder, such as in the case of laughter, sneezing, coughing, or even heavy exercise. Many people assume that if you drink less water, there won’t be anything in your bladder to leak. However, dehydrating yourself in an attempt to reduce leakage is harmful and can actually have the opposite effect.

    Your body needs water in order to function and when you’re dehydrated, your urine becomes more concentrated. This can irritate the lining of your urinary tract system, and increase pain or discomfort alongside the continual symptoms of incontinence. Luckily, there are several ways that incontinence can be treated, so it’s far better to work with your doctor and make a few lifestyle changes.


  10. Viagra Cures Erectile Dysfunction

Although it can seem like a debilitating condition, erectile dysfunction is usually a symptom of another underlying cause. While taking Viagra can help you get and maintain an erection, the best way to “cure” erectile dysfunction is to correctly identify what’s causing it in the first place. This will give you the chance to treat your conditions and potentially get rid of impotence altogether. If you’re experiencing any signs of ED, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your urologist. It’s completely normal and will happen to most men at least once throughout their life, but the sooner you address it, the sooner it can be treated.

Although there are several myths that circulate society, urologic conditions are still very real and can increase in prevalence as you age. If you experience any signs or symptoms of a urologic condition, schedule an appointment with your urologist. To help you manage any symptoms during treatment, Byram Healthcare is here. We carry a wide selection of high-quality urology products that can help you take back control of your life. To learn more, or to speak with a professional regarding incontinence questions and ongoing management, contact Byram Healthcare today.

Byram Healthcare is a member of the National Association for Continence’s Trusted Partners Program, whose mission is to provide quality continence care through education, collaboration and advocacy. We continue to build partnerships in the clinical community to ensure we focus on what’s best for the patient.