Common Urologic Problems and How You Can Treat Them

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Common Urologic Problems and How to Treat Them

The urinary system works hard to regulate, manage, and eliminate your urine waste. It includes a number of moving parts, such as your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and the urethra. Like other organs and systems in your body, the urinary system can have problems. These problems, or conditions, are commonly referred to as urologic problems or urologic diseases. Regardless of your age, gender, or ethnicity, you can experience urologic problems. In both men and women, this has a direct affect on the urinary tract and how you expel urine. In men, urologic problems can also affect reproductive organs.1

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common urologic problems that plague men and women and how you can treat them.

Urinary Incontinence

Over 15 million people in the United States suffer from urinary incontinence.1 While it’s not harmful to your heath, it’s burdensome to daily life and can lead to embarrassing moments. There are a variety of things that cause urinary incontinence, some of them being: diabetes, childbirth, weakened bladder muscles or sphincter muscles, spinal cord injury, certain diseases, and even severe constipation.1

Oftentimes, simple lifestyle changes can help get urinary incontinence under control. If you still struggle with incontinence, talk to your doctor about getting corrective surgery to help.

Stress Incontinence

Similarly, stress incontinence can lead to leakage. Both men and women suffer from stress incontinence, but it occurs more commonly in women. Stress incontinence happens when the muscles that support your bladder and help regulate the release of urine are weakened—the valve-like muscles in your urethra struggle to stay closed.1

Aside from lifestyle changes, stress incontinence can be treated through urethral bulking (in women) or implanting an artificial urinary sphincter to help stimulate a competent bladder outlet.2

Overactive Bladder

Overactive bladder (OAB) occurs when the bladder can’t store urine properly and leads to an involuntary loss of urine due to an intense and sudden urge to urinate.2 The muscles of your bladder may start to contract involuntary, almost like spasms.2 There are a few causes of overactive bladder, including neurological disorders, diabetes, UTIs, bladder stones, tumors, or simply getting older.2 The best ways to prevent overactive bladder include staying active, maintaining a healthy weight, and taking a proactive approach to managing chronic conditions like diabetes.2

To treat overactive bladder, your doctor will work with you to establish a schedule of bathroom times to better train your bladder. There is also medication available to further control overactive bladder.   

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Urinary tract infections are the most common type of urologic problem and occur much more frequently in women. In fact, close to 60 percent of women will experience a UTI at some point in their life, while UTIs affect only 12 percent of men.5 If you have a UTI, the main symptom is a burning sensation or feeling a frequent need to urinate. To properly diagnose a UTI, you will need to get a urine culture done by your doctor.

Luckily, UTIs are easily treated with antibiotics. It’s important to treat them as soon as possible to avoid further infection and eliminate any chance for complications. If you experience recurring UTIs, talk to your doctor today.

Kidney and Ureteral Stones

Kidney stones and ureteral stones occur when crystal-like particles in the urine develop and small particles grow around the crystals.1 The stones gets blocked in your urinary tract system and make it painful to urinate. While most stones can be passed naturally, larger stones often require surgery or specific procedures to break them.

One of the most commonly used techniques is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), which breaks up stones into smaller pieces using sound waves.1

Female Specific Urologic Problems

Women have a naturally shorter urethra, which contributes to an increase in frequency of urological problems. In addition to increased urinary tract infections, women are susceptible to a few specific urological problems.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Your pelvic floor acts as a support system for your bladder, vagina, and rectum.4 During life, and especially after childbirth, these muscles can become inflamed or irritated.4 Since you need to relax your pelvic floor in order to urinate, having pelvic floor dysfunction can cause difficulties or pain.

The best treatment is learning how to relax your pelvic floor muscles, which can be done through the help of a specialized therapist.4 This helps reduce stress, which can lead to easier urination and a reduction in pain. If therapy is ineffective, your doctor will suggest vaginal medications or muscle injections.4

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

While this is less common, pelvic organ prolapse does occur. This is when weak areas in the walls and muscles of the vagina cause organs to be displaced and fall from their normal positions.4 This is most often caused from injury during childbirth and women often experience a feeling or bulging sensation near the vagina while seated.4

If you experience excessive discomfort, surgical insertion of a silicone or rubber diaphragm will help alleviate the problem.4

Incontinence After Pregnancy

Pregnancy puts a lot of strain on your urinary tract. After delivery, you may experience unintentional leakage when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or are being physically active.4 Luckily, incontinence after pregnancy can be treated. Scheduling an exam is the first step, which then will lead to your doctor introducing a few options for treatment.

During incontinence, kegels are recommended to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.4 If the problem is severe or continues to persist, there are surgical options. 

Male Specific Urologic Problems

Due to the different anatomies in males and females, each will experience different urological problems. Below are a few conditions experienced specifically in men.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is essentially just the medical term for an enlarged prostate. This commonly occurs in older men and while it’s not directly related to prostate cancer, it still means that your prostate gland has increased in size.1 Men are at an increased risk for BPH if they have a family history, erectile dysfunction, or other health conditions.2

The increase in size places extra pressure on the urethra, which leads to a more intense need to urinate frequently.1 When you do urinate, you may feel that your bladder isn’t emptying to completion and your urine stream is weaker than usual.1 If you aren’t able to empty your bladder completely, you’re at risk for developing urinary tract infections.

The best way to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia is through medications, consistent monitoring, and, depending on the severity, surgery.1 Your doctor may also recommend getting Rezum, which uses heated water vapor to target the prostate and shrink surrounding tissue.2 Other common procedures include greenlight and thulium laser vaporization, minimally invasive thermotherapy, transurethral resection of the prostate, or a UroLift.2

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men.3 It develops when prostate cells grow abnormally and in a very rapid manner. This is different from BPH, where the prostate gland increases in size. The best way to successfully treat prostate cancer is through early detection, which is why men are encouraged to get checked once a year.

Treatment for prostate cancer depends on the time of detection and is most successful when caught early. Treatments include surgery, radiation, and regular surveillance.3

Prostatitis

A lot of urological problems in men relate to the prostate. Prostatitis involves abnormal swelling or inflammation of the prostate and is commonly confused with other urological problems.3 The most common symptoms include painful urination, which can be misdiagnosed as a UTI, fever or chills, abdominal pain, or pain in the pelvic or lower back.3

If you are diagnosed with prostatitis, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics to help reduce the swelling and get the prostate back to a normal size.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is when a man has difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. While erectile dysfunction isn’t fatal, it causes a lot of stress, embarrassment, and can put strain on a relationship. The best treatment plan is through medication or testosterone replacement. Some other recommendations include surgery, psychological counseling, and making healthy lifestyle changes.3

Male infertility is also considered a urologic problem or disease. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble conceiving to better understand the underlying cause.

Conclusion

If you think you’re experiencing any of these common urological problems, or have other symptoms that raise concern, call your doctor immediately. All of these problems require a proper diagnosis to ensure that the correct treatment is being administered. Pain and discomfort are your body’s way of saying something is wrong, so getting treatment is important. If you need any urological supplies or additional educational resources, visit our educational support page or our product selection guide. Byram Healthcare is proud to offer full-service urological care and we have all the high quality urological supplies that you need. If you need to order any urological supplies, all of your orders can be discreetly delivered to your home, at any time of the day. If you have any urological questions or need personalized, confidential services, our teams of knowledgeable urological customer service specialists are here to help.

Sources:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/renal-and-urological-disorders#types
  2. https://urologyspecialistsnc.com/common-urinary-problems
  3. https://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/8-common-urological-issues-affecting-men-article-1.3594438
  4. https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/womens-health/a-female-urologist-explains-womens-most-common-urological-concerns-and-how-to-treat
  5. https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/urinary-tract-infections-in-adults

 

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