How to Transition from Hospital to Home After Urologic Surgery

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The Importance of Having a Urologist: What Can a Urologist Do For You?

Your urinary tract system is your body’s way of getting rid of excess liquid waste. The kidneys filter your blood, remove everything your body won’t use, and sends it through ureters and into the bladder. When your bladder gets full, your urethra guides urine out of your body. More often than not, this process happens smoothly. Your organs work around the clock so you don’t have to put much thought into it. Unfortunately, our bodies aren’t immune to problems. Sometimes, things go wrong and when that happens, you will need to see a urologist. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of having a urologist and seeing them regularly.

What is a Urologist?

A urologist is physician who specializes in diseases of the urinary tract and male reproductive system.1 They are prepared to handle situations involving your kidneys, bladder, ureters, urethra, and all of the muscles and nerves associated with them. Urologists are also the primary doctors that address problems or maintenance with the penis, testes, scrotum, and prostate.2

Urologist Training

Urology is a specialty that requires focused training on the urinary tract and male reproductive system.2 In addition to the standard 4 years of medical school urologists will spend 5 or more years studying urology. Some urologists specialize in more specific fields, while others opt for a general urology practice. If a urologist gains a specialty, they will do an additional year or two of training called a fellowship.3 Every practicing urologist needs to be certified from the American Board of Urology.2

Types of Urology

There are a few different types of urology that someone can specialize in. They include the following:

  • Female Urology – this focuses on conditions of a woman’s reproductive and urinary tract specifically.3 While many gynecologists also undergo this training, female urology is more targeted towards urinary tract issues.
  • Male Infertility – if you’re having trouble conceiving, it’s important to visit infertility specialists for both males and females. Male infertility is a common type of urology specialization.3
  • Neurourology – sometimes, urinary problems occur due to conditions of the nervous system.3 A neurourologist is trained to identify, diagnose, and treat these conditions.
  • Pediatric Urology – while urology problems are more rare in children, they do still occur. Pediatric urology will help parents and children understand what’s going on and how to help treat it.
  • Urologic Oncology – this specialty focuses on cancers of the urinary system, including the bladder, kidneys, prostate, and testicles.3

Medical Conditions Involving Urology

While general urologists more commonly see men due to the specific nature of the practice, women can and do frequently schedule appointments. Both men and women have the potential to experience bladder problems or kidney stones and women more commonly suffer from UTIs. For more information, here are some common medical conditions that involve urology.1

  • Urinary Tract Infections – UTIs occur when bacteria get into the urethra. This can happen either from the digestive tract or from outside exposure, which is why they affect women more often. UTI symptoms are usually very easy to identify, but require proper diagnosis for treatment.
  • Kidney or Ureteral Stones – stones are formed when small, hard deposits made from calcium and other minerals form in your kidneys. The stones can vary in size and are often painful to pass. Your urologist may need to treat the stones and break them up into smaller pieces before you can pass them.
  • Incontinence – this occurs when the voluntary control of your bladder suffers. Incontinence can occur for a number of reasons and there are varying treatment options available.
  • Enlarged Prostate – also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), enlarged prostate affects about 33% of adult males.1 This is usually caused by an overgrowth of cells and can affect urination.1
  • Prostatitis – this has a similar affect as BPH, but is caused by infection or inflammation. Men who experience prostatitis may experience painful urination or ejaculation.1
  • Bladder Prolapse – if your muscles or tissue weaken, the support holding your bladder in place can fail. This causes it to drop from its usual position.1 This occurs in women and is more common in those who have vaginally delivered one or more children.5
  • Male Infertility – if a male needs fertility tests, they will likely go to a urologist or a fertility testing facility. Depending on the underlying cause, male infertility may be able to be fixed with surgery.
  • Erectile Dysfunction – if you’re having trouble getting or maintaining an erection, a urologist can help identify the underlying cause and fix the problem.
  • Kidney Disease – kidney failure is a very serious, life-threatening situation, so if you have problems with your kidneys you will need to see a urologist.
  • Cancers – all cancers that relate the urinary system or male reproductive system will be addressed by a urologist.
  • Urethral Stricture – this is a condition where there is scarring of the urethra that blocks the path of urine flowing from the bladder.1 When urine is blocked, it can lead to infection, inflammation, and other complications.
  • Peyronie’s Disease – this occurs when a fibrous layer of scar tissue develops beneath the skin of the penis, causing it to bend or curve painfully during an erection.1
  • Interstitial Cystitis – this is also known as painful bladder syndrome and is characterized by the chronic inflammation of your bladder.1 Some people experience this so mildly that they don’t know they have it, while others have severe cases that causes excessive discomfort.
  • Cryptorchidism – this is often addressed with pediatric urology, as cryptorchidism is medical term for undescended testes.1 This will likely be addressed shortly after birth, as untreated cases can lead to complications.
  • Kidney Transplantation – if you experience kidney failure, you will need kidney transplantation. While you can survive with only one functioning kidney, the underlying cause of failure will have likely affected both.

    When to See a Urologist

    As you get older, it becomes important to regularly see your doctors. This includes your urologist. When you have a baseline of your body’s regular functioning, it becomes easier to diagnose problems before they get out of control. Because of that, many doctors recommend scheduling an annual exam with a urologist.

    If, outside of your regularly scheduled wellness exam, you experience any of the following signs and symptoms, call your urologist to schedule an appointment.

  • Painful urination
  • Frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Poor bladder control
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Blood in your urine – urine appears pinkish or red
  • A lump in your testicle
  • Pain in your lower back, pelvis, or sides
  • Fallen bladder protrusion
  • Overactive bladder
  • Hernia
  • Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
  • A decreased sexual desire (males)

     

    Preparing for Your Visit: What to Expect

    When it’s time to schedule an appointment with your urologist, don’t worry. While it might seem intimidating, a urology visit is usually non-invasive and straightforward. The exam will include a general physical alongside a urinalysis. If there are any problems present, your urologist may order a cytoscopy, which involves examining your lower urinary tract with a very small camera.4 For more information, x-rays, ultrasounds, urodynamics, or biopsies will be ordered.

    Some of the treatments, testing, and operations offered by urologists include:

  • General prescriptions
  • Surgical procedures
  • Cytoscopy
  • Ureteroscopy
  • Prostate Biopsy
  • Nephrectomy
  • Vasectomy
  • Circumcision

If you’re currently using catheters of any kind, don’t forget to follow up with your urologist regularly. Doing so will help you stay healthy and prevent any infections from occurring. If you have any questions before your urologist visit, give the office a call and ask. Your preparations will differ depending on what tests you need done, but for the most part they don’t include any restrictions.

Conclusion

Having a urologist is an important part in maintaining good overall health. You want to understand your history in case you run into any problems. Rather than finding a new doctor every time you present symptoms, having a consistent urologist will help keep you feeling comfortable and understood. If you notice any of the symptoms discussed in this article, or think you might be suffering from one of the above urology conditions, contact your urologist today. Getting treatment is important to ensure that the infection or problem doesn’t get worse and spread to other parts of your body. In the meantime, 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:

1https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286276.php#when_would_I_see_a_urologist

2https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/urologists-what-do-they-do#1

3https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-urologist#conditions

4https://www.180medical.com/blog/the-importance-of-seeing-a-urologist/

5https://www.stmaryhealthcare.org/urologyanswers

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