This new year, make a resolution to improve your health and talk to your doctor about urologic conditions. Although urologic problems may seem embarrassing to talk about, these conditions are more common than you think and a delay in seeking medical attention could cause you unnecessary stress, prolong the problem and even increase your risk for a more serious condition. Experts at the American Urological Association (AUA) and the AUA Foundation recommend talking to your doctor about bladder, prostate or sexual health concerns.
Incontinence: Many people are afraid to talk about their incontinence. But, more than 15 million Americans, primarily women, suffer in silence with this condition. Incontinence can be caused by a wide range of conditions, such as urinary tract or vaginal infections, constipation, pelvic muscle weakness or prolapse or even childbirth. Incontinence can even be a side effect of some medications. Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about this condition because treatment is available.
Bedwetting (Enuresis): Bedwetting is common in preschool children. By age five, it is estimated that around 20 percent of children wet the bed and by age 10 the percentage drops to 5 percent. By puberty, this rate is less than 1 percent. Enuresis, or bedwetting, is almost never due to laziness or deliberate willfulness by the child. Parents should be supportive and understanding, and seek medical advice if their older child continues wetting the bed. Children who wet the bed should receive a full physical exam in order to rule out any serious urologic abnormalities or infections.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI): Patients experiencing symptoms of a UTI, such as painful, frequent urination, cloudy urine, or hematuria (blood in the urine), should seek prompt treatment because the condition can quickly worsen and spread. Although people who suffer frequent UTIs are well aware of the importance to treat this condition, those experiencing a UTI for the first time may not understand the potentially life-threatening consequences of delaying medical attention. UTIs can lead to dangerous kidney infections, bacteremia (bacteria in the bloodstream) or septicemia (inflammation that decreases blood flow and pressure, and could lead to organ failure) if left untreated. Hematuria may also be caused by a more serious problem, requiring immediate medical attention. Never delay talking to your doctor about blood in your urine.
Prostate Cancer: One in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in males in the United States, killing more than 28,000 men in 2008. This disease shows few, if any, symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage. The AUA recently changed its guidelines to recommend that men ages 40 and older talk to their doctors about prostate cancer testing. Visit www.KnowYourStats.org for more information about prostate cancer.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS): Don't be embarrassed when talking to your doctor about problems passing your urine, such as urinary urgency, urinary frequency, nocturia (the need to urinate at night) and the need to push or strain when urinating. These symptoms, known as LUTS are caused by BPH, which is the benign enlargement of the prostate gland. Men with severe LUTS may be at an increased risk of kidney failure, so talk to your doctor about treatment options.
Erectile Dysfunction(ED): About one half of American men over the age of 50 have some degree of ED, the inability to achieve or maintain an erection. So, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor about this condition. While an occasional problem isn't necessarily a cause for alarm, experts caution that men should see a doctor if the problem persists because most cases of ED (about 75 percent) have an underlying physical cause. This may include serious medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus or high cholesterol levels. ED can be an early warning sign of one of these more serious diseases.
Premature Ejaculation (PE): PE affects at least one in five men ages 18 to 59 and is characterized by a lack of voluntary control over ejaculation. PE is a frustrating problem that can reduce sexual enjoyment, impact relationships and affect quality of life. But, new treatment options are available, so seek medical attention if PE occurs frequently enough to interfere with your sexual pleasure.
"Urologic health conditions may seem unimportant, embarrassing or simply a part of normal aging, but some conditions can lead to or put you at risk for life-threatening events," said Anthony Y. Smith, MD. "Make 2010 the year that you discuss urologic concerns with your doctor."
Source: American Urological Association