What to Expect at Your First Urology Appointment

Frequent urination, incontinence, sexual dysfunction, and other chronic issues can be embarrassing, painful, or even signs of a more serious condition. By seeing a urologist, you can ensure that these issues do not unnecessarily disrupt your life.

At St Pete Urology, we provide life-changing solutions for men and women with urinary tract problems and for men with issues affecting their reproductive organs. Our urologists diagnose and treat these conditions every day, so there is no need to be embarrassed about seeking help.

You should see a urologist if you have:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Painful urination
  • Poor bladder control
  • Urine leakage or flow issues
  • Sudden change in the color or smell of your urine
  • Pain in your groin, lower back or abdominal area
  • Hernia
  • Fallen bladder protrusion
  • Overactive bladder (OAB)
  • Low sex drive
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Hormone imbalance, such as low testosterone
  • Kidney pain or kidney stones
  • Concerns with testicles, penis or prostate
  • Cancer of the bladder, penis, testicles, prostate or kidney

What should you expect during your first visit?

Whether you are referred by another doctor or find a urologist on your own, your first visit will be similar to seeing your primary care physician. The urologist will begin by reviewing your full medical history, particularly in relation to previous urological issues. The doctor will then run diagnostic tests and use the results to determine the cause and likely treatment for your condition.

Paperwork

When you arrive for your first appointment, you should expect to fill out paperwork. Depending on the reason for your visit, you may be required to complete a questionnaire. Because the questionnaire helps to evaluate your symptoms, it is advisable to track them beforehand and arrive at your appointment with specific information. Give as much detail as possible, rate the severity of your symptoms, and make a note of their timing.

Urine Sample

You will probably be asked for a urine sample during your first visit. The urine sample is analyzed in order to give the urologist an inside look at your urinary system. It helps to go to your appointment with a full bladder by drinking 16 ounces of water an hour before the appointment. If you feel the urge to empty your bladder as soon as you arrive at the urologist’s office, inform the receptionist that you are ready to provide your urine sample before you see the doctor.

Medical History

Once you are taken into the exam room, you will be asked questions about your medical history. State your symptoms clearly. Describe when they started, their timing and their severity. Be prepared with a written list of your current medications and their actual dosages, prior imaging studies, plus any over-the-counter supplements you are taking.

Physical Exam and Diagnostic Tests

Your urologist will conduct a physical examination and run diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your problem. For men, a digital rectal exam is the standard procedure to check the prostate. Other tests, such as a urethral swab, rule out sexually transmitted diseases and blood work can check the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) level.

If you are a woman dealing with recurring urinary tract infections (UTI), the urologist may order a urinalysis and a pelvic exam. A blood panel can determine hormone levels in women with low sex drive, and a cough stress test may indicate the cause of urinary incontinence. Computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and sonography are also frequently relied on by urologists for testing.

Making an Informed Treatment Decision

After exams and diagnostic tests, the urologist will discuss with you the findings, help you understand your condition, and recommend possible solutions. At this stage, you should ask questions to be fully informed about your treatment options and their benefits and potential risks. Possible treatment options include physical therapy, medication or surgical procedures.

At St Pete Urology, we treat a full spectrum of urological conditions to help our patients overcome medical challenges and enjoy a better quality of life. Our compassionate, patient-friendly approach ensures that patients have a great experience with us from the very first visit.

No need to feel intimated or embarrassed when seeing a urologist. We see these issues every day and we are ready to help you. For more information about the diagnosis and treatment of urological problems, visit the St Pete Urology website.

9 Tips to Keep Your Bladder Healthy

The bladder’s function is to store urine and allow urination to be infrequent and controlled. Bladder problems may lead to bothersome issues such as incontinence, infections and overactive bladder. While you may not be able to prevent every possible bladder problem, taking appropriate measures can help to lessen many of them.

What should you do to keep your bladder healthy?

1. Drink plenty of fluid

Drinking plenty of fluid increases the volume and frequency of urination, which in turn helps to flush out bacteria from your bladder. Water is the best fluid for your bladder and should be at least half of your daily fluid intake.

Ideally, you should drink 6-8 eight-ounce glasses of water every day. But if you engage in intense exercise or activity, you may need to drink more to compensate for fluid loss. On the other hand, if you have a condition such as heart disease or kidney failure, you may need to drink less. Speak with your doctor about how much fluid is right for you.

2. Avoid smoking

Smokers are more likely to develop bladder control issues than non-smokers. Cigarette smokers also tend to have more severe bladder symptoms. For heavy smokers, there is a tendency to develop a chronic cough, which exerts added pressure on the bladder and worsens urinary incontinence. Plus, tobacco smokers are three times more prone to bladder cancer than non-smokers. Avoiding cigarette smoking is good for your bladder health.

3. Get active

Physical activity not only relieves bladder problems but also prevents fluid buildup in the legs. Fluid retention in the legs—usually due to heart disease or a sedentary lifestyle—can lead to bladder control issues. You can reduce fluid retention through low-impact moderate activity such as biking, swimming or walking briskly for at least 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.

4. Do Kegel exercises

Weak pelvic floor muscles are a common cause of urine leakage (incontinence). Kegel exercises target and strengthen pelvic floor muscles and keep urine from leaking when you sneeze, laugh, lift or have a sudden urge to urinate. Speak with your urologist about what kind of exercise will benefit you the most.

5. Avoid bladder irritants

Certain foods and beverages can irritate the bladder and trigger bladder problems. Known bladder irritants include alcoholic beverages, apples, apple juice, bananas, brewer’s yeast and carbonated drinks. Others are chilies, chocolate, citrus fruits, coffee, cranberries, grapes, nuts, raw onions, raisins, soy sauce, tomatoes and vinegar.

While you don’t have to stop eating your favorite foods and drinks entirely, reducing the amounts can improve your bladder symptoms.

6. Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight is a risk factor for incontinence, particularly stress incontinence. The excess weight exerts more pressure on the abdomen and bladder and weakens pelvic floor muscles. In fact, nearly 50-percent of older people who are overweight struggle with bladder incontinence.
By losing weight in the abdominal area, you can reduce pressure on the bladder and pelvic muscles and improve bladder control. In many cases, weight loss improves incontinence symptoms or gets rid of them completely. Make healthy food choices and engage in regular exercise to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

7. Prevent constipation

Bladder problems are quite common in people with constipation because a full rectum presses the bladder wall causing either outflow obstruction or increased spasm. Also, constipation makes pelvic muscles overactive, which causes dysfunction in stool and urine elimination and leads to an overactive bladder. You can reduce constipation by drinking enough water, eating high-fiber foods (like whole grains, fruits, and fresh vegetables), and being physically active.

8. Manage medications

Some medications can trigger bladder control problems. For example, high blood pressure prescriptions tend to increase urine output and relax bladder muscles resulting in urine leakage. Drugs such as antidepressants, muscle relaxants, antihistamines, sedatives, and tranquilizers may hinder bladder contraction and reduce awareness of the need to urinate.

You should not stop taking your medications just because you suspect they are responsible for your bladder issues. Instead, and before making any change, speak with your doctor about your concerns. The doctor may adjust the dosage or offer a different medication. In cases where the benefits of the medications far outweigh the related bladder issues, your doctor will work with you on alternative ways to ease symptoms.

9. Flush out bacteria

Proper cleaning of the genital area before and after sexual intercourse helps to reduce bacteria and prevents bladder infections. Passing urine before and after sex helps to flush out bacteria and stops their entry into the urethra during sex.

Since holding urine in the bladder for too long increases the risk of infection and can weaken bladder muscles, make sure to pass urine as often as possible. Use the bathroom at least every 3 to 4 hours, and when urinating, don’t rush. Take your time to fully empty your bladder.

At St Pete Urology, we provide expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of urinary disorders. Our urology specialists will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan for your problems. We value our multidisciplinary and compassionate approach to caring for our patients. For more information on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of urinary disorders, visit the St Pete Urology website.

Signs of Bladder Problems

Bladder problems are very common and can range from mild issues like a urinary tract infection to life-threatening conditions such as bladder cancer. It is important to be aware of your bladder health and symptoms that can indicate a problem so you can seek prompt medical treatment when needed.

Problems With Urination

Urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are both common problems that affect millions of people every year.

If you experience leaking urine during activities like coughing, laughing or bending over; if you feel sudden, strong urges to go to the bathroom but do not always make it in time; or if you wet the bed at night, you may be suffering from a bladder issue causing urinary incontinence. It is important to discuss these symptoms with your doctor, who can help find solutions so you enjoy a better quality of life.

If you are experiencing a burning sensation during urination, a frequent urge to go, cloudy urine or a fever, you might have a UTI. A physician can determine the best route to deal with it, most likely involving antibiotics, to clear up the infection before it can spread to the kidneys and become more serious.

Pain In The Bladder

If you have been experiencing issues with the urinary tract for more than six weeks without signs of an infection, and if there is also pain and a feeling of pressure in the bladder area, you might be dealing with interstitial cystitis. This is a chronic health condition that can range from mild to severe. Every case of IC is different, so your doctor will work closely with you to reach a diagnosis and determine a treatment plan.

Warning Signs Of Bladder Cancer

The first sign of bladder cancer is usually blood in the urine, also known as hematuria. Sometimes the blood is not visible and will only be noticeable during urinalysis performed as part of a physical exam. Other times, enough blood may be visible to tint the urine pink, orange or dark red. Blood in the urine also can be a symptom of other serious issues such as kidney stones or an infection.

Other signs of bladder cancer can include indications of less severe bladder problems, such a frequent urge to go, a burning sensation during urination, or difficulty relieving yourself. Symptoms of more advanced bladder cancer include an inability to urinate, lower back pain, swollen feet or bone pain.

Whenever you experience new symptoms or difficulties with your urinary system, it is important to contact your doctor as soon as possible. The urologists at St Pete Urology are here to help with bladder problems of all kinds so you can live your happiest, healthiest life. For more information, visit the St Pete Urology website.