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.

Robotic Surgery is the Future of Urology

The medical field of urology has long embraced technology by adopting innovative equipment and techniques soon after they are developed. One technical innovation that has been at the forefront of medical treatment is robotic surgery. Presently, robot-assisted techniques account for up to 50% of urologic surgeries. And in several types of procedures, particularly in cancer therapy, robotic surgery has become the standard approach.

Growing dominance

In recent years, urology training programs have increasingly emphasized instruction in robotic systems. In fact, more than 70% of existing urology training and subspecialty fellowships focus on teaching minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic procedures. With this continued emphasis during medical training, robotic systems are likely to become the leading method of urology surgeries.

Standard approach

Robotic surgical systems have become the standard approach in performing radical prostatectomy. When used properly, they result in reduced blood loss and scarring, decreased risk of nerve damage and preserved erectile function. Robot-assisted surgery is also the standard technique for partial and total nephrectomy (removal of the kidney). Robotic nephrectomy has a significantly shorter operating time, minimizes blood loss, and requires a shorter hospital stay than traditional open surgery.

In addition, robotic approaches have ensured that even the more technically challenging procedures are standardized, as with intra-corporeal urinary diversion and radical cystectomy. Urologists can now perform robotic cystectomy with intracorporeal diversions resulting in reduced complications.

Increased efficiency

Since urologic laparoscopic procedures are technically quite challenging, robotic systems have increasingly become the more efficient alternative. For instance, the da Vinci robotic system has finer surgical instruments that allow for smaller keyhole incisions. This gives urologists a high degree of freedom when working with very small spaces and ensures precise tissue dissection and surgical manipulations.

With da Vinci robotic surgery, the 10x magnification and high-definition imaging of internal structures ensures that nerves and tissue are unharmed. By facilitating the identification of key anatomic structures, the robotic system makes complex surgeries more successful.

Greater patient satisfaction

Robotic surgical systems have established minimally-invasive procedures as the centerpiece of urologic surgery. Urologists can now perform bladder, kidney, and prostate removal with superior pre-operative and post-operative outcomes compared to open surgery.

The benefits of the da Vinci robotic surgery have triggered a rising patient demand for robotic surgery. Most patients want a reduced risk of bleeding and shorter recovery time. With increased patient demand, robotic surgery will become even more in demand.

Revolutionized cancer therapy

Robot-assisted surgery has changed the way urological cancers are treated, allowing for the removal of bladder and kidney tumors using minimally invasive techniques. In younger patients with testicular cancer that has already spread to the lymph nodes, robotic surgery can now be used as an alternative to radiotherapy.

The da Vinci surgical procedure provides a superior prostate cancer survival rate and ensures that the prostate cancer is treated without postoperative urinary or erectile problems. It also enables urologists to conduct salvage operations on patients with recurrent cancer, helping to avoid or delay the need for chemotherapy.

At St Pete Urology, we believe robotic surgery is the future of urology. We are continually investing in cutting-edge robotic equipment and procedures that enable us to do a wide array of minimally invasive surgeries that achieve optimal outcomes for our patients. For more information on urologic disorders and surgical procedures, visit the St Pete Urology website.

The 5 Best Ways to Prevent Kidney Stones

When certain chemicals become concentrated in urine, they coalesce into crystals. The crystals then grow into larger mineral deposits called kidney stones. Most kidney stones form when calcium combines with either phosphorous or oxalate, but some form from uric acid, a byproduct of protein metabolism. Once formed, kidney stones can make their way through the urinary tract and pass from the body without problems. At other times, a stone will get stuck somewhere, block urine flow and cause intense pain.

Growing concern

Kidney stones are a rising concern. In fact, one in ten people will have kidney stones during their lifetime. Currently, up to 12% of Americans have stones and those who have had one are 50% more likely to get another within the next 10 years if no preventive measures are taken.

The passing of kidney stones is often characterized by agonizing and intolerable pain that comes in waves as the stones move through the urinary tract and out of the body. The pain may occur on one side of your back or abdomen, or it may radiate to your groin and belly area. While the severity of the pain does not necessarily relate to the size of the stone, larger stones tend to be more painful than smaller ones.

What are the 5 best ways to prevent kidney stones?

1. Drink plenty of fluids.

When you pass a lot of urine every day, you have a lower risk of developing kidney stones. The more you urinate, the lower the chance of stone-causing minerals settling and combining in your kidneys and urinary tract. Drink plenty of water to ensure you urinate up to 2 liters of urine daily. You will need roughly eight 8-ounce cups of water to achieve that. Orange juice and lemonade are also good because the citrate they contain helps prevent stone formation.

If have a history of cystine stones, engage in heavy exercise or just sweat a lot, you should drink even more water. Demanding workouts increase water loss through sweating and reduce urine output, so keep your body hydrated during and after exercise. You can tell if you are properly hydrated by the color of your urine. A clear to pale yellow urine means proper hydration while a dark color indicates a need for more fluids.

2. Increase your calcium intake.

Calcium oxalate stones are the most common kidney stones. But that does not mean you should avoid calcium-rich foods—actually the opposite is true. A low-calcium diet increases the risk of stones and osteoporosis. A calcium deficiency allows oxalate levels in urine to rise, triggering the formation of stones.

A good approach is to enhance your daily intake of calcium according your age. For instance, if you are a man 50 years or older, you need 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day, together with 800 to 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D to help with calcium absorption.

Calcium-rich foods include cheese, milk, and yogurt. Avoid calcium supplements as they may increase your risk of kidney stones; however, you can reduce that risk by taking supplements with your meals. It is always a good idea to speak with your doctor when considering supplements and dietary changes.

3. Eat fewer oxalate-rich foods.

Oxalate is a natural compound found in some foods. Since it binds with calcium in urine to form kidney stones, reducing oxalate-rich foods helps prevent stones from forming. Examples of foods rich in oxalate are chocolate, spinach, coffee, peanuts, beets, rhubarb, sweet potatoes, beets and wheat bran. Colas should also be avoided because they are rich in phosphate.

If you have suffered from kidney stones, your doctor may recommend you avoid these foods or consume them in smaller quantities. However, you can also eat oxalate-rich foods alongside calcium-rich foods as an alternative to avoiding them. Calcium and oxalate can bind together to actually reduce the risk of kidney stones.

4. Reduce your sodium intake.

When your diet is high in sodium, the amount of calcium in your urine increases. Sodium prevents calcium re-absorption from urine to blood, which in turn leads to high calcium in urine that may cause kidney stones. Reducing sodium intake lowers the amount of calcium in your urine.

The recommended daily limit of total sodium intake is 2,300 mg. But if sodium has contributed to your kidney stones in the past, you should reduce intake to 1,500 mg per day. Your doctor may advise that lowering sodium benefits your blood pressure as well. It is easier to lower sodium intake by avoiding foods such as:

  • Processed foods, like crackers and chips
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned soups
  • Condiments
  • Lunch meat
  • Foods containing sodium nitrate, monosodium glutamate, or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)

5. Limit intake of animal proteins.

Animal proteins not only raise the amount of uric acid in your body, they also increase body acid levels. Increased urine acidity promotes the formation of both uric acid and calcium oxalate stones.

Need help dealing with kidney stones?

St Pete Urology brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts in urology, nephrology and nutrition to offer a single point of care for patients with acute or recurrent kidney stones. We treat kidney stones using the latest minimally-invasive and nonsurgical procedures, including ureteroscopy, extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy and percutaneous nephrolithotomy. We also have advanced tools such as Holmium lasers and specialized ultrasound and ultrasonic equipment.

At St Pete Urology, we don’t just treat kidney stones. We aim to prevent their recurrence. Our focus is on the overall health of our patients with the goal of making their first kidney stone incident their last. For more information on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of kidney stones, visit the St Pete Urology website.

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7 Tips for Keeping a Healthy Prostate

Prostate problems are common in men over 40. The prostate, a tiny walnut-sized gland found only in males, surrounds the urethra and produces a thick, white fluid that mixes with sperm to form semen. Though smaller early in life, the gland grows bigger with age and can sometimes become enlarged or swollen by conditions such as prostate enlargement, prostatitis or prostate cancer.

All men, no matter their age, can find themselves dealing with a prostate issue, which is why every man should be concerned about his prostate health. Fortunately, there are easy ways to prevent or reduce the risk of developing prostate health problems.

Here are 7 tips for keeping your prostate healthy:

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are great sources of anti-inflammatory and anticancer compounds, such as polyphenols, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber. Plants that boost prostate health are plentiful and include favorites such as tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, pink grapefruits, watermelons, papaya and guava. Equally powerful are green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, spring mix and kale which contain cancer-killing ingredients such as folic acid, vitamin D, turmeric and curcumin. Be sure to add fruits and vegetables to your everyday meals to boost your prostate health!

2. Eat more plant proteins and cut down on animal fat

You should avoid diets that are high in animal fat, including dairy products and red meat. Heavy consumption of red meat increases your risk of prostate cancer. So go for lean proteins, such as fish and chicken, but avoid grilled meat since grilling produces carcinogens that can inflame your prostate. Instead try baking, steaming, or broiling your meat.

High animal fat intake reduces antioxidant production in the body. And since it is the antioxidants that help to maintain a healthy prostate, excess fat diminishes prostate health. A good option for a healthy prostate is fish, which contains omega-3 acids that minimize the risk of prostate problems. Fish such as tuna, herring or salmon are good choices, but if fish is not your thing, then walnuts and flaxseed can be great sources of omega-3 acids.

Ideally, you should go for whole, natural foods that provide a lot of fiber. Soy is also good for your prostate and you can get it through sources like soy nuts, soy flour or tofu. Likewise, you should eat foods rich in selenium such as wheat germ, tuna, beef liver, eggs, sunflower, cashews, sesame seeds, mushrooms, onions, garlic and kidneys. Selenium boosts prostate health and minimizes the risk of prostate cancer.

3. Achieve a healthy weight

Obesity has been associated with various prostate health issues, including prostate cancer. If you are overweight, cutting back your weight, particularly abdominal fat, reduces the risk of BPH. In fact, if you desire to shrink your prostate size and get relief from annoying urinary symptoms, weight loss is valuable. Weight loss also helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer and relieves prostatitis.

4. Regular exercise

Moderate or vigorous activity minimizes the risk of BPH, urinary tract symptoms and prostatitis. Regular exercise also decreases stress, releases tension, improves immune function and maintains healthy hormone levels, all of which are important for a healthy prostate.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate or intense physical activity every day. Try walking, swimming, running or bicycling, and make sure your exercise routine is not boring by varying your activities and even inviting friends to join you.

5. Drink tea

Both green tea and hibiscus tea contain potent antioxidants. Studies show that regular intake of tea helps with prostatitis, BPH and prostate cancer. Green tea also slows down the growth of aggressive prostate cancer.

Make sure to choose caffeine free sources of tea since caffeine irritates both the prostate and bladder and worsens symptoms of prostatitis. As a measure to cut down on caffeine intake, make sure to reduce energy drinks, coffee and soda.

Like tea, water is also great for the prostate. Drinking plenty of water will help you remain hydrated and enjoy normal prostate function. Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day, and to increase water intake during and after exercise.

6. Avoid smoking

Smoking affects every cell in your body. In fact, when cigarettes are burned, they are complete carcinogens. While smoking has less effect on low-grade or benign prostate cancer, it increases the risk of fatal prostate cancer. The heaviest smokers have 24-30 percent higher risk of death from prostate cancer than non-smokers. Smoking also increases the risk of prostate cancer progress after diagnosis.

Studies also show that smoking indirectly promotes benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and increases prostate inflammation. Apart from smoking, alcohol use and inadequate sleep may adversely affect your prostate health. Also, a healthy sex life is good for your prostate.

7. Talk to your doctor

Do you have family history of prostate cancer? Let your doctor know. Remember that having a father or brother who has had prostate cancer more than doubles your risk of developing the disease. Speak with your doctor about your risk of prostate issues and explore the medical screening tests you should undergo as you age, follow dietary recommendations and be alert to any risk factors.
If you intend to begin a new exercise program, make sure to inform your urologist about it. Your doctor should know if you are experiencing symptoms such as:

  • Discomfort or pain anywhere in your rectal or pelvic area
  • Blood in your urine or semen
  • Difficulty or pain when urinating

Are you or your loved one suffering from a prostate problem? St Pete Urology offers specialty urology services in a state-of-the-art facility and surgery center in St. Petersburg, Florida. We provide the latest innovations in surgical techniques and medical technology, delivering comprehensive care to those with urologic conditions. For more information about the prostate gland, BPH and prostate cancer, visit the St Pete Urology website.

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What are the early signs of erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to get or keep an erection that is strong enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse. That means even if you have no problem getting an erection, you could still have early stage erectile dysfunction if you are not able to achieve sexual satisfaction.

Early signs of erectile dysfunction

Occasional or intermittent sexual problems do not necessarily indicate erectile dysfunction. But you could have ED if the following are persistent:

  • Reduced desire for sex
  • Inability to get an erection
  • Inability to maintain an erection
  • Softer erections
  • Lack of nighttime and early morning erections

Most men suffer from erectile problems at some point in their lives. When the symptoms are only occasional, it is not considered erectile dysfunction. But if they gradually and consistently gets worse, there is probably a physical cause—which is generally what happens in chronic erectile dysfunction. If the problem occurs suddenly, but the man can still have erections early in the morning and when masturbating, that suggests a mental cause, though something could be going on physically as well.

You should speak with a urologist about your sexual problems if:

Erectile dysfunction worries you enough to cause anxiety or threaten your relationship. The urologist will clear up the misinformation that could make your sexual problems worse and prescribe medication to help you through a rough patch.

  • It is painful to get an erection or you find it difficult because your penis is curved (a condition called Peyronie’s disease).
  • The problem is persistent and doesn’t go away. It could be a sign of a more serious underlying condition such as diabetes or coronary artery disease.
  • Since causes of erectile dysfunction vary, and you may need a multi-teatment approach, seeing a urologist gives you the best chance of recovering quickly from the condition. Your doctor will help you determine the cause of your symptoms and then recommend treatment which may include lifestyle modifications, counseling, prescription medications (Viagra, Cialis, Levitra or Stendra), testosterone replacement, Alprostadil self-injection, Alprostadil urethral suppository, penis pump or penile implants.

At St Pete Urology, we understand that erectile dysfunction is frustrating and can have a profound impact on relationships and self-esteem. We also recognize that few men want to speak about their inability to get or maintain an erection. Each of our urologists is skilled, knowledgeable and experienced in helping men with this condition. We have a friendly and compassionate patient-centered approach that makes consultations confidential and beneficial. For more information about the treatment of erectile dysfunction and other urological problems, visit the St Pete Urology website.

What are the two major functions of the testes?

The testicles are the male reproductive organ. These oval-shaped organs are located in the scrotum just below the penis. The testicles have two primary functions: The first is to produce sperm and the second is to produce and discharge hormones, primarily testosterone. These two functions make them an indispensable part of the male reproductive system.

The testicles are continuously making sperm. Male testicles can produce up to 200,000 sperm per minute and can make several million sperm per day. This may seem like an overabundance, but each ejaculation releases anywhere between 20 and 300 million sperm cells, making all that hard work necessary. A full sperm production cycle can take 64 days and in that time the testicles will produce up to 8 billion sperm.

Androgens, the hormones produced in the testicles, play an important role in many aspects of a man’s life. These hormones control the development of masculine features. For instance, deeper voice and beard hair growth can be linked to androgens. The hormone called testosterone also plays a vital role in male reproduction. Testosterone drives genital growth and the sperm production that takes place in the testicles.

Maintaining good health is important to ensuring the testicles are able to perform their functions properly. Evidence shows that poor health can lead to lower sperm counts and weakened testosterone production. Some research shows that male infertility increases by 10 percent for every 20 pounds that a man is overweight. Unhealthy lifestyle factors like smoking, heavy drinking and stress can also affect the testicles’ ability to perform their functions.

Given the importance of testicle functions, it is important to pay attention to the diseases and conditions that occur in them. One of the most serious conditions is testicular cancer. This cancer is tends to affect younger men between 15 and 34 years of age, and although it is not common, it is important to be aware of it and check one’s testicles somewhat regularly. According to the American Cancer Society, about 410 deaths a year in the United Stated will be caused by this form of cancer.

Because the testicles are a part of the male reproductive system, a urologist is the doctor to see if any symptoms arise that indicate a problem. Men who have health concerns can make and appointment at St Pete Urology and meet a highly skilled uologist who is dedicated to improving reprouctive health and quality of life for his patients.

How do you keep your prostate healthy?

Prostate health is an important part of overall health for men. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland situated between the bladder and the penis. The urethra, the tube through which urine exits the body, runs through the prostate. One of the prostate’s main functions is producing a fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. For men, the prostate is an important part of both the urinary and reproductive systems.

The prostate is also the organ where the most common form of cancer for men develops. This cancer affects many men and the chances of developing it increase with age. The prostate also grows in size as men age. The rate and side effects of this growth can vary, but the most common symptoms are difficulty urinating and having to urinate frequently.

Given the importance of the prostate’s role and how easily it can develop problems, good prostate health is important. Luckily, there are simple lifestyle changes that can help improve prostate and overall health. These changes start with diet and exercise. There is a great deal of evidence that diet can help determine prostate health as well as cancer risk. It is recommended to have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Whole-grain bread and pastas are also recommended.

Protein is an important food group and eating the right kinds of protein plays a big role in prostate health. It is recommended to limit the intake of red and processed meats. Healthier sources of protein include fish, chicken, beans and eggs. Like protein, consuming the right fats is important, too. Healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, and avocados are much better than fats from animal byproducts or the trans fats found in fast food.

Sugar, salt and exercise play a role in prostate health as well. Sugary drinks like soda should be limited or cut out completely. Sweets in general should be an occasional treat, not a food group in your diet. Salt intake should be cut down for prostate health and keep in mind that most processed foods are very high in salt content.

Exercise is also important for maintaining good prostate health. There is evidence that regular exercise helps bring down the risk of stroke, heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Small changes to diet and exercise can add up to big health improvements, but there is still more you can do. Another important tool in keeping your prostate healthy is having a good relationship with your urologist. Yearly prostate exams and an open dialogue with a trusted urologist is key to maintaining prostate health and resolving issues early, before they turn into serious health problems. The urologists at St Pete Urology are dedicated to helping you keep your prostate healthy.

Urologists: What they do and what to expect

A urologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the urinary system, which includes kidneys, bladder, urethra and ureters. Urologists also specialize in issues related to the male reproductive system. Specialization in this field requires a great deal of education. Urologists go through four years of medical school followed by five years of specialized training focusing specifically on urology. By the time a urologist enters a practice they are experts in their field.

There are many reasons why your primary care doctor may recommend a urologist. Urologists help patients with issues like urinary tract infections, stubborn kidney stones, enlarged prostates, incontinence and pelvic prolapses. There are also various forms of cancers that urologists monitor and treat, like prostate cancer. For men, their urologist can be their main point of contact for issues like erectile dysfunction.

Urologists have a variety of tools to help their patients achieve positive outcomes with whatever issue they may be facing. They will consult with their patients to determine what is the best method to treat each individual’s medical issue. Treatment options will vary case to case. Treatments can be both surgical and non-invasive. For example, a urologist may perform surgery to implant stints in the urinary tract to help with kidney stones or perform biopsies on prostates with cancer. Urologists may use new technologies like HIFU, which uses ultrasound waves to break up kidney stones.

A patient seeing a urologist for the first time can expect an experience similar to seeing any other kind of doctor. The appointment might include collecting a urine sample, depending on the reason for the visit. A first visit usually will include a questionnaire about patient’s health history and issues. It is important to answer these questions as truthfully as possible, even though discussing issues regarding incontinence, urinary issues or erectile dysfunction can be embarrassing for many patients. It is helpful to remember that urologists deal with these issues on a daily basis and are accustomed to having these conversations with their patients. There is no issue a patient should be too embarrassed to discuss.

For some patients, seeing a new doctor can be frightening. At St Pete Urology, doctors understand this and work to create an open environment where doctors and patients can achieve positive and sometimes life-changing outcomes. For more information, visit the St Pete Urology website.

What Does the Prostate Gland Do?

The prostate gland is an organ that is part of the male reproductive system. It surrounds the urethra and is located between the bladder and penis. It is relatively small weighing in at a mere three-fourths of an ounce, and can be likened to the size of a walnut or small apricot.

Despite its small size, it does important work for the reproductive system. The primary function of the prostate is to produce and secrete prostate fluid, which is one of the main components of semen. This fluid, which makes up one-third of semen’s volume, contains important enzymes that aid sperm.

The enzymes are referred to as Prostate Specific Antigens (PSA) and help to prevent semen from thickening after ejaculation. The more liquid semen allows sperm to move freely, increasing the chances of its success.

The muscles of the prostate help propel semen. During ejaculation sperm moves from the testicles to the prostate. The prostate then will contract, closing the bladder’s opening to the urethra so the prostate can release the semen through the urethra.

When in good health, the prostate is an important part of the male reproductive system. However, it is prone to a few conditions that are most likely to increase as men age. The most common is enlarging of the prostate. Prostate growth affects virtually all men over age 50. It can cause difficulty urinating and the need for frequent urination. There are medicines that can help treat an enlarged prostate if symptoms get bad enough to warrant treatment.

Another common health issue is prostate cancer. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. Fortunately, only one in 41 men diagnosed with prostate cancer dies, meaning survival rates are better than in many other forms of cancers. Prostate cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy. In some cases, when the cancer is not aggressive or spreading, doctors may recommend leaving the cancer alone and just monitoring it with your urologist.

Given its importance in the human body, good prostate health is important. Having your prostate checked once a year by a urologist should be a part of men’s annual health maintenance as they get older. Having a good relationship with your urologist is important. Urologists like those at St Pete Urology are dedicated to their patients’ best interest and overall health. They are specialists who can help with planning, treatment and any issues that may arise with the prostate. For more information, visit the St Pete Urology website.

Infertility Treatment Options for Men & Women

For couples struggling to conceive a child, life might feel like a carousel, trying for the brass ring, month after month. It can put a lot of pressure on the relationship. But now there are fertility treatments that can put the chances of conception in your favor.

What are the different types of fertility treatments?

Today we have more technology for diagnosing and treating infertility than ever before. Fertility assessments should be done on both partners to determine which treatments can help, and whether it is a male or female infertility issue.

Female Options for Fertility Treatment

Fertility treatments can include medications to regulate hormones and ovulation, which are often combined with minor surgery approaches. Assisted Reproductive Technology, or ART for short, encompasses several procedures to help you conceive. Some ART procedures make it easier for the sperm to fertilize an egg, and others help with getting the egg to implant in the lining of your uterus.

Common ART fertility treatments are:

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), in which healthy sperm is collected and then inserted directly into the uterus when you are ovulating.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), in which eggs are taken from the ovaries to be fertilized by sperm in the lab where they can develop into embryos. Then a doctor implants the embryos into your uterus after they grows for 3 to 5 days.

GIFT, short for Gamete IntraFallopian Transfer, and ZIFT, Zygote IntraFallopian Transfer. In GIFT, the egg and sperm are collected and immediately placed in a fallopian tube. With ZIFT, the egg(s) and sperm are combined in a lab, resulting in a fertilized egg, which then is placed into the tube at 24 hours.

Cryopreservation, which is known as “freezing” your eggs, sperm or embryos, along with donated eggs or embryos, as well as surrogate mothers who carry the embryo to term.

Both fertility drugs and hormones can be used to help determine when the woman is ovulating or ensure proper levels of hormones. Surgery can remove tissue, such as in cases of endometriosis, or be used to open blocked fallopian tubes.

Enlisting donor sperm, eggs or surrogate mothers, is popular with single people and same-sex couples who desire a baby. Donor sperm or eggs can be the solution if either partner has fertility issues.

Male Options for Fertility Treatment

There are various treatment options if the male needs help with sperm counts, quality or motility. Surgery by a qualified urologist is recommended if the cause is a varicocele (widened veins in the scrotum) or for any blockage in the vas deferens, the tubes that carry the sperm. Antibiotics can be used to treat infections in the reproductive organs, and medications can treat problems with ejaculation or erections. Another option is hormone treatment.

If you wish to conceive but are having problems, our team of specialists at St Pete Urology is experienced in working with couples to make assessments and help in achieving your dreams. For more information, visit the St Pete Urology website.