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.

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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Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Testosterone is a sex hormone found in humans, with men having much higher levels than women. Production of the hormone usually increases during puberty in order to help with the development of adult male physical features. Testosterone also helps maintain various critical bodily functions in men, including muscle strength and mass, body and facial hair, mood, deeper voice, red cell production, bone density, fat distribution, sperm production, erections and sex drive. In fact, due to the role of the hormone in various bodily functions, a decline in its levels can cause significant undesirable changes.

What is low testosterone?

When men have low testosterone levels, the condition is called “low-T” or hypogonadism. The bottom limit of normal testosterone in men is around 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) while the upper limit is about 900ng/dL depending on the lab. Low testosterone results in a lower-than-normal score from a blood test. Although testosterone production increases sharply during puberty, it usually decreases after age 30 at an estimated rate of 1% per year. This decrease results in low testosterone levels in about 4 out of 10 men above the age of 45, 2 out of 10 men over 60, 3 in 10 men over 70, and 3 in 10 men over 80 years of age. Nevertheless, the age at which testosterone deficiency first appears varies widely. Some men feeling great into their 70’s while a minority requires testosterone replacement therapy in their 20’s or even in their teens.

What are the symptoms of low testosterone?

  1. Diminished sexual function

Since testosterone is responsible for sex drive and high libido in men, a drop in hormone levels may result in a decreased desire for sex, a slightly lower sperm count, infertility, fewer and weaker spontaneous erections, increased refractory period after ejaculation and decreased sexual performance. Although erectile dysfunction (inability to achieve or maintain an erection) may not necessarily be caused by insufficient testosterone, if it accompanies low-T then hormone replacement therapy can help to treat the condition. The adverse effects of low-T should not occur suddenly. If they do, other underlying issues should be investigated and treated by a urologist or physician.

  1. Adverse physical changes

Since testosterone is responsible for increasing muscle mass, maintaining body and facial hair and contributing to the overall masculine form, a man with low testosterone will gradually experience physical changes. Such changes may include fragile bones, decreased strength and endurance, reduced muscle mass, increased fatigue, decreased body hair, hot flashes, tenderness or swelling in the breast tissue, frequent back pain, increased body fat, increased build-up of bad cholesterol, development of male breasts (gynecomastia) and increased risk of heart attack.

  1. Mental and emotional problems

Low-T can affect a man mentally and emotionally. For instance, a man with low testosterone may experience memory problems, difficulty concentrating (brain fog), sleep disturbances, frequent feelings of sadness and depression, irritability, mood swings, diminished self-confidence and reduced motivation. An accumulation of these mental and emotional challenges may degrade a man’s overall sense of well-being and adversely affect his quality of life.

Why should you see a urologist?

Men experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor for advice and treatment. The symptoms described above are not unique to low testosterone levels and could also be the normal side effects of aging or the effects of another serious condition such as thyroid malfunction, injury to testicles, testicular cancer, infection, HIV, type II diabetes, alcohol use, pituitary gland problems, genetic abnormalities affecting the testicles, or side effects of certain medications. By visiting a urologist, you will be examined, tested and treated for the correct condition causing the symptoms.

At St Pete Urology, we have skilled and experienced board-certified urologists who can give you proper advice on managing the symptoms of low-T. We will determine your testosterone level through a blood test and effectively treat the symptoms, allowing you to feel your best throughout your life. For more information on treatment of low-T, visit the St Pete Urology website.

What color is urine when kidneys are failing?

Kidney failure is a condition in which one or both kidneys can no longer work on their own. It may be due to an acute injury to the kidneys or a chronic disease that gradually causes them to stop functioning. When kidneys are healthy, they clean the blood by removing excess fluid, minerals and wastes. But when they are failing, harmful wastes build up in the body and excess fluid is retained, changing the appearance, amount and number of times urine is passed.

Clues from urine color

Urine can provide a lot of information about what is going on in the body, including kidney failure. It can be all sorts of colors, from pale yellow to amber, and even pink, orange or green. For healthy urine, the color ranges from pale yellow to amber-colored, depending on the body’s hydration level. Pale yellow urine means high hydration while dark amber means more concentrated urine, indicating dehydration.

The pigment called urobilin (urochrome) causes the yellow color in urine. The kidney filters out this byproduct from the bloodstream and removes it from the body in urine. The more fluids you drink, the lighter the color of this pigment in urine. The less you drink, the stronger the color. For example, during pregnancy there is 50% increase in blood volume, so urine tends to be clearer and more diluted during pregnancy.

What urine colors are abnormal?

Paying attention to the color of urine can make you aware of your kidney health and alert you to the need for a medical checkup. Clear to yellow urine is normal and indicates normal kidney function, while odd colors such as orange or blue may be due to certain medications such as laxatives, antidepressants and antibiotics. But there are two colors that you must take seriously: red and dark brown.

Pink or red urine means red blood cells are present in urine. These colors may be a sign of infection, kidney stones or even cancer. Dark brown urine could mean you are extremely dehydrated, but if you drink plenty of fluid and the urine is still brown then you may have muscle breakdown, kidney disease or kidney failure.

What is the color of urine when kidneys are failing?

When kidneys are failing, the increased concentration and accumulation of substances in urine lead to a darker color which may be brown, red or purple. The color change is due to abnormal protein or sugar, high levels of red and white blood cells, and high numbers of tube-shaped particles called cellular casts. The presence of blood in urine may make urine appear red or the color of tea or cola. Dark brown urine occurs in kidney failure due to the buildup of waste products in urine or urinating less often and in smaller amounts than usual.

Foaming or fizzing urine may also be a sign of kidney failure, though foam is not a color and usually occurs due to increased protein in urine or kidney disease. Foamy urine indicates a diminished ability of the kidney to filter and clean the blood.

Treatment of kidney failure

Kidney failure can be a debilitating and life threatening condition with symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, generalized swelling, shortness of breath, congestive heart failure and fatal heart rhythm disturbances. If your kidney is failing, treatment of the underlying disease may be the first step in correcting the problem.

Many causes of kidney failure are treatable and visiting a urologist will ensure the underlying condition is diagnosed and treated to restore normal function. The urologist may also plan for control of blood pressure, diabetes or other underlying conditions as a way of preventing chronic kidney disease. But in some situations, kidney failure is progressive and irreversible. When that happens, the only treatment options are dialysis or transplant, each with benefits and drawbacks.

Whatever treatment your urologist recommends, you will need to make some changes in your life, including how you eat and plan your activities. With the help of your urologist, family and friends, you can continue to lead a full and active life. For more information on symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and management of kidney failure, visit the St Pete Urology website.

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 can damage your kidneys?

The kidneys are a pair of organs located on either side of the spine just above the waist. Healthy kidneys work as your body’s filtration system. They help balance water and minerals in your blood. They remove waste from the blood that develops from digestion and muscle activity. In addition to filtration, the kidneys make renin to help manage blood pressure and vitamin D for bone health, among other things. There is no question that the kidneys are an important and hard-working pair of organs.

Like any other organ in the body, there are factors that can damage and affect the kidneys ability to perform their vital functions. Acute kidney problems are those that happen suddenly or in a brief amount of time. Some examples of acute kidney problems are direct trauma to the kidneys, not enough blood flowing to the kidneys, or urine backed up in them.

There are a variety of factors that can cause acute kidney problems. Traumatic injury can be caused by an incident like a car wreck or severe fall. Extreme dehydration can cause the kidneys to begin to fail. Certain drugs can release toxins that in large quantities can cause kidney failure. In men, both an enlarged prostate and kidney stones can restrict urine flow to the point the urine becomes backed up in the kidney.

Chronic kidney damage occurs when the kidneys have not been working correctly for longer than three months. Chronic kidney damage is usually the result of disease over long periods of time. High blood pressure and types 1 and 2 diabetes are the most common reasons behind chronic kidney damage. In addition to high blood pressure and diabetes, chronic kidney damage can also be attributed to illnesses like lupus, HIV/Aids, hepatitis, and urinary tract infections within the kidneys.

Urologists have many tools to help with prostate and kidney stone issues. They can remove tissue from an enlarged prostate, relieving pressure on the urethra and freeing up the flow of urine. They also have ultrasounds that use sounds waves to break up large kidney stones that can be restricting urine flow. In both cases, being able to rid the kidneys of urinary toxins can be lifesaving.

There are many factors that can damage your kidneys. St Pete Urology has urologists that understand the causes of kidney damage and what can be done to produce good outcomes and better lives for those who have suffered kidney damage. For more information, visit the St Pete Urology website.

What is Penile Trauma?

The penis is one of the male body’s organs that is least likely to be harmed. Men are generally very careful not to damage their penises, but accidents do happen. The causes most often linked to penile trauma are car accidents, sport injuries, machine accidents, burns and gunshot wounds.

However, the most common cause of penile trauma is sex related injuries. When the penis is not erect it is soft and flexible, making it less susceptible to harm. But during sex the penis becomes erect and firm from increased blood flow. This is when injuries are most likely to occur. For instance, during sex with a partner, there are many ways a man may accidentally bump or bend his penis. This can cause a sharp pain followed by loss of the erection. This is caused by a tear in the tunica albuginea, a part of the penis that is stretched tight during an erection.

The first sign of penile trauma is immediate pain that can subside quickly or continue for a long period of time. Blood can build up under the skin of the penis causing bruising and swelling. Blood in the urine is further indication that something is very wrong. These are all signs that it is time to seek medical treatment. A trained urologist will most likely be needed at this point.

Your urologist will ask you questions and perform a physical exam to assess the damage to the penis. The urologist may need to perform an X-ray to determine the extent of the damage to the urethra. In addition to an X-ray, a urologist may want to perform an ultrasound to determine if there is any damage inside the penis. It is important to determine if there is any damage to the many veins and tubes that run through the penis.

Surgery is the most common treatment for penile trauma and has the lowest chances of causing erectile dysfunction. The surgery is performed under anesthesia and begins with the urologist making a cut around the shaft below the head of the penis. The skin then is pulled back to remove any blood clots and repair any tears. Recovery from the surgery can take one to two days in the hospital, and patients may need a catheter for a brief time while at home.

Because penile trauma is almost always caused by accident, prevention really isn’t possible. In case of an accident that causes penile trauma, it is best to remain calm and contact a urologist immediately. St Pete Urology helps men with all kinds of urologic issues, whether it is underlying, chronic or urgent as in penile trauma. 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.

How does the kidney filter blood?

Many people do not realize how vital their kidneys are to their overall health until an issue arises and they need to seek medical care. Knowing what your kidneys do and how they function can go a long way toward maintaining good health before a problem occurs or understanding the treatment process once you are under a urologist’s supervision.

What Do My Kidneys Do?

Your kidneys are basically your body’s filtration system. Every minute, approximately half a cup of blood flows through them. As the blood flows through, waste products are removed, as is excess water; the levels of minerals and salt are also adjusted if need be. Although around 150 quarts of blood are filtered by your kidneys every day as it continually cycles through your body, only about 1-2 quarts of urine are produced from the waste products and excess water. The urine then flows to the bladder through a tube called the ureter.

How Do My Kidneys Work?

Inside each kidney, there are about a million tiny filtration units called nephrons. The nephrons are made up of a filter called a glomerulus and a tube called a tubule. Blood flows through the glomerulus, where waste and excess water or minerals are filtered out. The tubule then sends the filtered substances to collect in the kidneys before flowing through the ureter to the bladder, while the newly-filtered blood is returned to the rest of the body. There are so many nephrons in your kidneys that even if more than half of them are no longer working, you may not notice any issues or symptoms.

What Happens If Something Goes Wrong?

Many things can occur to interrupt the function of your kidneys. Warning signs of kidney disease include an increased need to urinate, especially at night, blood in the urine, foamy urine, cramping muscles and swollen ankles and feet. These are all signs that something could be wrong with the filtration system in your kidneys, causing issues with fluid and electrolyte levels in your body.

Another common problem is kidney stones. When there is a buildup of certain waste products in the kidneys and not enough fluid to flush them out, these waste products can crystallize and form stones that cause extreme pain as they leave the body. If you suspect you are dealing with kidney stones, kidney disease, or other problems with your urinary system, it’s important to talk to a doctor right away, like the urologists at St Pete Urology, who will be able to diagnose any issues and help you and your kidneys return to normal healthy function as soon as possible.

For more information, visit the St Pete Urology website.

Can Male Infertility Be Treated?

For many couples, trying and not being able to conceive a child is a stressful, emotional and frustrating time. Up to 15% of couples are infertile, meaning that they cannot conceive a child despite actively trying for a year or more. And for that 15%, over a third of these problems stem from issues caused by male infertility.

Male infertility is the inability to conceive a child. There are no obvious signs that a man is infertile, and he may not realize it until he and his partner are unsuccessful in their attempts. However, in some cases like hormonal imbalances, inherited disorders and testicular vein issues, symptoms may exist. These can include erectile dysfunction, difficulty ejaculating, ejaculating in small volumes, decreased sexual desire, or abnormal breast growth.

There are numerous causes that can lead to male infertility. A common and easily reversible symptom is Varicocele, the swelling of the veins that release fluid from the testicles. Infections also can be the cause of male infertility, as they can cause issues with sperm health and production. In some cases, treating the infection can treat the issue, but not in all instances. Another cause of infertility is retrograde ejaculation, an issue where semen enters the bladder during orgasm. Infertility can also be a symptom of certain tumors.

In addition to medical causes for infertility, there are also environmental and lifestyle factors that can be attributed. Extended exposure to industrial chemicals or heavy metals can contribute to low sperm counts. Radiation or x-ray exposure can cause temporary reductions in sperm count. As for lifestyle causes, drug, alcohol, tobacco use and emotional stress can be contributing factors to male infertility.

Although a specific cause of male infertility may not always be clear, there are plenty of treatments available, and a urologist may be able to assist you. Surgery can help to open pathways in constricted veins to allow more semen to flow freely. Antibiotic treatments will clear up any infections that may be causing infertility. Hormone treatments and medications are useful in some cases. And in other cases, assisted reproductive technologies, like the surgical extraction of sperm for fertilization, may be recommended by your urologist.

For many couples the inability to have a child can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. But there is hope. Urologists and fertility doctors have dedicated their lives to helping couples who want to have children. Doctors, like those at St Pete Urology, can help you learn more about your condition and help you start your family. For more information, visit the St Pete Urology website.