A urology appointment is crucial for individuals who are dealing with issues related to the urinary tract, bladder or male reproductive system. If a primary care physician (PCP) believes an individual requires treatment for urological conditions or diseases, he or she may refer this patient to a urologist for additional support. Urologists specialize in urological conditions and diseases. As such, they possess the skills and know-how to diagnose and treat problems that affect the urinary tract, bladder and male reproductive system.
Meeting with a urologist may seem stressful at first, but there is no need to worry. A urologist allocates time and resources to understand a patient’s symptoms and explains urological conditions, disorders and treatments in easy-to-understand terms. Then, a urologist offers an expert treatment plan.
Prior to meeting with a urologist, a patient needs to complete paperwork. A urologist requires a patient to provide details about his or her medical history and any current health issues. Additionally, a urologist asks a patient to provide a list of current over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications. This information helps a urologist perform a complete review of a patient and provide proper diagnosis and treatment.
Questionnaires and surveys may also be used as part of the initial patient assessment process. For example, urologists sometimes use the International Prostate Symptom Score, a questionnaire that enables patients to provide insights into the severity of any urological problems. Meanwhile, a Urological Distress Inventory is commonly used to diagnose and address female incontinence, and a Sexual Health Inventory for Men often helps urologists analyze the erectile function of male patients.
Next, a urologist performs a physical examination, discusses a patient’s urological problems and provides treatment recommendations. A urologist may request additional tests that will be performed at the time of the current appointment or during a subsequent visit. These tests may include:
- Blood Count Test: Evaluates a patient’s overall health and detects anemia, infection, leukemia and other health disorders.
- Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test: Measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood; the PSA level often is elevated in men who experience prostate cancer.
- Testosterone Level Test: Monitors the amount of testosterone in the blood; a low testosterone level in men may be a sign of hypogonadism or genetic disorders, while a high testosterone level in women may lead to infertility, development of body and facial hair or irregular menstrual periods.
- Cystoscopy: Involves the use of an endoscopic instrument to visualize the lining of the bladder and urethra. A cystoscopy typically is performed at a urologist’s office.
After a urologist examines a patient’s test results, he or she offers a customized treatment plan. No two patients are exactly the same, and a urologist always tailors a treatment plan to address a patient’s symptoms. A urologist tracks a patient’s progress over the course of many weeks and months, and a treatment plan may be modified over time to ensure optimal results.
What Conditions and Diseases Does a Urologist Treat?
A urologist treats a variety of conditions and diseases, and these include:
- Prostate Cancer: Occurs in the prostate, a male gland that produces seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among men, and a urologist administers a prostate cancer screening test to diagnose this disorder.
- Kidney Cancer: Causes unexplained weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite and blood in the urine. There is no surefire cause of kidney cancer, but research indicates there are several risk factors associated with this disorder, include smoking, obesity and high blood pressure.
- Kidney Stones: Form inside the kidneys and consist of hard deposits of minerals. There are many causes of kidney stones, and the stones may affect any part of the urinary tract.
- Bladder Stones: Occur due to a build-up of minerals in the bladder. Studies show older men are more susceptible than others to bladder stones.
- Kidney Infection: Begins in the urethra or bladder and affects one or both of the kidneys. A kidney infection requires immediate medical attention, and failure to address this issue may be fatal.
- Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Occur due to infections that affect the bladder, kidneys or urethra. Research indicates recurrent UTIs are common and may affect a woman over the course of several years.
- Bladder Cancer: Begins in the cells that line the inside of the bladder. In many cases, bladder cancer can be diagnosed and treated at an early stage.
- Testicular Cancer: Affects the male hormones and sperm. Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles and commonly affects men between the ages of 15 and 35.
- Testicular Tumors: Affect men of all ages, but most frequently impact men between the ages of 20 and 34.
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED): Impacts men who cannot maintain an erection long enough to engage in sexual intercourse. ED makes it difficult for men to get an erection and may cause reduced sexual desire.
- Urinary Incontinence: Refers to the loss of bladder control. Urinary incontinence severity varies from occasional urine leakage to experiencing uncontrollable urges to urinate.
A urologist understands the aforementioned conditions and diseases and offers safe, effective urological procedures. Common urological procedures include:
- Vasectomy and Vasectomy Reversals: A vasectomy sterilizes a man and requires the closure or blockage of tubes that carry sperm to prevent sperm from entering the seminal stream; comparatively, a vasectomy reversal is used to correct a prior vasectomy procedure.
- Surgical Removal of Kidney Stones: With surgery, a patient can address a wide range of kidney stones, including calcium stones, cysteine stones, struvite stones and uric stones. Surgery is used to treat patients who experience a kidney stone that is too big to pass on its own, continues to grow, blocks the flow of urine or causes severe pain.
- Incontinence Surgery: Incontinence surgery allows patients to treat stress incontinence, urge incontinence (overactive bladder), overflow incontinence or mixed urinary incontinence. Most incontinence surgery options have high rates of success, and a urologist may recommend incontinence surgery if non-surgical treatments have failed to address urinary incontinence.
- Prostate Biopsy: During a prostate biopsy, a urologist removes a small sample of tissue from the prostate to test for cancer. A prostate biopsy may be requested if a blood test or digital rectal exam indicates a patient may be suffering from prostate cancer.
Prior to performing any of the aforementioned procedures, a urologist meets with a patient and responds to any concerns or questions. A urologist explains the ins and outs of a urological procedure and helps a patient make an informed decision. As a result, a urologist and patient work together to achieve the best-possible results.
Contact the Urologists at La Peer Health Systems in Los Angeles Today
The urologists at La Peer Health Systems in Los Angeles are devoted to patients and help patients in any way they can. Our urologists work with patients to alleviate urological conditions and diseases and provide comprehensive support at all times.
In addition to the diagnosis and treatment of urological conditions and diseases, our urologists perform urological procedures. To find out more about how the urologists at La Peer can help you address bladder, urinary tract or male reproductive system problems, please contact us today at (855) 360-9119 to schedule a consultation.