For many people, the end of a year is a time to reflect and recognize all the things we take for granted. For many people, good health is at the top of that list.
Your urinary health is an important part of that, although many people don’t think about their urinary tracts until something goes wrong. There is only one way to prevent this: with wellness checks and awareness.
Rather than resolve to start 2023 with all of those necessary exams, why not knock them out before the new year, and start it with an ideally clean bill of health? After all, many urinary conditions are easily preventable and highly treatable if detected early.
3 Ways to Start 2023 on the Right Foot
These preventive tests are designed to detect common, or uncommon, conditions. Some can be performed just once, for peace of mind, but others should be performed regularly.
- Urology exam – This is basically a urologist’s physical of the urinary system, from the bladder to the genitals. Patients should consider checkups with a urologist in their 20s and 30s if experiencing urinary or reproductive issues. Physicians advise that men begin scheduling annual urology exams in their 40s or 50s (based on risk factors), when the chances of developing an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer start to climb.
- What to expect at a urology exam – Patients will be asked to undress and be given a gown to wear. The doctor will look for abnormalities in the urethra, which requires an examination of the penis or vaginal area. Men also can expect the doctor to examine the testicles for growth. Patients shouldn’t feel shy; urologists look at genitals all day. Our focus is on medical abnormalities and care.
- Prostate-specific antigen test (PSA) – A prostate-specific antigen is a protein produced by cancerous and non-cancerous cells in the prostate gland. Cancerous cells tend to produce more of this protein, so if PSA levels are elevated, it could indicate cancer. This blood test measures that protein level.
- What to expect with a PSA test – A PSA is typically the first step of a prostate cancer diagnosis. However, because high PSA levels might signal other conditions, such as an enlarged prostate or a prostate infection, an elevated reading does not always conclude cancer. For a more complete diagnosis, the doctor will combine the PSA with a digital rectal exam – inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel the prostate for bumps and abnormalities. If cancer is suspected, the doctor may advise further tests, a biopsy, or undergoing a second PSA test.
- Urinalysis – If your doctor has ever asked you to pee in a cup, then you’ve had a urinalysis. This common test is designed to detect a range of conditions including urinary tract infections, diabetes, and kidney disease, and it’s also relied upon to track conditions.
- What to expect with a urinalysis – Certain medications can affect the results of a urinalysis, so be sure to tell the physician of any prescriptions, supplements, and vitamins you are taking. Once the sample is submitted, it will be analyzed in a lab visually (for cloudiness or odor); and with a chemical dipstick that reads the presence of substances including acid, protein, and blood. Sometimes, a microscopic exam may be performed to gauge blood cell counts, bacteria, and crystal (a sign of kidney stones).
The Doctor Will See You Now
Rather than start 2023 with promises to better yourself, doesn’t it make more sense to ring out 2022 feeling better? Give yourself, or a loved one, the gift of good health and peace of mind!
If you are experiencing urinary or reproductive issues, or would like to schedule your first (or repeat) urology exam, reach out to us. It takes just a moment to request an appointment on our website.