There are nearly 14,000 urologists in the United States. And every one of them, including the nearly 40 at The Urology Group, has one common goal: to learn more about you so they can recommend the best treatment options.
And you can help that relationship by asking them questions, too.
Urological conditions can present a wide range of symptoms, some of which might not be easily apparent. Men and women, for example, may experience urology health issues differently. Your straightforward questions can cut to a faster, more accurate diagnosis.
Following are five questions anyone visiting a urologist should ask to ensure you get the most out of your appointment time.
5 Questions for Men
- Is there anything I can do to keep my prostate healthy? Yes. Exercise, daily eat more vegetables, don’t smoke, and have your prostate examined by your urologist. The prostate is a small gland that produces a fluid that helps makes semen. As men age, their prostate tissue grows, causing an enlarged prostate (benign prostate hyperplasia, or BPH). Prostate cancer risks also increase at age 50. Your doctor can provide blood screenings and health tips.
- What are normal testosterone levels and how can I learn mine? Generally, a “normal” testosterone level is 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter. But as men age, their bodies produce less testosterone. An easy blood test can measure your levels. Symptoms of low testosterone include a diminished sex drive and erectile dysfunction.
- How long should it take me to start urinating? Less than 11 seconds – that’s the cut-off to determine urine hesitancy. Your urethra runs through the center of your prostate. When prostate tissue becomes enlarged, it can block the passage of urine. If your ability to start urinating slows, ask about it. We also offer an easy online “BPH score” test here.
- I’ve heard kidney stones are painful. How can I prevent them? Drink lots of fluids. Stones typically result from too little liquid, causing an oversaturation of chemicals in the urine, which then form into crystals. Diet also can play a role. An estimated 10% of people will have a kidney stone at some point. Read more here.
- How do I examine my testicles? Men should self-check their testicles once a month, to detect abnormalities. Testicular cancer is not common, but it is much more likely to occur in younger men, typically in their late 20s and early 30s. Our blog on the condition and self-examination offers details.
5 Questions for Women
- What is the “normal” number of times I should pee each day? Generally, up to seven times a day. Peeing more frequently, especially at night, is a common sign of overactive bladder (OAB). This condition affects about 40% of women. Risk factors include childbirth and urinary tract infections, but nerve damage also can be the cause.
- What color should my urine be? The color of your urine reveals much about your health. It can, for example, indicate kidney stones, dehydration, or that you eat a lot of beets. Pale yellow is better. Pay attention to the color over a period of time. This online guide explains more.
- How can I prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs)? Your doctor will advise to stay well hydrated, urinate after sex, and take showers instead of baths. More than half of all women experience a UTI sometime in their lives. The most common symptom is pain and burning while peeing. There are ways to limit your risks, even at different times of year, so ask.
- Should I perform Kegel exercises? The simple answer is “yes.” Childbirth and menopause can weaken a woman’s pelvic muscles, causing incontinence and potentially, prolapse. Pelvic floor exercises, called Kegels, can help – even as a preventive measure. Your urologist can advise on how often to perform them.
- Can anything help with menopausal symptoms I’m experiencing? As women age, their estrogen levels decline, which can cause a lot of issue related to menopause, also known as genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). GSM describes a broad range of symptoms that may include not only genital symptoms (dryness, burning, and irritation), and sexual symptoms (lack of lubrication, discomfort or pain, and impaired function), but also urinary symptoms (urgency, dysuria, and recurrent urinary tract infections). Don’t just live with it. Help is available.
And Your Last Question Should Be ….
Your urologist is there to listen to, diagnose, and treat you. The more information you can provide during your visit, the closer you can get to improved urinary health. So start with questions.
After your doctor’s visit, be sure you understand your next steps. Then ask when you should schedule a follow-up appointment.
If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of a urological condition, including changes in urination, difficulty performing intercourse, or pain in your sides, it might be time to see a urologist. If you’re curious about your symptoms, The Urology Group offers an online symptom checker.