Generally speaking, men are reluctant to visit the doctor. In fact, a survey by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicated that 26 percent of men had made no office visits to a doctor or medical professional in the previous 12 months — compared with just 13 percent of women.
That lack of medical attention can result in long-term problems — which is one of the issues that Men’s Health Week was created to address. During this nationally recognized time, individuals, families, communities and others work to promote healthy living and encourage early detection and treatment of disease.
And since a recent American Cancer Society study showed that prostate cancer will be the most commonly diagnosed cancer for men in 2014, your urologist can play an important role.
Routine check ups should be completed through your primary care physician. However, you could be referred to a urologist due to one of the following conditions.
1. Abnormal PSA test: A PSA test screens for prostate cancer by measuring the level of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. An abnormal or elevated PSA test should receive immediate follow-up.
2. Hematuria: Hematuria means the presence of blood in urine and can be caused by a number of potentially serious conditions including bladder cancer, kidney cancer, urinary tract infections and stones.
3. Kidney stones: A key symptom of kidney stones is severe pain in the lower stomach, side of the back, groin or testicles. Left untreated, stones can wreak havoc on the kidneys and cause permanent, lasting damage.
4. Enlarged prostate: As men age, their prostates tend to grow larger. If the prostate grows too large it puts pressure on the urethra and can obstruct urine flow. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH can cause many symptoms including an urge to urinate often, weak urine flow and pain in the lower back, pelvis or thighs.
The other important part of Men’s Health Week is simply getting men to talk about their health concerns. If you have questions regarding your urinary or genital tract health, talk to your doctor or schedule an appointment today.