Many men avoid a visit to a urologist because of the ever-present chance that they may undergo a digital prostate exam, which involves a combination of lubricant, anal penetration and awkwardness.
Some men will avoid urologists because of the fear of bad news about their reproductive system. This avoidance is counterproductive, and may actually exacerbate any problems that may already exist.
Urologists are actually a man's best friend when it comes to reproductive health and issues that may affect the urinary system.
What are some of the services that urologists perform?
The prostate performs the function of enabling men to achieve and maintain an erection. Prostate problems can manifest themselves in various forms.
If the prostate becomes swollen because of age or infection, it can disrupt the flow of urine through the urethra. This causes a need to urinate frequently and can be inconvenient and uncomfortable.
Checking for a swollen prostate gland requires a physical inspection of the prostate. If it is found to be swollen, medication can be prescribed to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the swelling.
Checking for prostate cancer is much more minimally invasive, involving a simple blood test to determine the PSA (Protein Specific Antigens) in the blood. A higher than normal PSA level may indicate the presence of prostate cancer. However, diagnostic scans and biopsies are necessary to ensure the presence or absence of cancer.
Sometimes the inability to achieve or maintain an erection may stem from other issues, including disease, psychological disorders, and hormone deficiencies. while urologists may not be able to treat all of the possible causes of erectile dysfunction, they can prescribe medications that can restore function as needed.
Men can become infertile through infection or physical trauma to the testes, where sperm is produced. Urologists can test for low sperm counts through repeated sampling as well as diagnose any possible blockages or infections that may be causing temporary issues.
Conversely, urologists can also provide vasectomies, which make men sterile by choice. This is a relatively benign procedure, requiring only local anesthetics and a small incision. While vasectomies can be reversed, it is more difficult and complicated than the procedure itself.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
Testosterone is the male hormone that produces masculine physical traits such as body hair and deepening of the voice, but it is also necessary for muscle growth, sexual performance, and libido.
While testosterone levels lower naturally with age, they may fall below a healthy level, leading to loss of muscle tone and libido, depression, and other unpleasant effects.
Like PSA levels, testosterone levels can be checked with blood tests. Testosterone tests must be performed in the morning, when the level is naturally at its highest point of the day. Multiple tests must be performed to determine the base level.
If it falls below a certain level for your age, your urologist may suggest TRT. Like all hormone replacement therapies, it is a lifetime commitment, and may cause unpleasant side effects such as mood and skin disorders.
It can also cause existing prostate cancer, which feeds on testosterone, to grow much faster, so careful testing for cancer must be performed before TRT can be considered.
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