Although there are plenty of men who willingly see their physicians on a regular basis, the stereotype that men are unwilling to visit doctors does have some truth in it. There are numerous reasons why, from fear of what might be discovered to expenses associated with medical care to simply having difficulty with finding enough time. Nonetheless, men who care about their health need to see a doctor at least once a year. But what about penile health? When does a guy need to consider seeing a urologist instead of his primary care provider?
Actually, in many cases, seeing a primary care provider first is a good idea. They can then recommend whether the penis-specific issue is one that requires a visit to the urologist. But in other cases, a man may know that the urologist should be the guy to see.
Reasons to see a urologist
There can be numerous reasons why a man might need to pay a visit to a urologist. For example:
– It hurts to urinate. This may be the sign of a urinary tract infection, a sexually-transmitted infection (STI), or some other problem. Determining the root cause as early as possible is important, as the doctor can recommend the proper course of treatment. The treatment will be more successful if it is started early on.
– Blood is in the urine. This can be caused by any number of things, including a urinary tract infection or a kidney stone. But it can also be an early warning sign of something more serious, such as kidney or bladder cancer. Again, identifying the cause early on increases the chances of successful treatment.
– It’s hard to control the urine. Urinary incontinence can present in many forms. It may be a situation where a man feels a marked increase in the urgency and frequency of urination. It may be difficult to completely empty the bladder. It may mean that a guy urinates before reaching the bathroom, or that some leakage occurs during physical activity or while coughing. Many men are embarrassed to admit they experience incontinence, but talking to a urologist about this is essential.
– There’s pain in the abdomen or lower back. Often pain in one or both of these areas may be a sign of prostatitis, especially if it is accompanied by fever or chills. Prostatitis means a swollen and inflamed prostate, usually due to a bacterial infection, and typically requires antibiotics.
– Pain or lumps in the balls. Lumps or pain can be a sign of an infection, a benign cyst, or, more seriously, testicular cancer. Fortunately, the prognosis for testicular cancer is very good, if it is caught early – which is why seeing a doctor is important.
– Elevated PSAs or kidney issues. If a primary care physician detects elevated Prostate Specific Antigens in a blood test, it could indicate possible prostate cancer. And x-rays indicating problems with the kidneys usually require a urologist’s expertise to evaluate and treat.
– Erectile dysfunction. Many men feel embarrassed or even ashamed to admit that they are having problems with their erections, but they need to overcome that shyness and seek out a urologist. Determining the reason for the problem can help a doctor develop strategies for treating it – and every man wants his erections to work as perfectly as possible.