11th February 2020
A urologist is a medical doctor who has undertaken specialist training in diseases related to the male reproductive system and male and female urinary tract. Urologists are also specialists of the genitourinary tract and are therefore responsible for dealing with reproductive health problems.
What do they do?
Urologists help in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions associated with adrenal glands, kidneys, ureters, urethra, prostate, bladder, testicles and penis.
Specifically, in men, urologists tend to treat diseases related to testes, seminal vesicles, prostate, epididymis, and reproductive organ.
When should you visit a urologist?
Patients can visit a urologist if they have or suspect they have one of the following conditions or problems:
Incontinence – Incontinence is a malfunction of the urinary system, which can lead to loss of bladder control. In women, incontinence can be a result of the weakening of muscles of the pelvic floor during pregnancy and childbirth.
UTIs (urinary tract infections) – UTIs tend to occur as a result of a bacterial infection, which might travel from the bowels to the bladder. UTIs can be common in women but rarer in men and usually require investigation, particularly if an individual keeps getting them.
Symptoms of UTIs include:
- Chills and fever
- Abnormal urination
Infertility in males – Damage to the male reproductive tract can lead to several sperm disorders. Patients can see a urologist for the management of their infertility. One of the most common causes of infertility is varicoceles, in which veins beneath the penis become enlarged.
Going to the toilet frequently – Often this is caused by problems with the prostate or the bladder and urethra. Your urologist can advise you as to what investigations are required to find out the cause of your symptoms and then advise on the best treatment plan.
High PSA – A PSA test is used to screen for prostate cancer but this can reveal raised levels that may be due to a number of other conditions e.g large benign prostate, urinary tract infection or prostatitis. Your urologist can advise you on tests to check what may be the cause of your high PSA level.
Blood in the urine – Blood in the urine can often be an early sign of kidney or bladder cancer. Prompt investigation is required with a camera test (cystoscopy) and often either an ultrasound scan or a special CT scan with contrast (dye) to look at the kidneys and pipes (ureters).
Bladder prolapse – This is where there is a shift of organs from their actual position when the tissues of the pelvic floor aren’t powerful enough to keep them in their exact position in the body. This is called organ prolapse. In cases of bladder prolapse, patients should see a urologist instead of a general physician.
Oncology and cancers – Urologists can help with the detection of cancers in kidneys, testicles, prostate gland, bladder, and several other cancers which can affect the urinary and reproductive system in men. Other than the diagnosis, treatment of several cancers which are related to the male reproductive system as prostate cancer and bladder cancer.
Prostate enlargement – BPH or benign prostate hyperplasia is a disease that affects one in every three men over the age of 50. Cell overgrowth in the prostate gland leads to constriction of the urethra, which can result in urination problems.
Prostatitis – A condition where the prostate gland is inflamed or infected, which can cause pain during urination or during ejaculation. It can either be acute or chronic.
Erectile dysfunction – Erectile dysfunction is basically a symptom of some underlying condition in which the penis loses its ability to get sufficiently rigid. Various treatments can be given to treat this but it is also important to treat the underlying cause, as this could be another condition such as diabetes.
Urethral stricture – A stricture or narrowing of the urethra can result in the blockage of urine flowing inside the bladder. Causes of this narrowing can be inflammation, injury, or infection.
Lumps on penis or testicle – Urologists can assess these promptly and advise on treatment. Often they are not serious and treatment can be straightforward.
Foreskin problems – Problems with the foreskin are common and expert advice can be provided to men and boys depending on the exact issue, whether it is the foreskin retracting and not going back or it may be inflamed.
Paediatric urology – With children, it can be hard for parents to know whether any urological issues they have are related simply to their development or if there is perhaps a medical problem. Urologists can help to assess whether frequent bedwetting is perhaps due to an underlying cause such as a UTI, or whether urine retention is physical or perhaps emotional.
How we can help
Many of the patients we see have either had a diagnosis and want quick treatment, or have seen their GP multiple times but are still in discomfort. We can provide quick appointments at times that are convenient for our patients. Whether it is confirming a diagnosis and getting a treatment plan in place, or looking at results more closely to see if something has been overlooked, we ensure that our focus is on our patients at all times.
Based in Essex, our team of consultant urologist surgeons work across East Anglia, with locations to see patients in Colchester and Chelmsford. Across our team, we cover many different specialisms within urology, from oncology to the prostate or taking a broader picture of men’s health.
We understand that urology can be a sensitive subject, but it is an area of medicine just like any other. Our experience will help to provide the care that is needed so our patients can recover and carry on living their lives as normal.