Are you dealing with pelvic floor issues? If you're experiencing urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction, your pelvic floor likely has something to do with the problem. If that's the case, you'll need to see a urologist to assess and treat the issue.
Does a Urologist Deal with Pelvic Floor?
A urologist is a medical specialist. These doctors diagnose and treat diseases relating to the urinary system. The urinary system's job is to filter toxins from the blood and get rid of waste. The main components of the urinary system include:
Urologists also diagnose and treat health issues affecting the adrenal glands and reproductive organs.
How Does Someone Become a Urologist?
To become a urologist, individuals must first spend four years at university studying for a bachelor's degree in medicine and pass the Medical College Admissions exam to qualify for attending medical school. After earning their way into the program, students will spend five to six years in residency training in the medical and surgical treatment of urologic disease.
After completing their residency, they specialize in a specific field and may choose to earn board certification from the American Board of Urology. They'll then move on to complete a fellowship lasting up to three years.
To qualify as a practicing urologist, the doctor must pass state medical examinations and meet guidelines and criteria issued by the medical board.
A urogynecologist undergoes additional training in gynecology and urology for the medical and surgical treatment of these disorders.
What Health Conditions and Disorders Do Urologists Treat?
Urologists treat common and rare illnesses affecting men and women. Some of these health issues include the following.
- Urinary incontinence
- Urinary tract infections
- Hematuria – Blood in the urine
- Conditions involving the male reproductive system include benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
- Interstitial cystitis (a sore bladder)
- Cancers of the kidneys, bladder, and prostate
- Kidney stones
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Pelvic prolapse
- Congenital urinary tract problems
What Are the Causes of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
The causes of pelvic floor dysfunction are mostly unknown. Some contributing factors doctors are aware of include pushing too hard when going to the bathroom, aging, and trauma to the pelvic region. Pelvic surgery and obesity are also common causes of pelvic problems in men and women.
Millions of people experience pelvic floor dysfunction every year. Pelvic floor dysfunction may co-exist with other conditions due to the pelvic floor's influence on the reproductive and excretory systems during sex and urination. Some of the contributing factors to pelvic floor dysfunction include the following conditions:
According to the American Urogynecologic Society, the pelvic floor muscles can weaken as women age and during menopause.
Prostatitis is an inflammation or infection of the prostate. The prostate is a uniquely male gland located in the pelvic region. The prostate is prone to enlargement in some cases, resulting in benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), where the gland swells, leading to urinary incontinence and the potential for the development of prostate cancer.
Prostatitis can occur due to several causes, including bacterial infection, trauma to the nervous system, or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Erectile dysfunction (ED)
Erectile dysfunction describes a condition where men can't achieve or maintain an erection, even with sexual stimulation. Tension or pain may occur alongside the problem, but that's not always the case. In some instances, it may be a psychological problem. In other cases, ED may occur due to physiological issues.
Male Urinary Dysfunction
This condition involves leaking urine or running to the bathroom, otherwise known as incontinence or bowel and bladder issues.
What Can You Expect During a Visit to the Urologist?
When you visit your Omaha urology specialist, you'll typically make an appointment after being referred by your primary care physician. Before your visit, make a list of the symptoms you're experiencing. As strange as it sounds, you might not remember them all during the consultation with your urologist.
You'll answer the urologists' questions concerning your medical history and the medications you're taking. Your urologist will order tests if they suspect you have pelvic floor issues, using the data to diagnose your condition and plan treatment.
Examples of tests ordered by the urologist include the following:
Urinalysis, Semen Samples, and Bloodwork
Urinalysis, semen samples, and bloodwork tests take place outside of the urology office at a lab. Drink some water before your appointment to ensure you have something to dispense. The doctor may also order ultrasound or CT imaging tests of your pelvis to examine its structure.
Physical exams are different for men and women. The doctor may conduct a rectal exam on men or a pelvic exam for men or women.
Additional Reading: What are Pelvic Floor Disorders? (American Urogynecologic Society)
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