Tips To Avoid a Visit to the Urologist
According to the statistics reported by National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (1)
– Over 8 million male adults visit urologist clinics per year for prostate related problems (Prostatitis, Prostatic Hyperplasia or Malignancy) in United States (1).
– Over 2.5 million adults see their urologists for bladder related issues like UTI or urinary tract infection, marked by burning urination, increase in the overall frequency and urgency of urination and other similar symptoms.
– About 718,430 male adults consult their physician for urinary incontinence (the prevalence is almost thrice as much in the females for same indication).
Other common causes of visits to urologist clinic include bladder stones, erectile dysfunction, urethral diseases, urinary reflux and cystitis. Urological issues are disabling and can compromise the quality of your life. Moreover, long standing urological infections and complaints can evolve into much bigger health problems like chronic kidney disease, renal failure and cancer.
But, you can definitely avoid your urologist by adopting healthy habits and lifestyle modifications. This consequently will reduce your healthcare cost for ambulatory and non-ambulatory urological care, which according to latest statistics (2) is over $1.6 billion for UTI management alone.
Some Simple Tips To Avoid a Trip to the Urologist:
- Increase Your Water Intake:
Urinary system is highly effective at filtering your blood to excrete toxins, chemicals and nitrogenous waste products via urine. Increasing water intake to at least 2 liters per day is advised by most healthcare providers.
Mere increase in water intake can prevent urinary or renal stones (formed as a result of deposition of minerals or salts due to passage of very concentrated urine). Increase in water intake helps in flushing out the crystals before deposition. Likewise, bacterial and fungal infections can be prevented due to frequent flushing of toxins/ chemicals that may favor bacterial growth.
You should ideally increase your basal water intake in these conditions.
– Hot and humid weather
– After strenuous physical activity
– In acute or chronic illness/ infection
- Control Your Salt Intake:
Intake of excessive salt (via diet) is an important contributing factor for calcium stone formation (Yes- it is not the calcium that cause calcium stones, but sodium from table salt). High sodium intake favors the excessive excretion of calcium that may get precipitated in the form of crystals/ stones.
- Manage Your Chronic Illnesses:
Long standing and poorly managed metabolic or medical health issues like diabetes, hypertension, systemic lupus erythematous and others can affect the integrity of blood vessels and may increase the propensity to develop infections, chronic renal disease and renal failure.
- Control Your Intake of Caffeinated and Alcoholic Beverages:
Alcoholic or caffeinated beverages have a mild diuretic action that may increase the passage of urine (and also increase the risk of intra-cellular dehydration). Intake of caffeine is directly associated with interstitial cystitis and urinary tract infections (3)
Other Helpful Tips Are:
- Maintain optimal hygiene (physical and reproductive). Always wipe front to back in order to prevent contamination of urinary region with fecal matter .
- Sexually active males and females require extra caution in maintaining reproductive hygiene (washing or cleaning after each sexual encounter and use of condoms/ diaphragms to prevent transmission of infectious agents .
- Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in Vitamin C (Broccoli, Berries esp. Cranberries and Citrus fruits) .
- Keep up with annual physical examination to detect any abnormality / ailment at earlier stage .
- Showers are better at reducing the risk of bacterial contamination as compared to baths .
- Reduce your intake of sugars (as both bacteria and fungi rely on sugar substrates for energy generation and multiplication) .
It is good to practice preventive medicine (with the aim to avoid your urologist) but make sure to see a healthcare professional at earliest convenience if you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms for over two days .
– Burning urination (with or without urgency, increased frequency, flank pain, high grade fever with rigors or chills)
– Clouding of urine
– Passage of blood/blood clots/ pus in urine
- Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2010. p. 1359 .
- Friedlander, J. I., Shorter, B., & Moldwin, R. M. (2012). Diet and its role in interstitial cystitis/bladder . pain syndrome (IC/BPS) and comorbid conditions. BJU international, 109(11), 1584-1591.