Urinary problems: When to worry Urinary problems: When to worry

Conditions of the urinary tract require medical attention. Treatment for them varies.

Medical Advisor: Juan Guillermo Velásquez López, urologist, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare

Urinary diseases such as infections, incontinence, hyperplasia and stones can occur in men throughout their lives. However, even if there are no symptoms or warning signs of a potential illness, the general rule is for men to visit their urologist once they turn 40. They should return at age 45 and go annually after 50 to avoid or treat the onset of chronic conditions, especially if they have a family history of prostate cancer.

As urologist Juan Guillermo Velásquez López explains, urinary tract infections are rare in men and hyperplasia is one of the most common benign tumors. He also shares that stones tend to affect the working population, generating high costs for disability payments and hospitalization. To learn more, read on.

Urinary tract infection (UTI)

  • What is it? This is an infection in the urine caused by an obstruction such as hyperplasia (a benign growth of the prostate) or the narrowing of the urethra, which prevents urine from taking its normal path and from exiting the body. This causes waste to remain in the bladder, creating an environment where bacteria can colonize.
  • Types and symptoms: There are two types of UTIs: lower and upper. In lower UTIs, such as with prostatitis and urethritis, symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating, frequent urination, blood in the urine and difficulty completely emptying the bladder. In upper UTIs, such as with pyelonephritis, the previous symptoms can occur along with a fever of over 100.9°F, chills and pain under the ribs, where the kidneys are.
  • What can you do? When these symptoms are present, see your doctor. Along with other tests, your doctor will order a urine culture to determine what type of bacteria is affecting you and to start treatment with the right antibiotics and painkillers.

Stones

  • What are they? They are calcifications (solid masses composed of small crystal-like formations) in the urinary tract that can obstruct or damage kidney function. In general, stones are formed when the urine is concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallize and join together.
  • Types and symptoms: Depending on where they are located, they can be called kidney, ureteral or bladder stones. Symptoms include renal colic, nausea, vomiting, severe discomfort, recurrent urinary tract infections or bleeding.
  • What can you do? Patients should be seen by their doctor, who will order exams. Depending on the case, the stones may be spontaneously passed by the patient, they can be fragmented with a medical procedure or they may be surgically removed. As Juan Guillermo Velásquez indicates, “Patients with any type of stone should drink more than three liters of water with lemon a day, they should avoid consuming salt, dark beverages, potatoes, and nuts, etc.”

Prostate hyperplasia

  • What is it? It is a benign growth on the prostate, whose increase in size can range from 20 to 25 grams. It is caused by old age or, in most cases, it is inherited.
  • Symptoms: Intermittent urination; a weak and thin flow of urine; difficulty urinating; pain, discomfort or an urge to go to the bathroom; increased urinary frequency (more than twice at night); feeling you not having emptied your bladder completely; dripping at the end of urination; blood in the urine or urinary retention.
  • What can you do? Once symptoms appear, see your urologist. Your urologist will order a series of tests and, depending on the results, will prescribe medications to facilitate the urination process by relaxing the prostate or by performing surgery. To prevent hyperplasia, avoid a diet that is rich in fat, having a sedentary lifestyle and do not drink alcohol in excess.

Urinary incontinence

  • What is it? Urinary incontinence is when the bladder loses control. This causes the individual to not be able to hold their urine, producing involuntary urine loss. This is common in men after surgeries that involve the pelvic area and prostate, or among men who with spine injuries.
  • Types and symptoms: Urge urinary incontinence refers to the sudden and intense desire to urinate, followed by involuntary leaking; stress urinary incontinence is when urine escapes from the bladder during physical activity or after exerting yourself; mixed urinary incontinence is a combination of the two previous types; and overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder is full, but due to a lack of sensitivity and control, leaks occur.
  • What can you do? Depending on the case, treatment may include Botox injections, the implant of devices that help control the bladder’s contractions, or an artificial urinary sphincter to close the duct

12 % is the percentage of risk of having kidney stones among between ages 30 and 70.


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