Regular check-ups with a urologist for common urological problems are essential for both men and women.
Conditions that affect the kidneys, prostate, ureters, bladder and urethra can affect anyone, at any age. Crucially, these common health issues – including blood in the urine incontinence, pelvic pain, vaginal prolapse and urinary tract infections – develop over time, becoming more serious and more prevalent as you age.
This is good news, as it means they can be picked up early, and managed effectively.
Some of these conditions are silent, so regular screenings are essential to manage your risk of developing serious urological conditions and diseases. Routine tests and check-ups at your GP’s offices alert doctors to problems that may not be otherwise noticeable.
But some urological conditions are not silent and there are symptoms you should never ignore.
Some urological conditions affect men and women differently. Whereas women may experience urinary incontinence or frequent urinary tract infections, especially as they age, men may have trouble getting or keeping an erection, or struggle with fertility.
Men may also see an elevation or change in their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which can be performed by a GP. You could also notice a testicular mass or persistent pain – these are all early red flags that should be checked by a specialist immediately. Remember, prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in South African men, but it can be difficult to spot in the early stages without expert help.
Depending on the results of your screening tests, your doctor may recommend that you modify your lifestyle habits. Limiting your caffeine intake, for example, can help alleviate irritation in your bladder, while reducing the amount of salt in your diet can help improve the balance between minerals and water in your kidneys.
For more advanced conditions, robotic surgery is a minimally invasive treatment option that can help correct a range of complex urological conditions.
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