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Common UTI Symptoms and Prevention

GS_UTI BlogUrinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) are common infections that occur within the urinary system. This can include the urethra, bladder, and kidneys. They occur more frequently in women due to a short urethra. In fact, studies show that up to 1 in every 2 women will develop a UTI at least once in their lifetime.

Although UTI’s can occur in men, it is rare. Especially in men under the age of 50, as the male urinary tract has many natural defenses against infection.

Symptoms

UTI symptoms include:

  • Cloudy, dark, or strange-smelling urine
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Frequent urges to urinate, followed by dribbling urine
  • Pain or pressure in your lower back or abdomen
  • Fatigue

If you develop a fever, nausea or chills on top of the above symptoms, then this could be a sign that the infection has reached your kidneys. If this is the case, you should seek medical attention immediately, as kidney infections can pose serious health problems very quickly.

Cause

UTI’s occur when bacteria invades the urethra and travels up into the bladder. When left untreated, these infections can continue on to the kidneys, where serious infection can develop.

Other causes include genetics, such as abnormalities in the urinary tract. Women with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, kidney stones, or who are pregnant are also more susceptible to developing UTI’s.

Treatment

After conducting tests on a urine sample to confirm and identify the bacteria causing the infection, your doctor will prescribe the appropriate antibiotic to treat the UTI. The consumption of fluids (such as cranberry juice) is also important to help flush out the bacteria in your system.

Prevention

The best way for women to prevent a UTI is to pay close attention to hygiene. Because the urethra in women is located close to the anus, it is important to wipe from front to back rather than vice versa to prevent the spread of bacteria. Other habits that will help reduce a woman’s risk of UTI are:

  • Urinating as soon as you feel the urge to go
  • Drink water throughout the day
  • Trade baths for showers
  • Cleanse the genital area before sex
  • Urinate after sex

If you are experiencing symptoms of UTI or suffer from frequent UTI’s, then make an appointment with your doctor today.

  Rolando R. Rivera   Mar 10, 2016   Urinary Tract Infection   Comments Off on Common UTI Symptoms and Prevention   Read More

3 Factors that Cause Male Infertility

GS_3 Factors Male InfertilityFor men looking to enter fatherhood, it is important to know how your health plays a factor in fertility. Male infertility can be caused by a number of different environmental, medical, and lifestyle influences, some of which can be controlled.

Getting a partner pregnant is a marathon for the male sperm, which must be healthy and abundant enough to be carried into the semen and exert the mobility to reach and fertilize the egg.

If you’re a man struggling to get your partner pregnant, then consider these fertility factors:

Medical Factors that Cause Male Infertility

Men who are struggling with male infertility should first consult their doctor. There are a number of health issues that can reduce your odds of producing a child, including (but not limited to):

  • Trouble Performing Sexual Intercourse
    This includes erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, anatomical abnormalities, and even psychological problems.
  • Side Effects of Medication
    Certain medications such as steroids, cancer treatments, and testosterone replacement therapy can produce side effects such as reduced sperm production.
  • Infection
    Infections like epididymitis, orchitis, and certain STD’s can impact sperm production or cause scarring that reduces the size of the sperms’ passageways. It’s important to treat infections immediately, as they can cause permanent testicular damage.
  • Tumors
    Both benign and cancerous tumors as well as their treatments can affect the pituitary glands and male reproductive organs.
  • Testicular Disorders
    This includes undescended testicles and other disorders that create a hormone imbalance within the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands.
  • Prior Surgical Procedures
    Multiple different surgeries can impact male fertility, both intentionally and as a side effect. This includes vasectomies, inguinal hernia repairs, scrotal surgeries, testicular surgeries, large abdominal surgeries, and prostate surgeries.
  • Genetic Defects
    There are a wide range of genetic defects that can impact male fertility, including chromosome defects, Celiac disease and defects of the tubules.
  • Varicocele
    Varicocele causes a swelling of the veins that drain the testicles. This common cause is usually reversible.

Lifestyle Factors that Cause Male Infertility

Just as influential as medical factors, your lifestyle choices can either increase or reduce your sperm count and fertility. It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid addictive habits, such as:

  • Alcohol Abuse
    Drinking alcohol frequently and in high volume lowers testosterone levels and sperm production. These effects can be reversed when you cut down on your alcohol consumption. Three half-pint glasses of alcohol per day should be the limit to avoid side-effects.
  • Smoking Tobacco
    Cigarettes reduce sperm count and damage sperm, among other health hazards.
  • Using Illicit Drugs
    Illicit drugs such as marijuana and cocaine can reduce both the quality and quantity of male sperm.
  • Steroids
    Long-term anabolic steroid use can cause testicles to shrink and dramatically lower sperm production, decreasing fertility and even causing sterility.
  • Obesity
    Severe weight gain can cause a change in hormones that directly impacts your sperm quality.
  • Stress
    Long-term stress can reduce your sperm count by interfering with the hormones needed to produce them.

Environmental Factors that Cause Male Infertility

While the impact of environmental factors may not be immediately obvious, they play a prevalent role in your health, including male fertility. Make sure you avoid these elements both at home and in the workplace:

  • Chemical and Metal Exposure
    Studies have shown benzenes, toluene, xylene, herbicides, pesticides, organic solvents, lead, and other chemical and metal elements can reduce male sperm production.
  • Radiation Exposure
    High doses of radiation can poses several medical concerns, including a permanent reduction in your sperm count.
  • Overheating
    Whether you’re exposed to elevated temperatures or produce them through tight clothing or prolonged exposure to laptops or other heat producing technology placed upon your lap, overheating can temporarily reduce sperm production and quality.

Is Male Infertility Reversible?

Depending on the diagnosis, the effects may be reversible. However, in cases where health factors permanently render a male patient infertile doesn’t mean that assisted reproductive techniques such as in vitro fertilization can’t be used to induce a pregnancy.

If you’re struggling with male infertility, make an appointment with your doctor today. After diagnosing the cause of male infertility, you and your doctor can discuss what options are available to increase fertility or help induce pregnancy through medical procedures.

  Rolando R. Rivera   Mar 10, 2016   Male Infertility   Comments Off on 3 Factors that Cause Male Infertility   Read More

What is Urinary Incontinence and How Do I Prevent It

GS Urology_Urinary IncontinenceEver found yourself struggling to “hold it in?” You sneeze only to cross your legs because you felt a bit of urine leak out involuntarily. If so, you aren’t alone. These are signs of urinary incontinence, a common disorder that prevents you from being able to hold in your urine under pressure.

Those who struggle with this disorder may experience varying degrees of incontinence, from leaking while sneezing, laughing, or feeling pressure on the abdominal muscles, to a sudden need to urinate that is so urgent, it may not allow you to get to the bathroom prior to release.

What Causes Urinary Incontinence?

There are several different types of urinary incontinence. Those types include:

  • Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)
    The most common type of urinary incontinence, SUI is caused by physical stress that affects the pelvic floor muscles. This can happen if the muscles are weakened or stretched.
  • Overflow Incontinence
    This could be caused by a blockage, the bladder muscles’ inability to contract properly, or your body producing more urine than your bladder can contain.
  • Overactive Bladder (OAB)
    OAB affects over 30% of men and 40% of women in the United States alone. It causes you to have the urge to go, even when your bladder may not be full. This is typically caused by the individual’s bladder muscles being too active. For women, it often occurs after menopause or childbirth while for men it typically indicates a prostate issue.
  • Mixed Incontinence (SUI and OAB)
    This is literally a combination of SUI and OAB.

Risk Factors

There are several factors that increases your chances of developing one of these forms of urinary incontinence.

  • Obesity puts additional pressure upon the abdominal muscles, weakening them.
  • Heavy Smoking can lead to the development of a chronic cough that can cause bouts of incontinence.
  • Childbirth or Menopause can cause stress to the abdominal muscles.
  • Certain Diseases, Conditions, or Surgeries can have urinary incontinence as a side effect.
  • Age can also play a factor as the urethra and surrounding muscles weaken with old age.

Treatment and Prevention

Most patients can manage or stop urinary incontinence by making a few lifestyle changes. Kegel exercises specifically strengthen the abdominal muscles, allowing patients to have better bladder control. Cutting out unhealthy habits such as smoking and maintaining a healthy weight can also help.

However, in cases where urinary incontinence cannot be remedied, there are certain vaginal/urethral devices, surgeries, pads, or medicinal or minimally invasive treatments available to help manage the condition.

If you or someone you know is struggling with urinary incontinence, consult your doctor. Our urologists currently service patients across Lee County and Collier County. To make an appointment, simply give us a call at 239-333-3200.

  Rolando R. Rivera   Feb 10, 2016   Urinary Incontinence   Comments Off on What is Urinary Incontinence and How Do I Prevent It   Read More

Recognizing Kidney Stone Symptoms

GS_Kidney Stone Symptoms

Kidney stones, or nephrolithiasis, are crystalized masses of salts and minerals that form within the kidneys and can travel down the urinary tract. These stones develop when a high concentration of these substances are found within a person’s urine.

Over the years, kidney stones have become increasingly common among men and women within the United States. They are considered one of the most common urinary tract disorders, accounting for over 300,000 emergency room visits and over a million healthcare provider visits every year.

Symptoms

There are several symptoms for kidney stones. However, often times you have no idea you have them until they begin their descent into the ureter. The level of pain experienced in passing a kidney stone varies. Larger stones can cause severe pain and require medical attention.

The most common symptoms of kidney stones are:

  • Blood in urine
  • Abdominal, groin, or flank pain
  • Cramping
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Blocked urine flow

Cause

Kidneys are responsible for filtering substances that pass through your body. Kidney stones develop when the balance of fluid, minerals, salts, and other substances becomes heavily concentrated. One of the most common causes of this imbalance is dehydration.

Your risk factor in developing kidney stones can increase based on genetics, family history, and certain medical conditions. If you have a family member who is prone to developing kidney stones, your odds of developing them increases.

Also, once you develop a kidney stone for the first time, you become more prone to developing them again in the future.

Treatment

Typical treatment includes an elevated intake of fluids to flush the stone out of your system. Doctors may prescribe pain medication to alleviate discomfort until the kidney stone passes on its own.

However, larger kidney stones, or stones causing obstruction will require medical intervention. In cases such as these, a lithotripter is used to break the kidney stone down into smaller pieces via shock waves.

Other treatments include surgical methods such as percutaneous nephrolithotomy, or the use of an ureteroscope with extraction via basket or treatment with laser.

Prevention

The best way to avoid developing kidney stones is to keep your body hydrated. Although everyone’s body is different, most humans require an average of 8 to 10 glasses of water per day to function properly. People that make stones should have a voided urine volume of at least 2 liters/day.

Increased consumption of foods or liquids containing Vitamin D, Vitamin C, salt, protein, or high oxalates may also increase your risks of developing kidney stones, as well as high BMI and minimal physical activity.

  Rolando R. Rivera   Feb 01, 2016   Kidney Stones   Comments Off on Recognizing Kidney Stone Symptoms   Read More

4Kscore and PHI: The Blood Tests Doctors Trust

GS_4kscore and PHIThe best way to be proactive in your prostate health is through an annual Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test. You don’t have to be experiencing prostate issues to take this test. PSA testing should be a part of your standard physical, especially in men who are 55 or older.

But what happens if that test comes back elevated? A high PSA can be caused by several different factors and conditions. Cancer isn’t always the answer. In fact, it usually isn’t. Out of the one million prostate biopsies ordered each year, only twenty percent of them confirm signs of life-threatening cancer. However, it is important to identify why your PSA level is elevated. That’s why doctors are turning to PHI and 4Kscore blood tests to help gain insight on what your elevated PSA level means.

What is PHI?

PHI stands for Prostate Health Index. It is a blood test that combines three different tests to detect whether or not a patient has aggressive or benign prostate cancer. A PHI test is typically given to men over the age of fifty.

This blood test is three times more likely to detect prostate cancer than a PSA screening, which is why doctors prefer to recommend a PHI test before conducting more invasive procedures, such as a prostate biopsy.

The lower your PHI is, the better. If your PHI is low, your doctor will simply recommend an increase in checkups to monitor your prostate health. If it is high, the next step would be to conduct a prostate biopsy.

What is 4K?

The 4Kscore test is specifically created to identify signs of the more aggressive form of cancer knowns as high-grade prostate cancer. Like PHI, it is a simple blood test and does not involve any invasive procedures. The test was studied for over a decade by researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who worked with over 22,000 patients to prove its effectiveness.

Warning Signs for Prostate Issues

There are several warning signs to look for when identifying prostate problems. Those symptoms include:

  • Frequent, painful, or difficult urination
  • Blood or semen in urine
  • Dribbling urine
  • Difficulty having erections
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Chronic pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, or upper thighs

While the direct cause of prostate cancer is unknown, there are certain factors that elevate your risks, including age, race/ethnicity, family history, diet, obesity, and smoking.

When Should I See a Urologist?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above or if you’re above the age of fifty and haven’t had an annual physical, then you should call to set an appointment with your doctor.

Gulfshore Urology is the leading urology practice in Florida. You can contact our experienced and friendly team at 239-333-3200 or use our contact form.

  Rolando R. Rivera   Jan 29, 2016   Blood Testing, PSA Testing   Comments Off on 4Kscore and PHI: The Blood Tests Doctors Trust   Read More

What is Peyronie’s Disease?

Peyronie’s DiseaseMen who are experiencing painful erections with a significant bend may be suffering from Peyronie’s Disease. This harmful disease is caused by scar tissue called “plaque” that builds up inside the penis and can cause a side or upward bend, painful erections and in some cases erectile dysfunction.

Some men may be tempted to “wait it out” and hope that the problem corrects itself. There are cases where the body heals itself. However, if left untreated, Peyronie’s Disease can lead to an increased or permanent bend in the penis, which is why it’s important to contact your urologist if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease include:

  1. Penis pain
    Men suffering from Peyronie’s Disease may experience pain during erection, without an erection, or both.
  2. Significant bend in the penis
    Plaque caused by Peyronie’s Disease can cause an upward or sideways bend in the penis.
  3. Internal scar tissue
    Peyronie’s Disease is caused by scar tissue known as “plaque” that can be felt inside the penis. In some cases, you may only notice this while the penis is erect.
  4. Erectile dysfunction
    More severe cases of Peyronie’s Disease can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Cause

While researchers have yet to ascertain a specific cause for Peyronie’s Disease, doctors and researchers have come to believe that it may be a result of:

  1. Acute, chronic or repetitive internal injury or trauma to the penis
    This trauma may or may not be remembered by the patient, as the injury results in internal bleeding within the penis, which then develops plaque as it heals.
  2. An auto-immune disorder
    In some cases, the body’s immune system may be working against the patient, attacking its own cells and organs which can lead to plaque buildup. Patients may notice scars in places like the hand (Dupuytren’s contracture) or suffer recurrent plantar fasciitis.

What doctors do know is that the symptoms of this disease is caused by the plaque. While Peyronie’s Disease is most commonly found in middle-aged men, there is no age range for the diagnosis. It can occur in men both young and old.

Treatment

Peyronie’s Disease is a serious condition that can have long-term effects. Should you be experiencing any of the symptoms above, you should make an appointment with your urologist immediately.

There are treatments available for Peyronie’s Disease, depending on the severity. After your doctor has conducted an evaluation, he or she will determine which treatment is necessary, if any. Treatment can be as simple as a prescription or injections. Patients at Gulfshore Urology have shown significant improvements after taking Xiaflex, a drug produced by Auxilium.

Should these treatments not yield results, surgery may be considered to remove the plaque or alter the tissue opposite of it to counter the bend in the penis. However, this is only in extreme cases in which erectile dysfunction caused by this disease prevents the patient from engaging in sexual activity.

The healing process for Peyronie’s Disease takes time, and usually varies anywhere between six to eighteen months.

Prevention

Currently, there are no preventative measures established to avoid Peyronie’s Disease, as the exact cause is still unknown. However, researchers have found that a healthy, drug-free lifestyle with good diet and nutrition can help reduce your risk as can avoiding vigorous sexual activity that can cause major or microscopic injury to the penis.

  Rolando R. Rivera   Jan 13, 2016   Uncategorized   Comments Off on What is Peyronie’s Disease?   Read More

Is PSA Testing Safe for Healthy Men?

Is PSA Testing Safe for Healthy Men?

Is PSA Testing Safe for Healthy Men?

A good doctor believes in preventative medicine that is proactive—not reactive—to his or her patients’ health. That’s why medical professionals from across the country stood behind PSA Testing when the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) claimed it should be reserved for men who already show symptoms of prostate cancer.

In 2012, USPSTF published a Grade D Recommendation that PSA Screenings should be avoided by healthy men because the psychological harm of a false positive and the possible side effects supposedly outweighed the amount of lives that benefitted from preventative PSA screenings.

USPSTF’s Grade on PSA Testing Received Immediate Backlash

The USPSTF’s D Grade on PSA Testing created an uproar in the medical community. The American Urological Association and individual urologists were first to speak up against the inaccuracy of their claims. One of the leading voices included Dr. William Catalona, MD, who was a pioneer in the research that led to the development of the PSA tests in the first place.

Dr. Catalona pointed out that the decision made by the USPSTF did not include the input of physicians who specialized in urology or oncology. Instead, it was comprised solely of a group of primary care providers whose broad understanding of the medical field did not delve deep enough into specialized areas to make a fair determination.

The USPSTF’s decision was based on the limited data pulled from two large trials that conducted PSA Screenings for prostate cancer. One demonstrated no variation in mortality rate between men who were screened and men who weren’t while the other demonstrated a 29% reduction in mortality rate. That percentage was deemed by the USPSTF to be “too low” to be significant.

Medical Professionals Cite Flaws in USPSTF’s Ruling

Dr. Marc Rendell, MD, of Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska and other nationally recognized medical professionals familiar with the treatment of prostate cancer, cited multiple reasons why USPSTF’s D Grade recommendation was flawed, some of which include:

  • A one-sided approach that failed to factor in procedures and complications that occurred within unscreened patients
  • A lack of consideration of the potential benefits for high-risk populations
  • Factoring their decision based on mortality rates while neglecting the illness associated with living with cancer
  • Making a blanketed recommendation across all age groups, which could potentially increase the number of diagnoses for advanced prostate cancer due to lack of screening
  • Neglecting data beyond the two trials examined that shows significant reductions in mortalities and late-stage diagnoses since PSA screening began

Why Grades Matter

The D Grade poses issues in the fact that it prevents Medicare from covering the service without a copay, which can prevent patients from opting to receive a preventative screening that could catch the early signs of prostate cancer and begin treatment before the cancer escalates.

USPSTF is Now Reevaluating Their Decision

The outcry from a multitude of experts in the field of urology and oncology pushed the USPSTF to re-evaluate their Grade D recommendation on PSA Screenings. The Task Force is going back into the research phase to consider what an overwhelming number of doctors and medical professionals have been saying for many years: that preventative measures taken to detect the early onset of cancer saves lives.

It’s a proven claim. Epidemiologic data neglected in the USPSTF’s original research stated that there’s been a 40% reduction in prostate cancer mortalities and a 75% reduction in diagnosis of late-stage prostate cancer since PSA testing was introduced.

Gulfshore Urology is a southwest Florida based practice that offers PSA Screenings to its patients. For questions regarding PSA Screenings or to schedule an appointment, you can reach their Bonita Springs office at 239-333-3200.

  Rolando R. Rivera   Dec 11, 2015   Prostate Cancer, PSA Testing   Comments Off on Is PSA Testing Safe for Healthy Men?   Read More