Urological conditions are more common than you might think—affecting both men and women of all ages. In fact, one in two men and one in three women will experience a urological condition in their lifetime. Dr Erik Goluboff helps us understand five of the most common urological conditions—and how to treat them.
1. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
A UTI occurs when bacteria enter the urinary system and multiply. UTIs are much more common in women than men due to the difference in anatomy—the female urethra is shorter than the male urethra, making it easier for bacteria to travel up the tract and into the bladder. UTIs can cause frequency and urgency of urination, pain or burn with urination, cloudy or bloody urine, and strong pelvic floor muscles. For most people, UTIs can be treated with a round of antibiotics. However, some people are prone to recurrent UTIs and may require long-term treatment with low-dose antibiotics or other medications.
2. Kidney Stones
Kidney stones form when there is an excess of a certain substance in the urine—typically calcium, oxalate, or phosphate. These substances bind together and form crystals that can irritate the kidney and cause pain. The pain from kidney stones is often described as severe and can radiate from the lower back down to the groin. Most kidney stones can be treated with fluids and pain medication, but some may require surgical intervention.
3. Overactive Bladder (OAB)
OAB is a chronic condition that causes frequent urination—more than eight times per day on average. OAB can also cause urgency (a strong need to urinate) and incontinence (leakage of urine). Treatment for OAB typically includes lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeinated beverages and limiting fluid intake before bedtime. Medications are also available to help relax the bladder muscles and reduce urinary frequency. Additionally, physical therapy for the pelvic floor muscles can also be helpful in managing OAB symptoms.
4. Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome (IC/PBS)
IC/PBS is a chronic condition that causes urinary frequency, urgency, and pelvic pain. The pain can vary from person to person—some people experience mild discomfort while others have severe pain that interferes with daily activities. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for IC/PBS, but treatments typically focus on relieving symptoms and may include diet changes, medications, physical therapy, or surgery. Some people find relief with home remedies such as heating pads or stress-relieving techniques such as yoga or meditation. It also important to work with a healthcare provider who has experience treating IC/PBS.
5. Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
ED is a common problem that affects men of all ages—although it becomes more common as men get older. ED is characterized by difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Treatment for ED depends on the underlying cause but may include oral medications, injectable medications, vacuum devices, surgery, or lifestyle changes such as weight loss or exercise.
Urological conditions are more common than you might think—but there’s no need to suffer in silence! If you’re experiencing any urinary frequency, urgency, pelvic pain, or difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection, there are treatments available that can help improve your quality of life.