I have to admit that when I went to medical school I had never heard of a urologist. I thought I was going to be a pediatrician because I love kids. Then I realized I don’t like sick kids. Even more so, I really, really don’t like sick kids’ parents.
So I stumbled onto urology as a career choice. This has led me to great job satisfaction (I truly love what I do) and even better questions from my friends (“so is it true . . .” ). You get the point.
One question I’m frequently asked is “what age should you start seeing a urologist?” Well that depends. To be honest, I’ve cared for newborn babies and centurions.
Maybe the better question to ask is what are the common conditions we as urologists treat at the various stages of life?
If anything we are about to cover sounds like something you’re struggling with, then maybe it’s time to book an online consultation with a VirtuCare board-certified urologist. Urologists are in high demand but we’re making access pretty darn easy.
Ages 0-18 years old – When Should You See a Urologist?
The most common reason a urologist sees your little bundle of joy is when there’s a problem with the twig and berries (penis and testicles for those not following). Circumcision issues, hypospadias (urethra not at the tip), or undescended testicles are cared for by a urologist.
Sometimes issues are caught in utero during a prenatal ultrasound. Swelling of the kidney (hydronephrosis) is the most common prenatal issue requiring a urologists attention.
Once a child gets to school age we start dealing with potty problems. Bed wetting and UTIs comprise the majority of visits to a pediatric urologist. Luckily most kids “grow out” of these issues but we can provide some suggestions.
Teenagers are really like mini-adults and can start having all the same issues as you and me.
Varicoceles, swollen scrotal veins, usually appear during puberty. Testicular cancer or testicular torsion are two serious conditions of the family jewels that require immediate care. UTIs and STDs start appearing along with the onset of sexual activity (as a parent of a teenager, lord help me).
Ages 18-49 years old – When Should You See a Urologist?
As we settle into adulthood and life starts kicking us in the behind, some urology conditions start appearing more frequently.
Not drinking enough water? Hello kidney stones.
Popped out a kid or two? Hello stress urinary incontinence (bladder leakage with jumping on a trampoline, laughing at your husband)
Added 30 pounds and a case of diabetes? Hello erectile dysfunction (now it’s serious).
This is a very common time for trouble in the bedroom and bathroom to first appear. Visiting with a urologist can provide an immediate solution. However, at VirtuCare we are big believers in preventative medicine as well. Let’s help you understand why these problems have arisen in the first place.
Speaking of prevention, why not consider a no-needle, no-scalpel vasectomy with an expert? The last thing you need is an “ooops” baby 9 months from now.
Ages 50 – 75 years old – When Should You See a Urologist?
When most people think of a urology patient, their mind goes right to a 65 year old man. There’s some truth behind this. Kidney stones, prostate cancer, enlarged prostate (BPH) and ED all peak during this phase of life.
It’s a good idea for all men by age 50 to have a baseline PSA (prostate blood test) and digital rectal exam (sorry my friend) to screen for prostate cancer. Although it is true that most men die with, rather than from prostate cancer, we are seeing a rise in aggressive prostate cancers because we’ve become too lax with screening guidelines.
Women need urologists as well. UTIs have a 2nd peak in incidence after menopause. Overactive bladder symptoms are also more common as a woman ages. And that stress incontinence you ignored in your 30’s and 40’s has only gotten worse (don’t worry there’s an easy fix so just book the appointment already!).
This is also a time to never ignore abnormal bleeding or symptoms that are not improving. Blood in the urine (gross hematuria) can be a sign of bladder or kidney cancer. Even if you see it once, get in with a urologist ASAP. It may be serious.
Women are sometimes misdiagnosed with recurrent bladder infections when they in fact have bladder cancer. Again, if symptoms keep coming back, go see the expert.
Blood from the bottom or the lady business may be a sign of something serious as well. Although you shouldn’t see a urologist for these issues (for the record we are not “butt doctors” and we don’t treat vaginal bleeding), you should contact your primary care doctor immediately for any abnormal bleeding.
Ages 75+ – When Should You See a Urologist?
As you evolve into the “not so golden” years, a urologist might be able to improve any quality of life concerns. Although aggressive cancers should still be ruled out, continuing PSA blood draws and rectal exams at this stage is probably not necessary. If you haven’t had prostate cancer by age 75, it’s unlikely (although not impossible) for it to cause you harm.
Some folks are still interested in “getting busy” in the bedroom at 75 years old. And we say “that’s fantastic!”. It’s certainly a goal of mine. If you need some help beyond the “little blue pill” a urologist is the guide you’re looking for.
Sometimes bladder issues become more serious and even permanent. Surgeries to provide bladder drainage are very common in the elderly. A well-qualified “plumber” can help.
Closing Thoughts – When Should You See a Urologist?
Remember that age is just a number. A urologist can help you with any urological issue at any age.
Now the only issue you may be having is how to see a urologist since we are in high demand.
Have you considered a telemedicine consultation? 50% of urological conditions can be managed via telemedicine and don’t require an in-person physical examination.
We also provide 2nd opinions when you’ve seen a colleague but still have concerns or questions. At VirtuCare we provide concierge services for a fraction of the price. If you need help finding the best surgeon for your condition, we have a strong network of urologists on speed dial across the country.
Don’t rely on Dr. Google. Allow VirtuCare to guide you to the best partner in your healthcare journey.