Diagnostic Tools and Urodynamic Testing for Urinary Problems

Donna Irving, APRN of Naples, FLHi, my name is Donna Irving and I am a Nurse Practitioner with Advanced Urology Institute.

I think [with] the tool sets that we use, we have good ways to evaluate just with blood withdrawal, looking at the PSAs [etc.]. Then we have what’s called urodynamic studies, where we can put catheters in people’s bladder and we can actually tell them how well their bladder is working because we have men that will come in and we’ll say “We’re not sure if its your prostate or is it actually your bladder that’s not working”. [With Urodynamic Testing] we can actually measure both of them or we can do the cystoscopies, look up inside their bladder and tell them how big of a prostate that they have, how much is it impinging on their urethra and we can also measure their bladder so that we can tell them if they have a little bit of both, [and] so we’ll know how to treat them afterwards.

Types of Prostate Cancer: What You Need to Know

Prostate cancer is a complex disease. It is not easy to predict how any particular prostate tumor will grow, or how rapidly it will spread to areas outside the prostate. After a prostate cancer diagnosis, your urologist will assess various factors to determine the level of risk associated with the disease. Understanding the risk level—low, intermediate or high—will help you and your doctor make decisions to achieve the best survival rate and quality of life.

Types of prostate cancer

While there are many types of prostate cancers, urologists first divide them into two categories—aggressive and indolent—to begin determining the best treatment.

1. Aggressive prostate cancer

Dr. Scott Sellinger of Tallahassee, FLAggressive prostate cancer is the type that grows rapidly, spreads fairly early, quickly and widely, and causes massive body damage. Since it spreads swiftly via secondary deposits, it quickly becomes advanced stage cancer and is very difficult to treat, particularly during the later stages.

For aggressive high-risk prostate cancer, treatment is most effective when it begins while the tumor is still in its early stages. Without early treatment, the cells of the tumor remain highly active, multiplying rapidly. The tumor grows swiftly, spreads rapidly and causes widespread damage.

2. Indolent prostate cancer

Indolent prostate cancer is the type that grows very slowly and is unlikely to spread to areas outside the prostate. Therefore, it is a low-risk, low-volume tumor that can exist in the prostate for several years without causing significant problems. Even if left untreated, it is unlikely to spread outside the prostate; and if it spreads, it only does so slowly and locally.

How are high-risk and low-risk prostate tumors identified?

If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor will monitor the disease periodically to see if it is growing and spreading. The primary way for monitoring the growth and spread of the tumor is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level in blood. PSA is produced by the prostate and reaches the bloodstream; but larger amounts of PSA in the bloodstream are usually a signal that the prostate is enlarged, infected or malignant.

For instance, the PSA doubling time—the time it takes for a patient’s PSA level to double—predicts how aggressive the cancer is. The faster the PSA level doubles, the more aggressive is the cancer. Likewise, the PSA velocity helps to predict the aggressiveness of a tumor. If the PSA level increases sharply, then the cancer is likely aggressive.

Urologists also use the Gleason score to detect how fast the cancer is growing and spreading. This score is obtained by grading cells in the tumor on the basis of how abnormal or normal the cells look under the microscope. The two most abnormal areas of the tumor are evaluated, each given a score from 1-5, and then the two numbers are added. The higher the score (typically 6 or more), the more aggressive the tumor.

While immediate treatment is called for with aggressive, high-risk tumors, a patient can live with an indolent, low-risk tumor for 20-30 years without the cancer causing any serious effects. For the slow growing tumor, we may recommend observation or a watchful waiting called active surveillance, where we monitor the growth and spread of the tumor without medical intervention.

At Advanced Urology Institute, we offer a wide range of treatment options for prostate cancer, including chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. But before we can recommend any treatment, we try to determine the risk of advanced disease. For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Women have many treatment options for urinary incontinence

Female Urinary Incontinence: Lauren Masters, ARNPMy name is Lauren Masters with Advanced Urology Institute. When we’re looking at urinary incontinence, for example, most women are having some degree of incontinence; whether it be soaking through one (1) pad a day or wearing depends all day long.

Usually we can get someone at a minimum to a 50% improvement. It varies based on your history, your basic demographic and whatever else is going on in your body, but a lot of times we can get you to a good 50% and there are many women we can get to 80-90 [percent] and even a complete resolution of their issues.

Do You Treat People With ED

Well, yes—every day. At Advanced Urology Institute, we treat men with erectile dysfunction (ED) and achieve great results for our patients. Erectile dysfunction is a big issue for men today, regardless of their age. Up to half of all men experience some form of ED in their lifetime, with roughly 10% of men over 40 suffering severe forms of impotence.

What is erectile dysfunction?

Also called impotence, erectile dysfunction is the inability to regularly get or maintain an erection for satisfying sex. In general, an occasional problem should not be a cause for concern. In fact, it is normal to have trouble getting or keeping an erection for up to 20% of sexual encounters. But frequent trouble getting an erection indicates a medical problem. With ED, successful erections either become the exception more than the rule or they never happen.

Treating People with Erectile DysfunctionSome of the causes of ED include:

  • Alcohol use, illicit drug use, or smoking
  • Medications, such as for high blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Blocked blood vessels
  • Scar tissue inside the penis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Anxiety, stress, or depression
  • Emotional or relationship issues

Risk factors for erectile dysfunction include advanced age, diabetes, obesity, depression, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, low testosterone, high cholesterol and smoking.

What does treatment for ED involve?

Erectile dysfunction is a treatable condition. At Advanced Urology Institute, we offer several treatment options, generally beginning with the least invasive approach. We also give lifestyle advice that may help with overcoming the condition.

For instance, if your ED is due to inactivity, obesity, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, we may recommend you engage in regular aerobic exercise to help reduce the symptoms. We may also recommend you quit smoking, minimize your alcohol intake and follow a healthy diet.

Treatments for ED include:

1. Phosphodiesterase type-5 (PDE5) inhibitors

PDE-5 medications are typically the first line of treatment we recommend for men with ED. They include Stendra (avanafil), Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), and Levitra or Staxyn (vardenafil).

These oral medications work in a similar manner to boost the level of cGMP—a natural chemical in the body that promotes the widening of blood vessels following sexual arousal. In turn, more blood reaches the penis.

At the same time, these medicines enhance the relaxation of muscles of the penis in response to stimulation, hence increasing blood flow to the penis and allowing an erection.

2. Creams and injections

Sometimes we prescribe a topical Alprostadil cream as an alternative to the oral medications. The cream comes with a plunger and is applied to the tip of the penis and the surrounding skin 5-30 minutes before having sex.

At other times, we may prescribe penile injections as a treatment for ED. That is, we teach you how to inject a medicine at the base of your penis 5-20 minutes before sexual intercourse. After the injection, there will be increased blood flow to your penis and an erection will develop within 15 minutes.

3. Penis pumps (vacuum devices)

A penis pump (vacuum erection pump) is a tube that fits over the penis. A plastic container is placed over the penis and the pump draws air from the container to create a vacuum. The change in air pressure when the device is used causes blood to be drawn into the penis and triggers an erection.

Once the vacuum creates an erection, the retaining band is slid down the lower end of the penis and the pump is removed. An erection will typically last long enough for intercourse but the penis may be cold to the touch, and the rubber band may restrict ejaculation.

4. Penile implant (surgery)

We generally recommend surgery only when all other treatment options are not successful or not well tolerated. If that is the case, a penile implant (prosthesis) may help in achieving erections.

A penile implant is a medical device surgically placed into a penis to mimic the look and performance of a natural erection. The prosthesis involves an inflatable rod inserted in the middle of the penis, with a pump hidden in the scrotum. The pump is used to inflate the rod, which in turn causes an erection.

Penis pumps are custom-fit to your anatomy in a procedure that is performed carefully to ensure that the sensitivity of the penis and your ability to ejaculate are not adversely affected, allowing you to have a normal orgasm and great sexual encounters.

At Advanced Urology Institute, we recognize that erectile dysfunction is a common but very sensitive issue. That is why we provide a compassionate, patient-friendly approach to ED treatment to help men tackle it as soon as it starts. And because ED may also be a sign of a more serious medical condition, we encourage you to speak with a urologist as soon as possible to help you address the underlying condition and find the best treatment option.

Remember, the sooner you speak with your doctor about ED, the sooner you can go back to enjoying physical intimacy with your significant other. For more information about the diagnosis and treatment of erectile dysfunction, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Robotic Technology in Urology – Dr. Shaw Zhou

Shaw Zhou, MD of St Petersburg, FL

My name is Shaw Zhou, I am with Advanced Urology Institute.

Robotic surgery is truly precise, for example, the magnify [goes] up to ten times so the doctor can see better and if your doctor has a hand tremor [it’s still] very steady. You got four arms instead of two arms, so you have two arms to grab for you and so on and so forth. And you have three dimensional [view], you can see much better. The traditional labs got surgical screens which are two dimensional so you don’t have that sense of depth. However the drawback is first of all, the doctor sits 10 feet away, so God forbid if something happened, your doctor will have to go in, wash your hands and you are not by your patient

Also you lose the tactile sensation, cause you don’t feel it no more. When you tie a knot or whatever you know, the tactile sensor feed gives how much force you use now, [before] it’s purely by experience. Although the new robot that we’re talking about that has tactile sensationin other words you can visually see it. They see how much force [is needed] if its red or green. So it’s getting better and better, eventually new robots keep on coming out but in the future I think we can overcome all these shortcomings for robot surgery.

Are Medications Effective in Treating Erectile Dysfunction – Dr. Yaser Bassel

My name is Yaser Bassel, I am a board-certified urologist with Advanced Urology Institute.

I would say the vast majority of them, especially if they have not tried medications prior to them being seen in our office, probably 70-80 percent of those men will at least have a response to the medication oftentimes enough to basically be satisfactory to the patient or make them pleased with the way the medication is working. So most of them would actually get a good response to the medication.

Are there other treatment options for ED?

As far as what we have available to us now and what’s on the forefront, [for] those patients that do not want medication there are some newer technologies that are available that utilize shockwave energy to try and create newer vascularity in order to get a better response for that medication and that is something that’s basically come out over the past couple of years that we are starting to utilize in our practice. For those that do not respond to medication and still want to have treatment, the next step oftentimes [is] performing a test called a Penile Doppler where we will inject the penis with a vasoactive medication which will then initiate an erection so that we can measure blood flow and also measure for a venous leak which are two reasons why patients can have issues with erectile dysfunction.

What Urology Procedures Are Performed in Our Naples Office?

I’m Rolando Rivera, I am board-certified in urology and female public medicine and reconstructive surgery with Advanced Urology Institute.

So the surgery center is designed for primary outpatient interventions that are fairly uncomplicated, so we do do a fair amount of things at the surgery center. We do our prostate procedures…Urolift, we do a fair amount of those. Simple reconstructive procedures [such as] public reconstructive surgeries, stone disease, those kinds of things [and] the more complex reconstructive surgeries that require specific equipment like I do robotic surgery for prolapse, that is a hospital procedure.

Spanish Speaking Urologists at Fort Myers, FL

Luis Camacho, PA of Fort Myers, FLMy name is Luis Camacho. I am with Advanced Urology Institute. Dr Harris and I serve patients who speak Spanish. Spanish is my mother tongue and we want patients to feel comfortable in their own language. Sometimes, there are communication issues and when we speak our main language, we communicate better. Patients feel more comfortable. Our goal is to reach a bigger Hispanic audience so we can offer them a proper service for any urological condition they might have. Regardless if there are prostate problems, erection problems, [or] kidney stones, there are a lot of treatments we can provide in this field.

Urinary Incontinence in Women

The loss of bladder control known as Urinary Incontinence is a normal problem that is more common in women than men. The effects of urinary incontinence range from barely noticeable to severe. As Dr. Amar Raval from the Advance Urology Institute says, “It is a big issue for women out in public.” Incontinence can cause difficult and embarrassing situations.

There are many causes of urinary incontinence. To understand these causes, it is important to remember that urinary incontinence is a symptom, not a disease. Lifestyle choices that can exacerbate the problem include consuming alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods and certain medications. For women, life events that affect women’s bodies in a way that can cause incontinence include pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and aging. Other causes can be found in weight, family history and health.

Dr. Amar Raval of Palm Harbor, FLThe different types of urinary incontinence can exhibit a variety of symptoms. Stress incontinence is characterized by small leaks of urine due to pressure on the bladder while laughing, coughing, sneezing or exerting oneself. The small leaks of overflow incontinence happen when the bladder has not fully emptied during urination. Urge incontinence is the sudden and intense urge to urinate, sometimes resulting in an involuntary loss of urine. Having to urinate frequently through the night is another symptom experienced by women with urge incontinence. It is also common for women to be affected by more than one of these types of incontinence.

Fortunately, a wide range of treatment options is available. Women can work with their urologist to find the best treatment option for their individual situation. In some cases, treatment can be as easy as making slight lifestyle changes or taking an oral medication. Botox and acupuncture can help relieve stress incontinence. For more advanced cases, urethral slings can ease symptoms by lifting the urethra into a normal position, and robotic surgeries can lift the bladder in cases of incontinence caused by a prolapse.

The loss of bladder control can be a lifestyle limiting problem for women when it affects their ability to leave the house and maintain normal activities. The urologists at the Advance Urology Institute work closely with each patient to ensure they can live with freedom and confidence, and without the worries of incontinence. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

UroLift Procedure for BPH

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) can be described as the blockage of urine as it tries to flow from the bladder, through the urethra, and out of the body. It occurs when an enlarged prostate begins to pinch the urethra, which is the tube that urine flows through as it leaves the bladder. The result is difficulty urinating, weak urine streams, and frequent urgent needs to urinate. BPH is the most common prostate problem faced by men over 50.

Dr. David Harris of Fort Myers, FLFortunately for men who suffer from BPH, medical progress is on their side. According to Dr. David S. Harris, “We now have new tools and less invasive ways of treating guys with blockage.” One of the tools he is referring to is called UroLift. This clever cutting-edge procedure is changing the way the condition is treated and how men live post-BPH.

Before UroLift, in order to open the channel in the urethra a scope would be inserted through the penis to cut and remove tissue from the blocked channel. In other instances, urologists would use a heat method to destroy prostate tissue. Although this procedure would decrease the size of the prostate to relieve pressure on the channel, it required general anesthesia and resulted in a great deal of irritation and inflammation, as well a long recovery time.

UroLift has replaced these invasive procedures. UroLift is a small implant that is placed in the urethra and compresses the tissue that is causing the blockage, opening the channel for the flow of urine. This new implant dramatically improves the strength of urine flow. It also helps create normal patterns of urination, thereby stopping the frequent, strong urges to urinate. It brings men back to normal.

The UroLift procedure is minimally invasive and is well tolerated by patients. Another huge benefit is that UroLift has far fewer side effects than previous BPH procedures. One of the main negative side effects of previous BPH treatments was that they caused sexual problems by affecting a man’s ability to get and maintain an erection for intercourse. Thanks to UroLift, sexually active men do not have to choose between their sex lives and treating their BPH.

UroLift may be the best option for men who wish to take back their lives from the symptoms of BPH without resorting to an invasive procedure. Make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. David Harris or one of the many board certified urology specialists at Advanced Urology Insitute to find out if Urolift will work for you. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Insitute website.