Talking With Your Doctor About Enlarged Prostate

You are a man and, like most men, you aren’t that comfortable talking about your health. But if you live long enough or desire to live that long, you’ll have to talk about your health with your doctor. And later in life you are likely to have benign prostatic hyperplasia — about 80 percent of men will have BPH in their lifetime — and will need a urologist to either diagnose or confirm that you have the condition and then treat it.

What is BPH?

BPH means the prostate gland has grown so large that it is causing urinary problems. Often, as the gland enlarges, it presses on the urethra, narrowing or blocking it and making it difficult for urine to pass through the tube. Eventually BPH may cause bothersome and embarrassing urinary symptoms that may require specialized treatment.

You should see a urologist when:

  1. You are finding it problematic to start to urinate.
  2. You frequently have a sudden, uncontrollable urge to urinate.
  3. You have dripping or leaking of urine after you urinate.
  4. You have weak, slow or interrupted urine streams.
  5. You urinate frequently, particularly at night.
  6. You experience pain or discomfort or have to strain or push to urinate.
  7. You can’t empty your bladder completely.

Why should you see a urologist?

BPH should be promptly treated by a urologist because it can have adverse effects on your life. The condition can lead to complications such as urinary tract infections, kidney failure or urinary retention. Likewise, BPH may reach a point where you may have to plan every errand, activity or event you are attending around its proximity to a bathroom.

You also should see a urologist if you have a family history of the condition. The doctor will guide you on the actions to take to prevent or manage the condition, helping you avoid complications and make treatment more cost-effective. And since BPH and prostate cancer may have similar symptoms, speaking with your doctor about your symptoms may help you detect a more serious condition earlier.

How should you speak with a urologist?

Most problems brought to urologists are embarrassing. So rest assured that talking about BPH with the doctor is not a shameful, intimidating act but a courageous, lifesaving step. Don’t be reluctant to open up. Be willing to talk freely since the condition has a great prognosis if treatment begins early. Also there is a lot of value speaking with a urologist when the symptoms are still at their mildest stage because only a simple intervention may be needed. It is important to seek help as soon as symptoms begin to occur.

You should come to your appointment prepared with your complete medical history, medications and all the relevant information about your health and the procedures you have had in the past. You also should bring any information about your condition and a list of questions to ask.

Once you’re at the urologist’s office, make sure you are completely honest about the reasons for your appointment. Be open and say you are visiting because of your urinary problems. Honesty will help to prepare you and the entire urology team that will handle the case. It is also critical to talk about all the changes that you have seen in your health.

While treatment for BPH can be as simple as just avoiding alcohol and caffeine, emptying your bladder as completely as you can, or taking prescribed medication to reduce the symptoms, prevent further growth of the prostate or shrink the prostate, your primary focus should be on achieving an improved quality of life after treatment. Ask the urologist about the possible side effects of the potential treatments, the right treatment for you and how comfortable it will be for you moving forward. Whenever possible, seek non-surgical interventions first before you consider surgery.

If the condition can’t be controlled with medication, such as in severe BPH or when you have complications like bladder stones, urinary tract blockages or kidney problems, your doctor may suggest surgery. Various forms of surgery include laser therapy, transurethral prostatic incision, needle ablation or microwave therapy. It is important to speak with your urologist about the different surgical options before you are treated. For more information on diagnosis and treatment of BPH, visit the “Advanced-Urology-Institute‘” site.

Kidney Stone Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

There are a lot of kidney stone cases in Florida, thanks to dehydration from the extremely hot weather and diets that include a lot of tea, meat, salt and other highly rich foods associated with the stones. While about 10 percent of Americans may expect to have a kidney stone at some point in their lives, the likelihood rises to 15 percent for people living in the South. Stones are formed when minerals and other substances found in urine crystallize, usually in people who are dehydrated or don’t consume enough fluids.

Symptoms of kidney stones

At Advanced Urology Institute, we see a lot of patients with kidney stones. A contributing factor is our location in Florida, with its massive heat and humidity which leads to dehydration and, unfortunately, to the formation of these painful stones in the kidneys. The stones commonly present with severe, intense pain — like something is stabbing you — and you can barely walk. Kidney stones are characterized by sharp pains in the side or back as they make their way to the bladder. Most of our female patients usually say the stones are more painful than labor pain. Other symptoms of kidney stones include vomiting, nausea, a constant urge to pass urine and blood in urine.

Pain from kidney stones is often sudden in onset, though it may get severe over a period of hours in some cases. The pain may be either intermittent (colicky) or steady and, depending on the stone’s location as it moves through to the bladder, it may begin in the back or flank area and radiate slowly downward to your inguinal ligament, urethra, bladder, testicles or penis. Urinary or bladder symptoms, such as frequency of urination and painful urination, may occur if the stone is located in the portion of your urethra found within the bladder wall. Not all stones cause pain and some of them are often discovered “incidentally” during pelvic or abdominal X-rays. But in patients who experience pain, they usually describe it as the worst pain they have ever experienced.

Diagnosis of kidney stones

Diagnosis of kidney stones is almost entirely based on the history of passing the stones or on occurrence of a stabbing pain in the side or back. We usually place emphasis on the patient’s clinical signs, familial disorders, presence or absence of any previous renal stones, or physical exam findings. We also perform a urinalysis to check the presence of white cells (pyuria) or blood (hematuria) in urine, a culture of urine to exclude infection, and use the presence of crystals in urine (crystalluria) to help identify the stone type. Patients are often required to strain their urine to obtain the stone for crystallographic analysis. Analyzing kidney stones for their mineral composition helps us understand your future risk and to recommend the right dietary habits and restrictions for preventing stones. But we also do a CT or CAT scan of the pelvic and abdominal area to evaluate the size, location, degree of hydronephrosis and density of the stone, all of which are important in determing how we treat and manage the stones.


When patients complain of symptoms of kidney stones, we usually do physical exams and run tests to confirm that they actually have stones. But we often begin by getting the pain under control and calming the patients, to enable us to discuss with them available treatment options. The pain due to kidney stones is relieved using pain medication, drinking plenty of fluid to prevent dehydration, and ordering bed rest. In many cases once we have assessed that the stones can pass on their own, we allow about 7 days for them to pass spontaneously. In other instances, however, kidney stones may need to be broken down into tiny pieces or to be removed surgically.

At Advanced Urology Institute, we break up kidney stones using such techniques as percutaneous lithotripsy, cystoscopy or extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy. For renal stones less than 2cm in size, we generally treat them using extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy. During the procedure, high-intensity ultrasound (shock-waves) are passed through pouches of water placed on the skin and then directed toward the stone. The waves break the kidney stones into tiny pieces that can pass easily through the ureter. For stones located higher in the ureter or in the bladder, we often use cystoscopy to pull them out or break them up with electric energy or laser. During the procedure, the doctor passes a viewing tube with a crushing device into the ureter or bladder to pull the stone out or break it up with electric energy or laser.

For larger stones, percutaneous nephrolithotomy is a safe and reliable technique. For this procedure, you’ll be given medication to sedate you, then a viewing tube will be inserted through an incision made in your side. Once the stone is reached, it’s broken up using electric energy or ultrasound. In cases where this procedure doesn’t work, particularly when the stones are hard to reach or too large, surgery is often the preferred treatment. Surgery to remove kidney stones is performed under general anesthesia with the doctor making an incision into the side and another into the kidney or ureter to remove the stone. After the stone is removed, the incisions are stitched up.

There are many ways of treating kidney stones and the method chosen usually depends on the experience and judgment of the urologist, together with the patient’s preferences. At AUI, we prioritize the comfort of our patients, so we opt for the least invasive procedures before considering surgery. Want to know more about prevention, diagnosis and treatment of kidney stones? Find more information from the “Advanced Urology Institute” site.