What is chronic pelvic pain?

Do you feel pain in the lower part of your torso, just between your hips? It is not a pleasant feeling, and you can’t get a good sleep or engage in quality exercise. At times, you have to miss work. It’s the kind of pain that comes and goes—sometimes dull and sometimes sharp—but never resolves. Next thing you know, six months have gone by and yet the pain is still there.

You might be experiencing chronic pelvic pain.

For this condition, you will need a female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery (FPMRS) physician to help you.

At Advanced Urology Institute, we have FPMRS physicians who can help you at our Fort Myers center.

What is chronic pelvic pain?

Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) is a persistent, non-cyclic pain perceived to exist in the pelvis’s structures. Typically, it occurs in the area below the belly button and between the hips. It becomes a medical condition if the pain lasts for at least six months.
Read more about Chronic Pelvic Pain here.

What are the most common bladder issues?

Ladies, do you have bladder problems that keep you from pursuing your goals? Do you want to exercise, work, travel, go out more and not worry about “accidents” happening?

If so, we have the help you need.

Bladder ConditionsAt Advanced Urology Institute, we know that you value your social life and we want you to keep enjoying the things you like doing.

Through our female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery (FPMRS) physicians at our Fort Myers office, we provide effective treatment for bladder issues in a compassionate, personalized, and multidisciplinary way, ensuring a high rate of success and uninterrupted social life.

You may not know it, but bladder problems have treatment options that dramatically improve symptoms from these conditions. With treatment, you will never have to reduce your physical activity or remain in isolation. Instead, regain your freedom and enjoy an improved quality of life. That is why you should see a physician with expertise in urogynecology to receive the specialized attention necessary for a quick and complete recovery.

[continue reading more about bladder conditions here]

Pelvic Organ Prolapse: An Overview

There are awkward conditions, and then there is pelvic organ prolapse. It is uncomfortable, upsetting and embarrassing.

With pelvic organ prolapse (POP), there is a bulge at the opening of your vagina, which occurs because one or more of your pelvic organs has slipped or dropped down from their normal position. The organ can be your womb (uterus), bladder, bowel or the top of your vagina.

How does pelvic organ prolapse occur?

Well, usually, the pelvic organs—the uterus, vagina, bladder, and rectum—are propped and held in place by the muscles and tissues of the pelvic floor. But when these muscles weaken, the pelvic organs drop downwards into or out of the vagina.

[Continue Reading Here]

5 Reasons for Women to See a Urologist

A urologist isn’t just a doctor for men. There are many reasons why a woman would need to see a doctor who treats the urinary system. The urinary system is a collection of organs that involved the kidneys and bladder, as well as the organs involved in the reproductive process.

Here are five common reasons why a woman may need to see a urologist

1. Kidney Stones

When minerals in the urine combine, they can sometimes stick together and create kidney stones that get lodged in the urinary tract. These stones vary in size and create a variety of symptoms. The most common symptoms are pain and difficulty urinating. Some women may also experience fever or chills.

Treatment for kidney stones varies depending on patient and stone type, but urologists have plenty of treatment options on hand. In some cases, drinking lots of water can flush the stones out. In other cases, high-intensity focused ultrasounds can break the stones into smaller, more easily passable pieces.

2. Urinary Tract Infection

Commonly referred to as UTI, this a common infection that many women will develop at some point in their lives. It occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract and cause pain and burning during urination. UTI’s can become serious, so treatment with antibiotics is important.

3. Bladder/Pelvic Prolapse

This painful condition occurs when the bladder begins to drop down into the vagina. There are a few reasons why this may happen. Some women develop this condition after childbirth, but for others it occurs as a part of the aging process. Correcting this problem usually requires surgery performed by a urologist.

4. Bladder Control Problems

Bladder control problems are twice as common for women, and the medical term for these problems is Urinary Incontinence. Urinary incontinence takes many forms. Some women experience dripping when they sneeze, cough or laugh. Some women have an overactive bladder that creates a sudden and urgent need to use the bathroom. No matter what form it takes, women can work with a urologist to find the best treatment, or combination of treatments, to help with their incontinence.

5. Cancer

There are certain cancers for which a woman would be treated by a urologist. These include cancers of the bladder, kidneys or urethra. Lower back pain, pain during urination, and blood in the urine can be signs of one or more of these cancers. Treatment varies depending on the type of cancer, how aggressive it is, and the overall health of the patient.

Women in Florida who need a urologist for treatment of one or more of these problems have many options. The Advance Urology Institute is a team of highly skilled medical professionals who practice at locations throughout the state and with a commitment to achieving the best possible outcomes for their male and female patients. For more information about women’s urological issues, visit the Advance Urology Institute website.

Why Would You Need to See a Urologist

The urinary system is your body’s way of getting rid of urine. If there is something wrong with your urinary system, you may need to see a urologist. A urologist is a doctor trained and certified in treating issues with the many components of the male and female urinary systems and male reproductive organs.

Urologists treat a wide range of urological issues, including problems with the bladder, kidneys or urethra. If you are a man experiencing issues with your reproductive organs—penis, testes, scrotum, and prostate—it is a urologist you will need to see. And for women, issues with the bladder and pelvis are reasons to visit this kind of specialist.

Common bladder problems that send patients to the urologist are kidney blockages, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections (UTIs.) Treatment for these issues vary from patient to patient. For instance, some patients might be able to pass a kidney stone by drinking water and moving around to dislodge it, while others may need a more advanced treatment like a high frequency ultrasound, which is an ultrasound focused on the stone to break it down into smaller, easily passable pieces, similar to sand.

For men’s reproductive health, urologists can treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED). In most cases, this condition is easily treated with oral medication, though in some patients injection therapy may be necessary. Prostate cancer, the most common cancer that affects men, is another reason that men seek out a urologist for treatment. Again, for this issue, treatment varies by diagnosis. While some men’s prostate cancer can be monitored and treated with active surveillance, others may need surgery or chemotherapy depending on the aggressiveness of the cancer.

Women are more likely to see a urologist for bladder problems, often for changes in urination after pregnancy. Pelvic organ prolapse is another potential medical issue for women. Usually caused by age, this is when either the uterus or bladder begins to drop and press into the vagina. A urologist can treat this condition to relieve the discomfort and pain it causes.

Residents of Florida have access to a leading center for the medical specialization of urology with locations throughout the state. The Advanced Urology Institute is an exceptional team of medical professionals who treat their patients’ urological issues with compassion and a commitment to the highest quality care. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

How Does the Bladder Sphincter Work?

The bladder sphincter is made up of two muscles that control the release of urine from the bladder through the urethra. If the bladder were a reservoir, then the bladder sphincter would be the dam that holds back water and controls when it is released. The bladder sphincter is made up of two muscles, the internal and external sphincter muscles.

  • The internal sphincter muscle is located at the opening of the bladder to the urethra. It is a smooth, involuntary muscle. Because of its location, it is also primary muscle prohibiting the release of urine.
  • The external sphincter muscle surrounds the area of the urethra outside the bladder. It is the secondary muscle in control of urine flow. It is made of skeletal muscle and is a voluntary muscle.

Both muscles function in a similar fashion. When one relaxes the voluntary muscle, the involuntary muscle relaxes as well. When these muscles are relaxed, they open up allowing for urine to flow out of the bladder through the urethra and out the body. When these muscles are contracted, they keep urine in the bladder. Given the functions of the bladder sphincter, it is understandable the important role it plays in urinary continence. Damage or weakening of these muscles can also be a main cause for urinary incontinence.

Urinary IncontinenceUrinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control. It is a common yet embarrassing problem. It can be as mild as releasing a small amount of urine when you laugh or sneeze, or as serious as having the urge to urinate come on so strong and fast that you don’t have time to get to a bathroom. Problems with the bladder sphincters can cause several different forms of incontinence.

One form of urge incontinence occurs when the urethra can’t hold back urine in the bladder and the bladder sphincters relax uncontrollably.

Stress urinary incontinence is another common issue. In this case, stress or damage to the sphincters or surrounding muscles can cause urinary incontinence. This is common in women after childbirth, or in men after prostate surgery or radiation therapy. Neurogenic bladder dysfunction occurs when trauma or disease of the central nervous system causes a person to lose control of their bladder sphincter muscles.

Although issues caused by malfunctioning bladder sphincters can be embarrassing, there are a variety of treatment options available. The option that works best–whether it be lifestyle changes, medication, or surgery–depends on the patient and their overall medical history. Urologists work to understand their patient’s unique needs and develop the best plan to treat their bladder problems. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Patient Communication: COVID-19

Coronavirus

Reschedule Appointment if you have Flu Symptoms

For patients who are experiencing flu symptoms: please reschedule your appointment for another time.

Please stay home if you are experiencing flu symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, aching, headache, fatigue, or have recently traveled out of the country or been on a cruise ship. The flu virus can spread very easily from person to person.

For the safety of patients, employees, and physicians, we will be implemented visitor restrictions to our facilities effective Wednesday, March 17th.

Patients who are minors, have disabilities, or need a translator will be allowed 1 companion. All other parties will be asked to wait outside of the facility. Please call to reschedule your appointment today if you are having any of the above stated symptoms. We are happy to reschedule you for a later date without penalty.

Becoming a Physician Assistant with Quynh-Dao Tonnu, PA-C

While certified physician assistants (PA-C) are not the same as American Medical Association board-certified medical doctors, they are competent medical professionals. Physician assistants often go into medicine later in life, having already worked in other occupations.

Quynh-Dao Tonnu, PA-CCertified physician assistants go through a rigorous graduate-level training program that takes more than two years to complete. The degree program must be accredited by both the Committee on Allied Health, Education and Accreditation, and the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant. After successful completion of the academic portions, the graduates must pass the national Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam. The final stages include formal application with the Florida Board of Medicine and completion of 2,000 hours (about one year) of supervised clinical practice.

Physician assistants are important within medical practices because they relieve the physicians of much of the routine workload. They take medical histories and, because of their medical training and experience, they are able to notice when a patient has a special issue the primary physician should be aware of. They can understand medical histories written by other medical professionals and understand their patients’ backgrounds. For example, some fad diets can seriously affect a person’s digestive system, kidneys, urinary tract and bladder. An experienced PA knows when to ask patients if they have been on such diets.

With a solid understanding of pharmaceutical medicine, physician assistants can prescribe medications or recommend that the physician prescribe certain types of medications. PAs also approve prescription refills according to the physician’s practice and standard medical guidelines. If a patient has questions about how and when to take medications, PAs can give that information.

Quynh-Dao Tonnu, PA-C started her post-secondary education at the University of Florida, where she received her BA in Economics in 2005. Later in 2007, she completed a master’s degree at the University of South Florida in Library and Information Science. After that, she worked in hedge fund accounting, which she found interesting but not very personally fulfilling. In 2014, she changed occupations to become a medical assistant. She realized her most fulfilling job experiences involved working with people, so she went back to school and obtained her Physician Assistant degree in 2017. She has been working in urology for three years and is now fully certified. You can meet this talented PA at the Advanced Urology Institute Oxford office. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Prostate Cancer Recurrence: What You Need To Know

Cancer of the prostate affects a small gland that is situated just in front of the rectum and around the base of the urethra in men. It is the most common type of cancer in men, with those over age 50 facing the greatest risk. The good news is that prostate cancer is treatable. Treatment options include surgical removal of the prostate gland, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy. A combination of various treatment methods may be applied for full effect.Sometimes, however, even after treatment has been administered successfully, the prostate cancer returns. This is called a recurrence and it occurs with other types of cancer too.

Causes of Prostate Cancer Recurrence

Prostate cancer can recur for two main reasons.

1. A small clump of cancer cells left behind during the earlier course of treatment can grow into a larger number.

2. The cancer initially was diagnosed as being less advanced than it actually was. For instance, a patient might be diagnosed with cancer that is limited only to the prostate while in fact, the cancer might have advanced to the surrounding lymph nodes.

Diagnosis of Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Dr. Jonathan Jay with patientA major indicator of recurring prostate cancer is a rise in Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels. PSA is a protein produced by the prostate. A PSA test is always conducted as part of the preliminary work in the diagnosis of prostate cancer, whether initial or recurrent. Ideally, after successful treatment, PSA levels should go down and should stay consistently low. If the level starts to rise again, that is a red light that should be followed up with further testing.

Another test, which doctors agree is very effective in checking for recurrent prostate cancer, is the PET/CT imaging scan. Dr. Jonathan Jay, who has an office in Naples, Fl., says the scan is effective because it has the ability to localize the cancer and map out its extent with great accuracy. Treatment of cancer usually depends on being able to tell exactly what part is affected. If this can be done, then it becomes easy to direct treatment at that specific area, which is what a PET/CT imaging scan does.

Treatment of Recurring Prostate Cancer

The form of treatment depends on what was initially administered. The following options are available:

1. If the prostate was surgically removed the first time, radiation therapy may be administered to treat the recurrent cancer;

2. If radiation therapy was administered the first time, a surgical removal of the prostate may be recommended. That decision depends on whether or not the cancer has spread outside of the prostate.

3. Cryotherapy. This treatment involves freezing the cancer cells to kill them.

4. Hormone Therapy. This may be used in combination with other methods. It is also used as a last option when the cancer has spread very far.

The management of recurrent prostate cancer depends on finding the cancer, which most likely would be detected in a post treatment screening. Men who have undergone successful prostate cancer treatment should attend regular screenings after the treatment is finished. Followup screening and checkups are important, and it is important to seek out a comfortable, patient centered treatment center, such as the Advanced Urology Institute. The staff at Advanced Urology Institute is very experienced in working with patients and helping with questions, diagnosis and treatment. They have the knowledge and technology to work with the patient through every step of the process. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website

What Urology Procedures and Treatment are Performed at AUI?

Advanced Urology Institute offers a wide-range of services to prevent, diagnose, treat and care for patients with different urological conditions. Our team of urologists are surgical and medical specialists who treat patients dealing with urinary incontinence, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, sexual dysfunction, premature ejaculation, urethral stones, pelvic floor problems, kidney, prostate and bladder cancer, kidney transplants, vasectomies and traumatic urinary tract injuries. We are involved in the assessment of the structure, function and problems of the prostate, kidney, bladder, testes, penis, urethra and their associated glands.

A typical day at AUI

The consultations each day range from patients with voiding and sexual difficulties to victims of knife and gun violence with injuries to their genitourinary organs. We document and review the medical histories of these patients, order appropriate diagnostic tests, such as the PSA for screening prostate cancer, interpret results of the tests, make accurate diagnosis and develop individualized treatment plans. We typically use a wide range of equipment and instruments, including radiographic (X-ray) machines, MRI scans, CT scans, ultrasounds, fluoroscopes, catheters, cystoscopes, radium emanation tubes, and diathermy machines.

We administer treatment depending on the type of condition, severity of symptoms, area affected and patient preferences. Routinely, we perform brachytherapy, high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), photodynamic therapy, laser-based procedures, extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy, robot-assisted surgery and abdominal, pelvic and retroperitoneal surgery. We also may prescribe medication for certain conditions or recommend lifestyle and behavioral changes to improve treatment outcomes.

Treating kidney and urethral stones

For patients who come to our emergency department with excruciating flank pain or stone-related pain, we usually run various tests to diagnose the stone. A CT scan typically is used to confirm the presence, location and size of the stone. For small stones, patients are often discharged with pain medication and guided on fluid intake and what to do to ensure the stone is seamlessly passed. The patients also are given instructions on what to do with the stone once passed. For instance, we direct patients to bring the stones to AUI for analysis of chemical composition and determination of metabolic risk factors. With that information, we are able to recommend appropriate dietary measures for preventing stone recurrence, such as avoiding excess salt and animal protein and increasing fluid intake. For larger stones, we may opt to use more invasive treatments to break down or remove them from the urinary tract. The treatment approach depends on the type, size and location of the stone.

Prostate procedures

In men, the diagnosis and treatment of prostate-related conditions, such as BPH and prostate cancer, require various procedures. At AUI, we frequently administer the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test to assess if there is a prostate problem in men with urinary symptoms such as pelvic pain, voiding problems and blood in urine. Through PSA screening, we are able to reduce the likelihood of advanced disease and the chances of prostate cancer death. But to maximize the benefits of the test and prevent undue harm, we are always careful to use the test in the right patients and at the right time.

We often use rectal and prostate ultrasound to examine the shape and size of the prostate gland. When a tumor is suspected, we may pass a flexible cystoscope or use CT or MRI scan to assess the nature and extent of the malignancy. To check for abnormal prostate cells or confirm prostate cancer, a prostate biopsy is commonly the go-to procedure. During the procedure, the patient is placed under a local anesthetic. The doctor extracts systematic biopsy cores from the area with the suspicious lesion or growth and sends them to the laboratory for diagnosis. Once BPH or cancer has been confirmed, appropriate treatment such as brachytherapy, TURP (transurethral resection of prostate) or prostatectomy (via laparoscopy or robot-assisted surgery) is set up.

Fertility procedures

At AUI, we see patients with a broad range of fertility issues, including those who want to prevent pregnancy permanently and those who have difficulty becoming pregnant. For men who can’t ejaculate healthy sperm, we offer sperm retrieval procedures like surgical sperm extraction and sperm aspiration to harvest their healthy sperm from the testes. These procedures are usually carefully timed to coincide with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles or with the harvesting of the female partner’s eggs. And for men who can’t ejaculate because of spinal cord injuries and other problems, we offer procedures such as electro-ejaculation or the penile vibratory stimulation. The procedures use electro-stimulation and vibration to prompt ejaculation and enable collection of healthy sperm.

For patients who want to avoid pregnancy, we offer vasectomy and vasectomy reversal procedures. Conducted in the urologist’s office with only a local anesthetic, vasectomy is a quick, safe and effective way in which men can stop getting their partners pregnant. It is generally a permanent sterilization method and offers higher efficacy than tubal ligation performed in women. But for men who change their minds after they have undergone a vasectomy, we offer the reversal procedure as a way to try and restore fertility or to help a smaller fraction of men for whom vasectomy triggers ongoing pain.

Urologic oncology procedures

We have skilled and experienced oncologists at AUI who use a combination of equipment and procedures to diagnose and treat different urologic cancers. At AUI, our medical team offers a comprehensive assessment of all available cancer treatments and their expected outcomes, paving the way for their quick integration in our practice. For that reason, we are often the first cancer center in Florida to adopt the latest innovative cancer treatment and care approaches as soon as they are devised. When making cancer treatment decisions at AUI, urologists typically consider a number of psychological and clinical factors, including type and stage of the cancer, anticipated life expectancy, level of risk, overall health of the patient and personal preferences of the patient.

So whether we are dealing with kidney, prostate or bladder cancer, or with genital and pelvic cancers such as scrotal, penile and urethral malignancies, we ensure that the timing of treatment is just as precise and important as the treatment chosen. In some patients, we may opt for active surveillance (watchful waiting) to delay treatment and avoid related side-effects and risks. But to treat cancer, the options include local topical therapies, genital-preserving surgeries, genital reconstruction surgeries, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or hormone therapy.

Pediatric urology procedures

At AUI, we also offer treatment for a number of childhood conditions, particularly congenital ones. For example, children with undescended testes — where one or both testes haven’t descended into the scrotum — may benefit from our minimally-invasive robotic or laparoscopic procedures to correct the disorder. Surgery is our primary treatment option for most pediatric conditions and the da Vinci robotic surgery and laparoscopic surgery have become the standards of care at AUI. The minimally-invasive approaches are preferred for children because they are generally less painful, come with a shorter hospital stay, and require a shorter recovery time. We also offer circumcision to children in their first few days after birth as an elective procedure to remove the foreskin of the penis.

At Advanced Urology Institute, we offer multidisciplinary, patient-friendly, excellent urology care for our patients. So whether you are interested in seeing a urologist for conditions such as prostatitis, stress incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, recurrent urinary tract infection or urologic cancer, or for procedures like penile implant surgery, vasectomy and cystoscopy, you can rest assured of having a urologist you can trust at AUI. And we are not only focused on innovative, exceptional and superior treatments, services and outcomes, but also satisfactory patient experiences and sound, long-term patient-physician relationships. With our state-of-the-art facilities, advanced equipment, experienced medical professionals and a responsive, compassionate institutional culture, we guarantee top-notch, exceptional care to our patients in an environment where they feel comfortable and treasured.

For more information urological problems and how to prevent, diagnose and treat them, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.