Symptoms and Treatment of Low Testosterone

The level of testosterone hormone in the body naturally declines as a man grows older. In fact, up to 40% of all men aged 45 years and older experience the effects of low testosterone. The symptoms of low testosterone may appear even earlier in some men.

Also called hypogonadism or low-T, low testosterone is characterized by a variety of symptoms such as:

  • Low libido (decreased sex drive)
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Erectile dysfunction (impotence)
  • Reduced testicle size
  • Breast growth in men (gynecomastia)
  • Loss of body and facial hair
  • Muscle weakness
  • Thinning of bones (osteoporosis)
  • Moodiness, irritability and depression
  • Decreased sense of well-being
  • Increased body fat or reduced muscle mass
  • Difficulties in concentration
  • Memory loss and sleep disturbances
  • Decreased hemoglobin level and mild anemia
  • Skin changes such as fine wrinkles
  • Diagnosis of low testosterone

Dr. Amar Raval of Palm Harbor, FLLow-T is diagnosed by measuring the quantity of testosterone in the blood. To clearly assess the level of testosterone, a urologist will request blood tests for both total testosterone and free testosterone. Often, it takes several measurements to confirm that a man has low-T because the levels tend to change throughout the day, with the highest levels occurring in the morning. Testosterone levels are also affected by body mass index (BMI), alcohol consumption, nutrition, age, illness and certain medications. Additional tests for sex hormones such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) may also be requested by the urologist for a better picture.

Treatment of Low Testosterone

If low-T is diagnosed, the missing hormones may be replaced through hormone replacement therapy, restoring the body’s testosterone levels to normal. In some cases, however, particularly when low-T is diagnosed but no troublesome symptoms are noted, the urologist may not administer any treatment.

For men with bothersome symptoms, the therapy is administered to remove the symptoms and associated sexual problems. Testosterone replacement therapy can be given in different forms and the urologist will discuss options with the patient before deciding on the most appropriate method. After the treatment begins, testosterone levels are monitored to ensure the most effective dose is given.

The different ways of administering testosterone include:

  1. Injections – The urologist gives regular injections deep into a muscle (intramuscular injection) every 2-3 weeks to 3 months depending on the type of injection chosen. When appropriate, the urologist may delegate the task of injecting testosterone to a nurse or teach the patient how to self-inject. When done correctly, the injections are not painful.
  2. Testosterone Implants – Cylindrical pellets are inserted into the abdomen, thigh or buttock by the urologist under local anesthetic, once every 3-6 months.
  3. Testosterone Patches – Used every day and applied on different areas of the body, including arms, back, buttocks and abdomen, the patches work similarly to nicotine patches used by people trying to quit smoking. They deliver testosterone hormone gradually through the skin.
  4. Testosterone Gel – These gels are applied to clean dry skin, usually on the arm, shoulder, back or abdomen. They should be applied after showering to prevent the gel from washing off too quickly.

There are several benefits that can be derived from testosterone replacement therapy. They include:

  • Improved sexual function
  • Enhanced mental sharpness
  • Increased bone density and protection against osteoporosis
  • Increased muscle mass and loss of body fat
  • Greater strength and improved physical performance
  • Enhanced mood and better sense of well-being

Are you experiencing any bothersome symptoms and suspect you could be having low testosterone? Speak with your doctor as soon as possible about the problem. You do not have to live with these symptoms when effective treatment is available. For more information about testosterone replacement therapy, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Female Urology Conditions & Treatment—Dr. Jonathan Jay

I am Dr. Jonathan Jay, a board certified urologist with Advanced Urology Institute. While I am board certified in general urology, I also did fellowship in female urology, voiding dysfunction and pelvic floor dysfunction.

Dr. Jonathan Jay of Naples, FLOne of the inevitable consequences of aging in women is urinary problems. With increasing age, the pelvic floor muscles—a group of muscles that support the bladder, vagina and rectum—face the risk of damage. Since these muscles need to relax in order to pass urine well or have smooth bowel movement, their disruption may result in urinary problems, such as incontinence, overactive bladder, pelvic organ prolapse or pelvic floor dysfunction. Tension in these muscles may also lead to pain during sexual intercourse, painful or frequent urination and lower back pain.

Aging and urinary problems

As women age, they may develop and overactive bladder, which means they urinate at all hours and with little warning. Many women suffer from incontinence after childbirth, a condition characterized by unintentional leakage of urine when coughing, sneezing, laughing or jumping. Childbirth may also cause injury to the pelvic floor muscles leading to weak spots in the walls and muscles of the vagina when adjacent organs move from their normal positions resulting in pelvic organ prolapse.

Informed decision-making

Unlike other specialties, such as neurology and oncology, urology offers a range of treatments that deliver great results for these conditions. Actually, most patients do get better after intervention by a urologist.

In fact, one of the reasons I chose this profession is that there are so many ways to help rectify problems and restore normalcy to people’s lives. As a urologist, I get the opportunity to care for patients in their declining years when urologic problems are so common. I care about both their medical and emotional challenges.

As urologists, we have the ability to find your problem when you present with symptoms. Once the problem is identified, we educate you on what you need to do and talk with you about the different treatment options available. I like counseling patients; talking to them about the bigger picture and helping them make informed decisions.

And as we define these problems, educate patients and talk about the different treatment options available, especially the positives and negatives, we help our patients to make choices that they are comfortable with. Still, because we understand that these choices have risks, we ensure that we provide enough information to minimize the risks.

Most urinary problems are not life-threatening, but are quality of life issues. That means that by resolving them, we restore confidence, meaning and hope into our patients’ lives.

What does the treatment involve?

When we make choices for treating urinary problems, we prioritize the least invasive procedures in order to minimize the risks. Typical treatment begins with a physical examination and evaluation followed by a discussion of options such as physical and behavioral therapies–including exercises to build strength in pelvic floor muscles–and reducing water, alcohol and caffeine intake.

As an option for treating overactive bladder, we may recommend nerve therapy, a procedure which involves placing a needle in the ankle to transmit electric stimulation to the nerves that control bladder function. We may also recommend more invasive options for overactive bladder such as Botox injections and an implantable bladder pacemaker.

Depending on the symptoms, we may choose to manage pelvic organ prolapse using silicon or rubber diaphragm called a pessary, which is inserted into the vagina to support the pelvic floor. We may also recommend vaginal medications or muscle injections to help with pelvic floor dysfunction. But if the problem persists or worsens even with these interventions, we may explore surgery as a last resort.

Remarkable outcomes

In urology, we are fortunate that most of the problems are clearly defined, the treatment path is clear, and the results are usually good. At Advanced Urology Institute, we offer everything, from observation, pessaries and medications to surgery. Fortunately, most of our patients do well and get better after we apply minimally invasive procedures.

We understand that many women with urological problems might not know how common and treatable these problems are—a fact that keeps them from seeking proper care. So at AUI, we try to provide information to the public so that people are aware that there are solutions for even the most awkward and uncomfortable urinary problems. For more information on female urology conditions and their treatment, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Ways to Pass Kidney Stones

Kidney stones can be a painful and difficult experience for the many men and women who get them. These stones are hard deposits of minerals that build up in the body and cause blockages in the urinary tract. The blockages can make it very painful and difficult to urinate. In addition to difficulty urinating, the stones can cause nausea as well as pain in the groin and abdomen. Luckily, there are many ways that urologists can help speed up the process.

Quynh-Dao Tonnu, PA-C: Physician Assistant in DeLand, FLFinding the best way to help a patient to pass a kidney stone depends on several factors. Not all patients are the same, and the size and difficulty of their kidney stones vary as well. If the stones are smaller than 5 millimeters, the urologist will want the patient to try and pass them naturally. This is the least invasive way to pass kidney stones, although it may not always be possible. Drinking lots of liquids for frequent urination is the key for this method. Urologists may also recommend movement like bicycling and jumping jacks to help dislodge the stones naturally.

If passing naturally is not an option, then medication may be the next step. Urologists will use some of the same medications that are used to treat an enlarged prostate. Medication like Flomax helps relieve pressure on the urinary tract by relaxing the muscles in the prostate. This allows for easier urine flow and can help the patient pass the stones.

Another treatment option that makes passing stones easier is called shock wave lithotripsy. This treatment uses a machine pressed up against the patient’s body that targets water waves directly at the kidney stones. With as many as 2,500 waves per treatment, these waves break the kidney stones into small, sand-like particles. The sandy remnant is then easily passed during urination.

In some cases, a more invasive treatment may be needed to remove the stones from the body. A surgeon may use a scope fitted with a medical laser to enter the patient’s urinary tract through the penis. They can then use the laser to break the stones up into smaller fragments for easier passing. This method is sure to help pass the stones, but a urologist may prefer to try more natural methods first.

There is no single method to passing kidney stones. What matters most is making the process as fast, safe and pain-free as possible. For more information about kidney stones, visit the Advance Urology Institute website.

Surgical Options for Overactive Bladder

If you feel frequent, sudden urges to urinate that you cannot control, you might be suffering from overactive bladder. This condition can lead to feelings of embarrassment or shame, but it’s a common problem and can be treated in a variety of ways. For many people, overactive bladder can be treated with lifestyle changes such as special diet, weight loss, regularly timed trips to the bathroom, and exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor. Dealing with symptoms by using absorbent pads is also an option.

However, for some people, these methods are not enough to ensure they can live a healthy, fulfilling life. In these situations, surgical intervention is an option to correct overactive bladder problems.

Augmentation Cytoplasty

One of the options for treating overactive bladder is called augmentation cytoplasty. This procedure increases the size of the bladder. The surgeon accomplishes this by removing a small part of the intestine and using it to replace parts of the bladder in order to increase its capacity. For some people, this procedure allows them to resume normal bladder function. For others, the use of a catheter may be necessary for the rest of their life.

Urinary Diversion Surgery

Another surgical treatment option for overactive bladder is urinary diversion surgery. This procedure involves diverting urine from the bladder. One option for bypassing the bladder involves linking the ureters, which normally connect the kidneys to the bladder, to an ostomy bag outside of the body. Another option involves the creation of a new bladder inside of the patient’s body, which means they will be able to continue normal urinary function.

Bladder Removal

Bladder removal surgery, or a cystectomy, is the last resort option for patients with overactive bladder for whom no other treatment has been successful. For men, bladder removal surgery also involves the removal of part of the prostate; for women, it involves removal of the uterus, ovaries and part of the vagina. Because this is a risky procedure that involves multiple organs, it is usually only used for more serious urological conditions such as bladder cancer or birth defects. Removal of the bladder necessitates the use of a urinary diversion such as an ostomy bag or a stoma.

An overactive bladder can be a debilitating condition, but there are many options for treatment. If you are dealing with this issue, the physicians at Advanced Urology Institute are here to help you reach a diagnosis and find a treatment to restore your quality of life.

Prostate Cancer Types of Treatment

Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer men face. According to board certified urologist Dr. Arash Rafiei, “One in nine men will have prostate cancer in their lifetime.” Although somewhat common, not all cancers in the walnut-shaped prostate gland are the same. Every case of prostate cancer is different and affects men differently. Urologists work with their patients to find the most effective treatment option based on each patient’s individual needs.

Dr. Arash Rafiei: Urologist in Orange City, FLUrologists will consider their patient’s health, age, and the type cancer when deciding how to proceed. For some cases, the best treatment is none at all. When a patient has slow growing prostate cancer that is not spreading, a urologist may suggest holding off on treatment while monitoring the growth through routine appointments. The cancer needs to be taken seriously and watched closely, but invasive treatment is not always necessary for the patient’s health.

When treatment for the prostate cancer is needed, there are two main options: radiation and surgery. Both options offer the same level of prostate control and urologists will discuss the pros and cons of each with their patients. For surgical options the urologist may suggest a radical prostatectomy or robotic surgery. Both are well-tested invasive options that produce very good patient outcomes.

Radiation therapy is another common cancer treatment option. The radiation is centered on the prostate to kill cancer cells. The radiation will also kill some healthy cells as well, causing side effects. This is a non-invasive option that, like surgery, has its pros and con that a patient and doctor will want to discuss. Follow-up appointments to determine if the cancer responded to the treatment will also be necessary.

In addition to radiation and surgery, there are also some newer options that can be utilized in prostate cancer treatment. For instance, cryotherapy uses very cold temperatures to kill cancerous tissues and cells in the prostate by freezing them. There are also treatments using intense ultrasound waves centered on the prostate to destroy the cancer cells. These procedures are newer and there is less data on when they are the most effective, but they are options to consider.

All cancer is serious and can be a stressful and frightening prospect. Having a dedicated urologist who will listen and suggest the best treatment for each patient is key to success. Whether the best option is observation, radiation, surgery or a newer procedure, the Advance Urology Institute is a team of dedicated urologists with an array of treatment options for their patients.

What is the best treatment for enlarged prostate?

All men can experience difficulties caused by an enlarging prostate. As Board Certified Urologist Dr. Arash Rafiei says, “All men have prostates, and as we age our prostates enlarge, some more than others.” Yet each man’s situation and health is different. The symptoms of an enlarged prostate will differ greatly between individuals and the best treatment option for one may not be the best option for another.

Urologist in DeLand, FL: Dr. Arash RafieiFor most men, the symptoms of an enlarging prostate include the slowing of their urine stream, pushing to urinate, and having to go to the bathroom frequently. Many men also have the feeling of not fully emptying their bladder after urination. In many cases, men will find that they need to wake up multiple times in the night to go to the bathroom.

Because the symptoms of an enlarging prostate differ for everyone, the first thing a urologist will ask is if the symptoms are bothering the patient. For some men, the symptoms, especially in their early stages, are not a problem. Men may notice that they urinate a little more often. It may also take a bit longer for them to urinate when they do. They may have to get up once or twice at night when they did not have to before. A lot of men see these symptoms as inconveniences that they can adapt to and live easily with. In these cases, the urologist and their patient will just want to continue to watch the situation and may not need to take any action.

For men with more severe prostate enlargement the symptoms may be causing issues that are negatively affecting their lives. In these cases, their urologist may recommend medical therapy. Urologists will recommend medication that will help slow the growth of the prostate and relax the muscles around the bladder. This treatment will help make urination easier for men you have been experiencing difficulties. Slowing prostate growth will also give the patient more time before more invasive treatment options become necessary.

For cases where medication does not produce successful outcomes there are plenty of procedures that can help. One common procedure is a transurethral resection of the prostate. For this procedure a resectoscope in inserted through the tip of the penis and into the urethra. The urologist uses this device to trim away excess tissue on the prostate, relieving pressure on the urethra. This is an outpatient procedure and often helps relieve the patient’s urinary problems.

Another procedure that is new and becoming more common for treating enlarged prostates is Urolift. For this cutting-edge treatment, a urologist separates and lifts the prostate from the urethra using a suture, relieving pressure on the urethra and allowing better urine flow. A plus side to Urolift is that, unlike in a transurethral resection, no prostate tissue is removed allowing for quicker recovery. Most patients return home the same day as the procedure.

Having plenty of treatment options is the key to successfully managing prostate enlargement. The urologists at Advance Urology Institute get to know and understand their patients in order to find the best option for each individual. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

What are the treatment options for erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction is a common disorder that affects men of all ages. It is a man’s inability to get and maintain an erection. There are many different causes of ED and in many cases there is more than one underlying cause. All a urologist needs is a physical exam and a few questions answered in order to diagnose erectile dysfunction in a patient.

Dr. Brian Hale - Urologist at Palm Harbor, FLFor urologists like Dr. Brian Hale, treatment for erectile dysfunction begins with trying three different medications. The medications are generally oral and easy to take. The urologist will monitor the results of the oral drugs with the patient. Very often, at least one of the oral drugs prescribed will resolve the issue. For these cases, the urologist will write a prescription for the drug and continue to monitor its effectiveness through routine appointments.

If the urologist and the patient are unable to find an oral medication that works effectively, there are other options to consider. One possibility is injection therapy. Small injections into the shaft of the penis are used to dilate the penile arteries, helping increase blood flow, causing an erection. For most men who do not see results with the oral medication, injection therapy is their next best option.

For many men, injection therapy can seem a bit overwhelming at first, maybe even frightening. But in reality, the injections are easy to administer and are relatively painless. The urologist and the patient will begin the injection therapy with a teaching session at the urologist’s office. The urologist may use an ultrasound to monitor the reaction of the blood vessels to the injection to help determine the right dosage for the patient. The patient is also taught how to administer the injection on his own.

Patients are generally pleased after they start injection therapy. The teaching session at the office helps the patient see that the injections are not painful and can easily be done at home. It is very rare that a patient cannot do the injection therapy himself. For those who did not respond positively to the oral drugs, injection therapy is an ideal treatment to produce the desired results and overcome the erectile dysfunction.

Treating erectile dysfunction is an important part of a patient’s well being, both personally and within his relationships. The urologists of the Advanced Urology Institute offer many options for treatment and remain committed to finding the best one for each patient. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Talk With Your Doctor About Erectile Dysfunction

The first step in treating erectile dysfunction is talking to your doctor about it. Unfortunately, for many men this can be difficult as erectile dysfunction is often a sensitive subject for those experiencing it. However, the issue is far more common than most men realize. As Chelsea Ferrell , physician assistant, states, “Fifty percent of men over 50 have some degree of erectile dysfunction, so you do not have to be embarrassed to speak to your doctor about it.” Urologists and PAs discuss erectile dysfunction with patients on a daily basis.

Chelsie Ferrell, Physician Assistant at DeLand, FLUrologists can usually diagnose erectile dysfunction during the appointment by asking a few questions about medical history and having a conversation with the patient. Once diagnosed, urologists try to discuss erectile dysfunction with the patient by reassuring him that even in the most severe cases there are still plenty of treatment options available. Because there are so many options available, the decision really is up to the patient working with his urologist to decide the best treatment for a successful outcome in his case.

There are plenty of different treatments available for erectile dysfunction and, in many cases, if one does not work another will. The most common options are pills like Viagra and Cialis, or generic versions of these pills that offer the same effects at a lower price. Others prefer the vacuum erection device. This is a cylindrical pump that the penis goes into and works like a vacuum to draw blood to the area, with a band that goes around the base of the penis to keep the erection.

Many men respond to at least one of these treatments. However, for those who do not there are still plenty of options. The urologist may want to try injection therapy. Men can give themselves small, relatively pain-free injections of a treatment into the base of the penis that will stimulate an erection. If injection treatment does not help, then the urologist may suggest a penile prosthesis. An implant is surgically inserted into the penis attached to a pump in the scrotum that can be used to give the patient an erection. This treatment will correct the patient’s erectile dysfunction for life.

Talking to your doctor about an issue as common as erectile dysfunction does not have to be an uncomfortable experience. And with the many options available now to treat erectile dysfunction, the right option is just a conversation away. Chelsea Ferrell PA at the Advanced Urology Institute is one of the many friendly and intelligent professionals helping patients find their best treatment option. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

The Two Most Common Female Urology Problems

Although it can feel embarrassing to discuss them with your doctor, problems with your kidneys, bladder and other parts of the urinary system are very common and are usually highly treatable. For women, two of the most common problems are urinary tract infections (UTIs) and urinary incontinence.

Urinary Tract Infection

Chelsie Ferrell, PA of DeLand, FLA urinary tract infection is an infection of a part of the urinary system which includes the bladder, kidneys, ureters and urethra. A UTI can occur when bacteria enters the urinary system, usually via the urethra. Symptoms of a UTI include a strong, constant need to urinate, a burning sensation during urination, and urine that is cloudy or pink or red-tinged and has a strong smell. There also may be pain around the pelvis. Although UTIs are usually not serious, if the infection spreads from the bladder into the kidneys, complications can occur. If you are diagnosed with a UTI, your doctor most likely will prescribe antibiotics to help clear up the infection.

UTIS are more common in women than men because women have shorter urethras. There are easy steps you can take to prevent getting a UTI. Drinking plenty of liquids, wiping from front to back after using the restroom, and urinating soon after sexual intercourse are all important preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of developing a UTI.

Incontinence

Urinary incontinence, or the involuntary release of urine, is also a common problem for women, especially those who have given birth or have gone through menopause. These life events weaken the pelvic floor, making muscle control around the bladder more difficult. Incontinence also can be caused by weak or overactive bladder muscles or nerve damage.

Incontinence can vary in severity. For some women, this means only a few drops of urine being released when they cough or laugh. Others may experience a sudden urge to urinate and lose control of their bladders before they have time to get to a restroom. This can cause feelings of embarrassment and keep women from participating in activities they enjoy. Thankfully, urinary incontinence is very treatable. If it is becoming a major nuisance in your life, talk to your doctor about specific treatment steps to permanently help deal with the issue rather than addressing the symptoms.

Although problems with the urinary system can feel embarrassing, it is important to remember that you are not alone and that these issues are treatable. The physicians at Advanced Urology Institute are here to help with any urological issues you may be facing. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Discussing a Sensitive Topic: Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction, also called ED, is the inability for a man to get or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual activity. It is a very personal and sensitive issue that can be difficult to talk about. Although ED is a common issue that affects many men, it can still cause feelings of embarrassment and shame. This makes open conversations, even with a trusted urologist, difficult in some cases.

Dr. Billy Vanasupa of St Augustine, FLA urologist is a doctor who specializes in the urinary tract and male reproductive system. They are the doctor a patient will most likely to go to about his ED. Urologists see countless cases of ED on a regular basis, and to them it is not a major issue at all. However, good urologists understand that ED can be an embarrassing issue for their patients and they immediately begin their visits by creating a comfortable environment where doctor and patient feel at ease discussing it.

One such urologist who works to create a comfortable environment is Dr. Billy Vanasupa. When talking about his approach with patients who see him for ED, Dr. Vanasupa says, “I always try to make my visits light, make some jokes here and there, and make them feel comfortable.” His goal is to make his patients laugh so they are less nervous and feel they can easily talk to him. Dr. Vanasupa removes the stigma of ED so he and his patient can openly discuss this sensitive topic.

Once everyone is comfortable discussing the topic, the urologist will ask background questions like whether the ED occurred slowly or abruptly. The patient will be asked if he has tried any medications. The doctor’s questions are to help determine root causes for the issue and will include asking about diet, alcohol and drug use, and stress factors. Finding possible causes for ED is an important first step in treating it.

The urologist and patient will discuss best treatment options for ED. In many cases, oral medication, possibly along with some minor lifestyle adjustments, will fix the issue and allow healthy men to return to their normal sexual activity. For some men, oral medication does not help. The urologist may suggest injections. Patients will learn in the office how to administer a very low-pain injection at the base of the penis. There are very few cases where neither the oral or injected medication solves the issue.

Outcomes are best when the patient feels comfortable talking to his urologist about sensitive issues. The Advanced Urology Institute has urologists who can treat erectile dysfunction in a way that puts a patient at ease. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.