Urologists Also Treat Women

Urologists are physicians who specialize in treating the male and female urinary systems, as well as the organs of the male reproductive system. Because men and women can both have problems with their urinary tract systems, many women see urologists for treatment. According to board certified urologist Dr. Howard Epstein, “We usually see women for things like bladder cancer, kidney stones, kidney cancer or incontinence.” Recurring urinary tract infections is another common reason for women to see a urologist.

Although both men and women see urologists, they usually see urologists for different reasons. For instance, women are more prone to urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control which can cause urine leaks. The degree of the severity of incontinence varies on a case-by-case basis. Some women experience urinary leakage when they laugh, cough or exercise. Urinary incontinence is so common in women that at least half of older women experience some degree of it. Urologists can treat incontinence with a wide range of options, including lifestyle changes, medication, devices, and in some cases surgery.

Urinary tract infections Howard Epstein, MD of St Augustine, FL(UTIs) are another issue that brings many women, especially older women, to their urologist’s office. UTIs are another urinary issue that can affect both men and women, but they are far more common in women than men. About half of all women will have a UTI in their lifetimes, while only 1 in 10 men will. UTIs are infections that happen in the bladder or urethra. Symptoms include burning while urinating, frequent urges to urinate, and pain in the lower back and abdomen. Urologists can prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

Kidney stones are another issue for which women seek help from their urologist. These stones, made of salt and mineral deposits in the kidneys, can become lodged in the urinary tract causing a wide range of issues. Symptoms include pain, nausea, vomiting, and even fever. In some cases, the pain can be so severe that some women liken it to childbirth, if not worse. There are several treatment options available for kidney stones, and finding the right one depends on the size and location of the stone. Shock wave lithotripsy can be used as a non-invasive way to break up the stones into small, easily passable pieces. In some cases, more invasive extraction methods might be needed.

All of these urological treatment options, from medications to surgeries, have their side effects. It is important for women to be able to have conversations with their urologist about their health issues and the possible side effects of treatment. For many women with urinary problems, the path to relief begins with a consultation with a urologist at the Advanced Urology Institute.

Different Treatment Options for Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are hard deposits of salts and minerals that form in the kidneys. They are a common and sometimes acutely painful occurrance that affects both men and women. Sometimes these stones can pass from the kidneys and become lodged in the tubes that connect the kidney to the bladder, called ureters. When this happens, kidney stones can become a big problem, causing painful symptoms that may require medical treatment.

Dr. Samuel Lawindy of Daytona Beach, FLAcute kidney stone symptoms include pain, nausea, vomiting and fever. When a patient experiencing an acute kidney stone episode sees their urologist, the first thing the urologist will do is insert a stint into the urethra. This will open it up and take pressure off the kidney, easing any pain that is present. With the pain subdued, the urologist can move on to assessing the kidney stone’s size and location in order to decide the best treatment option.

One of the best and newest treatment options is shock wave lithotripsy. For this treatment, shock waves are used to break the stone, or stones, into small sand-like particles. These much smaller particles are easier for the patient to pass naturally through their urine. Lithotripsy is a non-invasive and relatively pain free treatment option that is generally well tolerated by the patient.

Ureteroscopy is a slightly more invasive option for kidney stones. General anesthesia is used for this procedure in which a urologist uses a long tool inserted into the urethra to find and remove the kidney stone. In cases of larger stones, a laser is used to break up the stone so it can be scooped out with the tool. With this procedure, the urologist can see the stones as they are removed. Since this is a more invasive option than the shock wave lithotripsy, there is a slightly longer recovery time.

For the largest stones that sit inside the kidney, urologists may need to remove them through the patient’s back. Although still minimally invasive, it is the most invasive option listed here. The urologist will enter the kidney through the back and then either break the stone up or pull the whole thing out through the incision. Recovery for this procedure usually involves an overnight stay at the hospital and some mild pain that can be helped with pain medication.

Patients experiencing the pain and discomfort of kidney stones should be reassured that there are several established procedures for removing the stones. Dr. Samuel Lawindy of the Advance Urology Institute knows the importance of finding the right kidney stone treatment for each patient. For more information about kidney stones, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

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.

Fort Myers Office: Working Together For You

Collaboration between medical staff and patients is one of the most important aspects of medical care. Achieving successful outcomes happens when everyone involved works together. Medical offices that create spaces for this to happen are laying the groundwork for the best treatment possible. In describing the medical office he works in, Luis Camacho PA says, “Patients feel they are in a good atmosphere, where they can be treated respectfully.” A place like this is where patients and staff can work together.

Urology offices, like other medical offices, benefit from this collaboration. Each patient has unique needs based on their ailment, medical history, age, and many other factors. In a comfortable atmosphere, patients who feel at ease describing their medical issues can give urologist a clearer picture of their patients’ unique situations and the best approach to treatment. Whether the patient is suffering from problems with their prostate, kidneys, urinary track, erectile dysfunction, or any other issue, working together helps lead to a better outcome.

Luis Camacho PA of Fort Myers, FLFor instance, many men suffer from the negative side effects of an enlarging prostate as they age, and yet the best treatment for this is not the same for every patient. For some, diet and lifestyle adjustments may be all they need to treat their side effects, while some may need medication as well. For men with a more serious issue, their urologist may want to perform a transurethral resection of the prostate. For this procedure, a small device is used to trim away excess tissue from the prostate to shrink its size. There are other options, but what is important is tracking progress with your urologist.

Another common issue that patients and urologists work together on is treating kidney stones. Treatment will be determined by the size of the kidney stones, patient’s health, and pain level. If possible, the urologist may recommend non-invasive options like shock wave lithotripsy where water waves are directed at the stone, breaking it up into small pieces like sand that are easier to pass. For larger, more stubborn stones, the urologist may have to use an invasive option. An example of this would be making a small incision in the patient and inserting a scope to break up the stones.

No matter the issue that brings a patient into a urologist’s office, collaboration between patient and doctor is essential. A comfortable atmosphere, free of judgment, language barriers, or miscommunication is the best start to treatment. The Advance Urology Institute in Fort Myers understands the importance of creating this kind of atmosphere and does so every day.

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.

Kidney Stones: Who is at Risk

Kidney stones are a common medical issue that arises when hard deposits of minerals form in the kidney and can affect the urinary tract. These stones can cause severe pain in the abdomen and groin, nausea, and pain during urination. Kidney stones have no single or set cause. Anyone is at risk of developing kidney stones at some point in life.

Dr. David Harris of Fort Myers, FLAlthough anyone can develop stones, there are certain factors that can indicate who gets them and how they occur. As urologist Dr. David S. Harris states, “There are certain features of a person’s stone history that are predictors to us if they’re going to have more stones.” A patient suffering from kidney stones will want to consult a urologist to see what can be done to limit the chances of developing kidney stones in the future.

A urologist may want to do a urine or blood analysis to see if there are any reasons for a patient to develop kidney stones. A urologist also may want to address some common risk factors for kidney stones. For instance, dehydration is a very common cause of kidney stones. For this reason, people who live in warm climates and are at greater risk of dehydration are also at greater risk of developing kidney stones. A urologist may recommend that someone living in a warm climate like Florida drink plenty of fluids every day.

People with diets high in salt, protein and sugar are also at increased risk of developing kidney stones. Too much salt especially increases the amount of calcium a person’s kidneys must filter, increasing the chances of stone development. Obesity also increases the risk of developing kidney stones, so weight management is something a urologist will strongly recommend if that is a factor.

Beside dehydration and dietary choices, genetics can play an important role in an individual’s risk of developing kidney stones. If someone in your family has kidney stones, then you are more likely to develop them as well. And once you develop kidney stones you are at a greater chance of developing stones in the future. For this reason, in addition to adjustments in water intake and diet, urologists sometimes will recommend medications.

Just because someone has had kidney stones before doesn’t mean they will have to suffer with them the rest of their lives. At the Advanced Urology Institute, doctors work with their patients to find and correct root causes for kidney stones. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Kidney Stones Pain, Symptoms and Treatment

Kidney stone disease is a common issue that affects men and women alike. There are many factors that can be attributed to developing kidney stones. According to Dr. Amar J. Raval, “Kidney stone disease is very prevalent in Florida because of heat and lack of hydration.” The state’s warm climate helps induce sweating and makes it easier to dehydrate, putting people who live there at a higher risk of developing stones.

In addition to climate, there are several other factors that can increase kidney stone likelihood. Family history is one factor. If someone in your family has a history of developing stones, you are at greater risk of developing them as well. Diets high in protein, salt and sugar also increase the risk. Salt especially is known to increase the amount of calcium your kidneys must filter, raising the chances of stone development. Certain conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and urinary tract infections are also known to increase kidney stone risk.

Urologist Dr. Amar Raval of Palm Harbor, FLThere are numerous symptoms associated with kidney stones and they can vary in seriousness and pain level. Doctors often see patients with acute onset pain in the upper abdomen that does not resolve with medication, nausea, fever, chills, difficulty urinating and even blood in the urine. The symptoms of kidney stones may present themselves differently depending on many different factors. It is important to know when something is not right and when it may be best to see a urologist for help.

Luckily for people suffering from kidney stones, there are many treatments doctors can use to help them. Many of the treatments are endoscopic, not requiring incisions and are minimally invasive. For instance, doctors may insert a stint into the urinary tract to allow the patient to pass the stone. Shock waves also can be used to break large stones into smaller more easily passable pieces. The shock wave treatment also is not invasive. Doctors can use lasers to break off a piece of the stone for a biopsy to determine exactly what kind of stone it is and what the best treatment may be.

Consulting a trusted urologist for diagnosis and treatment options for kidney stones is very important. Like many conditions, kidney stone treatment is easiest when caught early. Urologists like Dr. Amar J. Raval at the Advanced Urology Institute help many patients with kidney stones. They are familiar with kidney stone disease as well as the latest medical technology, and can provide the most advanced treatment options for their patients. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Kidney stones: What are the treatment options?

If you’ve been diagnosed or suspect you have kidney stones, you will want to know about your options for treatment right away.

Kidney Stones: What are they?

Kidney stones are technically referred to as renal calculi. They are solid entities formed of different types of crystals. When they become large, they are extremely painful. They are called kidney stones because they usually start forming in the kidneys, but they can develop anywhere along the urinary tract, including

  • kidneys
  • ureter
  • bladder
  • urethra

What Causes Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones have several variations, and they originate for different reasons. Some of the causes are:

  • Calcium. Calcium-based stones are the most common type and somewhat preventable by avoiding high oxalate-rich foods like potato chips, peanuts, chocolate, beets and spinach. Ironically, although some kidney stones form from calcium, getting sufficient calcium in your food can prevent these stones.
  • Uric acid. These kidney stones are found more often in men than women. They develop when the urine becomes too acidic due to a diet high in purines (animal proteins) like fish, shellfish and some meats.
    Struvite. Struvite stones are more often found in women who have urinary tract infections or a kidney infection.
  • Cystine. Cystine stones are less common. They are hereditary and caused by leakage of cystine into the urine from the kidneys.

What Treatment is Available for Kidney Stones?

If the stones don’t go away by passing naturally through the urogenital system, you should contact a urologist for treatment. There are several procedures they can employ to remove the stones. The type of treatment depends on the size of the stones and type of stone.

Here are some treatments your urologist might recommend:

  • Medication: The urologist may prescribe pain medications and/or antibiotics in case of an infection. Other medicines also may be prescribed depending on what type of kidney stone is found, including: allopurinol for uric acid stones; diuretics to avoid calcium stones; sodium citrate or sodium bicarbonate, which makes the urine less acidic; or phosphorus solutions which are found to prevent calcium stones from forming.
  • Modern methods of breaking up the stones like lithotripsy, in which sound waves are employed, so stones are more easily passed.
  • Tunnel surgery is a minimally invasive procedure in which the urologist makes a small incision on your back to retrieve the stones.
  • Ureteroscopy: If a kidney stone is lodged in the bladder or ureter your urologist may use a ureteroscope to retrieve it. In this procedure a thin wire with an attached camera is inserted into the urethra and bladder, and then the stones are retrieved. Stones are examined by a lab to give more insight into the type of stones being formed.

Kidney Stone Prevention

If you are prone to kidney stones, try to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day to increase urine flow. This preventative measure helps flush out the kidneys. Your urologist may prescribe medication to help prevent future types of stones from forming.

If you think you have kidney stones you will want to speak with a qualified doctor to discuss the best methods to prevent and treat them. If you are in Florida, call the Advanced Urology Institute for an appointment with a board certified urologist.

Treating Kidney Stones

Treatment of Kidney Stones

The treatment available for kidney stones varies according to the size and type of kidney stone and its location.

If the stones are small, they probably won’t require invasive treatment and can be passed with hydration and medication like pain relievers and alpha blockers that relax the muscles in your ureter. This is how most kidney stones are resolved.

Dr. Rolando RiveraIf you have large stones, however, your urologist may approach them with more extensive treatment. There are several ways to eliminate them. If you have severe pain, an infection, or your kidney function is threatened, your doctor will want to act quickly. Fortunately, during the 1980s a new approach to getting rid of the stones appeared on the medical scene and quickly replaced surgical removal of the stones. This treatment, called lithotripsy, uses sound waves to break larger kidney stones into tiny pieces so they can be passed during urination. These sound waves are also called high-energy shock waves and are usually implemented from outside the body in what is called “extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy” or ESWL. The procedure takes about 45 minutes to an hour and you may be put under light sedation during treatment.

If the stones are larger and located in the kidney, or if ESWL did not break them down, your urologist may perform surgery to remove them. Your doctor can explain the surgical approach he recommends.

What Causes Kidney Stones?

Calcium phosphate stones are caused by overactive parathyroid glands which are located below your Adam’s apple. When these glands overproduce the parathyroid hormone the result is hyperparathyroidism, resulting in an excess of calcium that may cause kidney stones. Your doctor likely will recommend treatment to stop your parathyroid gland from overproducing the hormone.

Prevention of Kidney Stones

You may lower your risk of kidney stones if you:

  • Drink large amounts of water during the day. If you are in a dry environment or exercise significantly, you may need even more water, drinking enough so your urine looks almost clear.
  • Consume fewer oxalate-rich foods. If your doctor determines you have calcium oxalate stones, he may recommend dietary changes to reduce foods that are high in oxalate, like beets, spinach, sweet potatoes, tea, chocolate, nuts and soy products.
  • Reduce your dietary salt and consumption of animal proteins.

Medications

Medications may help prevent kidney stones, depending on the type of stone. Uric acid stones, calcium stones, cystine stones and struvite stones each require a different plan for prevention.
If you reside in Florida, you are probably not far from an Advanced Urology Institute location. If you are near Naples or Bonita Springs, you may wish to consult with Dr. Rolando Rivera for your kidney stone symptoms and treatment. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

What Causes Kidney Stones

What causes kidney stones? This is a question that Dr. Howard Epstein hears often when he meets patients suffering from the symptoms, pain and problems caused by this common urological condition.

It is important to first know what the kidneys are and what is their normal function. The kidneys are often described as fist-sized, bean-shaped organs. They are located below the ribs, behind the stomach. Their main function is to filter the blood and maintain the proper balance of necessary salt, water and various minerals in the blood. Excess salt and minerals and other wastes are removed and sent to the bladder as urine. The filtered blood is sent to the heart, where it can carry oxygen and necessary nutrition to the rest of the body. Because the kidneys essentially make sure the blood is clean and healthy, they are critical for life.

Dr. Howard EpsteinFor a normal person, the kidneys will filter around 200 quarts of blood each day, and they will remove about two quarts of liquid each day in the form of urine. Since a healthy person of around 160 pounds has only five quarts of blood, that means the blood will flow through the kidneys around 40 times per day.

Of all the various ailments a person can have, kidney stones can be among the most painful. The stones are formed when the kidneys filter out an excessive amount of minerals, such as salt or calcium, and those minerals remain in the kidney long enough to start crystallization. It’s the same kind of process that can create rock candies. Over time, the crystals become larger, forming kidney stones. If they are small, they can often be flushed out (passed out) of the kidneys and the body without creating any problems. But if at any stage they get stuck in the body, they will continue to grow in that spot. The most common spot is in the kidneys, where they first start growing. As they grow, they hinder normal kidney function, reducing the flow of blood and reducing the kidney’s ability to produce and pass urine. A kidney stone can move and completely stop the flow of urine, which is really bad news.

If a person consumes too much salt, too many calcium-containing foods, takes certain medications or drinks far too little water, kidney stones can develop. There is evidence that genetics also can can cause stone-making kidney disorders. The end result can be very painful.

Drinking water every day is essential to good health. The citrate in lemon juice can be beneficial in small amounts. Artificially colored sodas and food, as well as too much coffee, can cause problems because of the types of chemicals that enter the body. The body also gets rid of excess water through perspiration, so it is important to drink enough water to urinate at least four times a day, with an average above that.
Anyone experiencing symptoms such as strong pains in the stomach area or on the side down to the groin should immediately see a doctor. There are numerous problems that can cause excessive side or abdominal pain and it is advisable to see a specialist. If you are concerned about the possibility of having kidney stones, schedule a consultation with Dr. Howard Epstein MD or one of the many highly skilled urologists at an Advanced Urology Institute location near you.