So, you must have heard through the wisdom-filled grapevine that taking care of your health is a good bet. Getting older doesn't just mean wrinkles, crows feet, and liver spots, it includes tired organs and brittle bones as well. Most of us think that a doctor's visit is due when sickness knocks on our doors, but sometimes we don't recognize the signs of early disease. Other times, a health check-up at least once a year can be life-saving for some individuals, so caution isn't a fool's play.

Amid lectures from your parents or only commercials reminding you of your check-up, have you heard of when you should see a urologist? It's not something that is usually brought up in conversation like a general physician, dentist or optometrist would be talked about, so it's not generally on people's radar. We're here to let you know that if you've noticed these signs, you should probably see a urologist sooner than later.

This isn't to scare you into becoming a hypochondriac, but rather to ensure that caution of unpredictable medical conditions is not a bad call.

  • Erectile dysfunction (ED): this is the inability of a man to gain or maintain an erection. It can not only affect sex lives but can be a cause of mental insecurities and can dim intimacy in a relationship. ED has been linked to medical complications, including vascular diseases, increased blood pressure and kidney (renal) failure.

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  • Lumps or pain in testicles: if you have incessant testicular pain that has not subsided over fourteen days, a doctor's visit is due. You must keep a note of any masses or firmness developing so you can let the doctor know as they examine you. This is a highly cautionary method to rule out testicular cancer, which if found and treated early, can be cured.
  • Urine or bladder abnormalities:

(a) Blood in urine: While dehydration could cause a small amount of blood in your urine, it is also considered to be an early sign of bladder or kidney cancer. Tests that may include an x-ray, CT or a cystoscopy could help rule out potential diseases.

(b) Difficulty urinating: this symptom in an older male is usually due to the enlargement of the prostate. It is an uncomfortable occurrence more than a medical emergency, but only a doctor should confirm this. It can be treated.

(c) Frequent urination or constant urge to urinate: if this leads to incontinence which is the leakage of urine due to loss of bladder control, a doctor should be approached. It does affect one's lifestyle and is quite a common condition that in most cases, can be medically managed.

(d) Painful urination: this is most likely caused by a urinary tract infection, but other factors such as STD's could play a part. A urologist will be able to determine what bacteria is causing the infection and will treat it with appropriate medical measures.

  • Abnormal prostate exam: Important medical advice is usually lost on many. Here's a reminder that men who are over forty years should get a prostate exam at least once a year. Changes in the prostate should be monitored by professionals to detect early prostate cancer, which is cancer with an impressive cure rate if caught early. If the exam reveals firmness, nodules or other abnormalities, a urologist should be on the case.

  • Increases or change in PSA - Prostate-Specific Antigen: This test is a way to be able to detect the early stages of prostate cancer. An average amount of PSA in the bloodstream is low, so when high, the reason should be determined by a urologist.
  • Kidney abnormalities: if an x-ray reveals abnormalities, consider the advice of a urologist. A professional can identify your symptoms with expertise and reliability further diagnosing your condition. The level of severity is vital in most medical cases, if caught early, can be treated for a better outcome. All of the signs mentioned above warrant a visit to a urologist.

You may feel insecure sharing details such as erectile dysfunction or pain when urinating. Still, doctors are sworn to secrecy and helping their patients - nothing more or less. Find a doctor you trust and are comfortable with. Only you can stop something minor from majorly hurting your health. So schedule that urologist appointment!

Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP

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