Should Women See a Urologist?

Urologists treat urinary tract problems in both men and women.

“We see women for any and all symptoms in the pelvis or urinary tract,” says Michael Lasser, M.D., urologist and medical director of robotic surgery at JFK Medical Center. “Most of the things that urologists treat, such as kidney stones or cancer, can occur in both men and women. And then there are conditions like pelvic organ prolapse that we only see in women.” 908-755-7855

Women: Here are 6 Ways You Can Jumpstart Your Health

Here are five of the most common reasons a woman might go to a urologist:  Jumpstart Your Health

  1. Kidney Stones – Kidney stones are small, hard deposits of mineral and salts that can form inside your kidneys. They can cause severe pain in your side and lower back, blood in your urine and nausea or vomiting. Other symptoms include pain or burning during urination and fever.
  2. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) – UTIs occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract and are more common in women than in men. Symptoms include pain or burning when urinating, frequent urination, urine that looks cloudy, red or bright pink and a fever.
  3. Kidney or Bladder Cancers – These cancers are often found incidentally, says Dr. Lasser. “People might get a CT scan for appendicitis or a gallbladder issue, and we find a tumor that otherwise is asymptomatic and very treatable,” he says. When symptoms do occur, they can be blood in the urine or symptoms similar to those from UTIs or kidney stones.
  4. Urinary Incontinence – Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control and is more common in women than men. Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause can all affect the urinary tract and surrounding muscles, causing anything from small leakages when you sneeze to sudden, strong urges that can result in accidents.
  5. Pelvic Organ Prolapse – This is a condition where the muscles in the pelvis can no longer support the pelvic organs—the bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum. A common problem experienced by many women, it’s linked to childbirth and aging. It can feel like your bladder is dropping, with pain or pressure in the pelvis or lower back. Other symptoms include problems with your bowels and pain during sex.

Women: Here are 6 Ways You Can Jumpstart Your Health

If you notice any blood in your urine, are having pain or burning when urinating, or are going to the bathroom more often than normal, these are all good reasons to consider seeing a urologist, regardless of if you’re a man or a woman.

Women: Here are 6 Ways You Can Jumpstart Your Health

What Is a Urogynecologist?

Alternately, a women might choose to see a urogynecologist, a gynecologist with additional training in treating bladder control problems and other conditions of the female reproductive system and urinary tract. “Both urologists and urogynecologists can treat pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence,” says Dr. Lasser.

What’s the difference between a urologist and a urogynecologist?

  • A urologist specializes in the management of all aspects of the female and male urinary tract, including incontinence, pelvic prolapse and urinary tract infections.
  • A urogynecologist diagnoses and treats various conditions of a woman’s pelvic organs, including incontinence, pelvic prolapse and pelvic floor disorders.
  • A urogynecologist treats only women, while a urologist may treat men and women.

Women: Here are 6 Ways You Can Jumpstart Your Health

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has been tough on everyone. For women, the pandemic may mean taking on additional roles such as teacher, caregiver and worker, all while dealing with the stressors of the “new normal.”

A 2020 study by McKinsey showed that mothers are up to three times more likely to take on the majority of housework and caregiving than fathers. Many even put off important doctors visits and screenings because there simply is no time.

But taking care of yourself should be at the top of your “to-do list” because maintaining your health is one of the most important things you can do to take care of your family.

Here are 6 things you can do today to start to take care of you:

  • Schedule a Wellness Check 

Wellness checks aren’t just for kids. It’s equally as important for women to see their primary care physician annually, and get important health screenings, such as Pap tests or mammograms as recommended by your doctor.

Nora Tossounian, M.D., internal medicine specialist at Hackensack Meridian Health, has seen the results of women putting their health on hold during the past year to care for others. “Postponing preventive screenings such as wellness checks, mammograms, and gynecological exams can have serious consequences, including diagnosis at a more advanced stage of illness,” says Dr. Tossounian.

Pamela Schultz, M.D., an obstetrics & gynecology specialist at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, says preventive gynecological care is especially important for the early detection of female reproductive cancers, as well as benign conditions that can affect a woman’s health.

“Having an annual gynecological exam and following your doctor’s recommendations for mammograms and Pap tests can help to detect breast and cervical cancers early when they are easier to treat,” says Dr. Schultz. “We understand that women are busy, so we make it as convenient as possible to schedule appointments for preventive screenings.”

  • Cut Out The Junk 

Challenge yourself to cut out processed foods for 30 days and focus on consuming only whole, real foods, such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, beans and lean meats. Removing processed foods from your diet could help you sleep better, think clearly and boost your overall mood.

  • Detox from Electronics

Set aside time for non-screen time. Our jobs, now more than ever, require us to hop on video calls and remain plugged in to email at all hours. Going for a walk and reading a book are great ways to create space between you and your device. Meditation, even for just five minutes a day, can be a great exercise in mindfulness and finding stillness in a noisy world.

  • Move More

Many people think of exercise as a chore, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can walk, ride bikes, hike, swim, dance, or anything that gets you moving. Making an effort to stay active is what matters most. If you find an activity you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to stick with it and experience the fitness and mood boosting benefits.

  • Just Breathe

For stress relief, mindfulness techniques like focused breathing may be your answer. Start by sitting in a comfortable position, closing your eyes and breathing deeply. Increase your awareness of each breath, focusing as you inhale and then as you exhale. You can practice for as little as five minutes a day and increase the length of the sessions as you grow more comfortable.

  • Reach Out if You’re Struggling

Substance use and mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression have been on the rise during the pandemic. Dr. Tossounian said it is especially important for women to seek help if they are struggling.

“Because women often wear many different hats, some may be having trouble coping with economic, emotional and logistical stressors associated with the pandemic,” says Dr. Tossounian. “We want to encourage women to seek the mental health care they need — so they can be their best for the people they love.”