Though men and women share similar urological problems, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney stones, some disorders are unique to males. The following are common urologic conditions men may experience, listed according to the affected area.
Prostate conditions & treatments
The most common male urological disorders relate to the prostate. The prostate is about the size of a walnut and is part of a male’s sex organs. It surrounds the urethra, a tube that begins near the base of the bladder and carries urine from the body out the tip of the penis. The prostate produces the ejaculate.
Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate and is the most common prostate disorder for men under 50. A bacterial infection sometimes causes prostatitis, but often the cause is unknown. Primary symptoms are pain, burning with urination or ejaculation, as well as urinary urgency and increased frequency.
Prostate enlargement (BPH)
Also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), this is a common prostate problem for men over the age of 50. The prostate usually begins to enlarge after age 40. BPH causes urinary symptoms including slow urinary flow, urinary frequency and urgency, waking up more often at night to urinate, as well as a worsening ability to empty the urine out of the bladder. Urology Associates is on the forefront of several innovative, natural BPH treatments, including auquablation and Rezume therapy.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. Most prostate cancer is detected in very early stages using PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test, when the prognosis for successful treatment is good.
There are numerous treatment options for prostate cancer that include:
- Carefully monitoring the cancer without actually proceeding with treatment (this is known as watchful waiting
- Using radiation therapy to effectively treat the cancer — this includes utilizing a newer technology called CyberKnife which releases a highly targeted, high dose of radiation.
- Surgically removing the prostate (prostatectomy) as another effective treatment for cancer.
Kidney conditions & treatments
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located behind the abdominal organs, in the lower back area. They help the body process waste into urine and send it out of the body. In addition to the kidneys requiring treatment due to an injury, the following other conditions of the kidney affecting men may require treatment:
Kidney stones form when minerals and salts in the urine clump together as “stones,” as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. Smaller stones can often pass with the urine; larger stones may require medical treatment.
Men experience the disease more than women. Age 64 is the average age when people are diagnosed with kidney cancer, which rarely occurs in people under age 45. Most kidney tumors (85 percent) are found early, before they spread. Typical treatments halt or slow its growth. For patients where the cancer has not spread to other parts of the bod, radiation therapy such as CyberKnife may be an option.
Bladder conditions & treatments
The bladder receives urine from the kidneys via the ureter tubes and expels it from the body via the urethra tube, which opens at the end of the penis. Common bladder conditions in men are:
This is another term for having bladder control problems, or difficulty controlling when and how much a man urinates. Symptoms of an overactive bladder may include feeling an urgent need to use the bathroom, needing to urinate frequently, experiencing large or small leaks of urine, or feeling unable to empty the bladder completely.
This is an abnormality or impairment in the way the bladder works. Men may experience one or more types of dysfunction in the bladder. Bladder dysfunctions can include urinary incontinence. It is important that a man with a bladder dysfunction consult a physician to determine the root cause and work to treat it.
Bladder infection is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI), both of which most often occur in women. When men have a bladder infection, however, it might be a symptom of prostatitis or BPH. Bladder infections can cause pain or burning when urinating and result in an urge to urinate frequently.
These are hard masses of minerals that form in the bladder when urine becomes concentrated. They are most common in men age 30 and older. Bladder stones often occur because a man is unable to empty the bladder completely. This can happen during illness, after nervous system damage, or because of BPH.
Urethra and penis conditions & treatments
A man’s urethra, a hollow tube that allows urine to pass from the bladder to outside of the body, is about eight inches long. It passes through the prostate and the penis before it opens to the outside at the end of the penis.
This occurs when the urethra opening narrows at the tip of the penis. Meatal stenos can exist from birth or be acquired, and is rarely seen in uncircumcised penises.
Urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) is usually caused by bacteria and treated with antibiotics. Pain with urination is the primary symptom.
This is scar tissue in the urethra that can block or reduce urine flow.
Peyronie’s disease is a condition that causes an abnormal, and often painful, curve in the penis when erect because of scar tissue that forms inside the penis.
A birth defect in infant boys where the urethra does not open at the tip of the penis, but somewhere else on the penis, usually on the underside. Learn more about hypospadias in our pediatric urology section.
Chordee is a birth defect in boys in which the penis is bent excessively during an erection. Chordee can cause pain and discomfort and problems with sexual function in adulthood.
This cancer growth starts in the penis, mostly as squamous cell penile cancer. Symptoms are bleeding, growths on the penis and discharge beneath the foreskin. Surgery is the standard treatment method for penile cancer, and numerous methods exist depending on far along the cancer is and the overall health of the patient.
Testes/scrotum conditions & treatments
The testes, or testicles, produce sperm and the testosterone hormone and are located in the sac of skin called the scrotum in the male groin area. Some conditions in this area are more likely to affect younger men and some older men. Conditions include the following:
Epididymitis is an inflammation of the coiled tube (epididymis) behind each testicle that holds sperm before ejaculation. Men with this condition typically experience painful urination or intercourse, as well as blood in the urine or semen.
Hypogonadism in men occurs when the sex glands do not produce any hormones or produce no hormones, and is often treated with medication. Hypogonadism can also involve poor production of sperm, causing male fertility issues.
Testicular cancer can happen any time between the ages of 15-50, and is generally easily cured if found early. Primary symptoms are a lump or a heavy feeling in the scrotum. It is primarily treated with surgery.
Testicular torsion occurs when one of the cords that secure the testicle in the scrotum twists around a testicle, cutting off its blood supply. Mainly experienced by males under age 25.
Varicoceles often form during puberty and are enlarged varicose veins in the scrotum. Up to 15 percent of men may have varicoceles, which are found frequently in men with infertility because it can cause low sperm production and decreased sperm quality.
This occurs when a testicle has not moved from the fetus’ belly into its scrotum before birth. Most of the time the testicle descends on its own in the baby’s first three months. Learn more about undescended testicles in our pediatric urology section.
Men’s Sexual Health
With advanced training and specialization, Urology Associates physicians work with men to develop effect treatments for conditions relating to men’s sexual health and function, as well as male fertility and family planning.
Ejaculatory dysfunction is the inability of a man to efficiently ejaculate semen from the penis at the moment of sexual climax. It is one of the most prevalent sexual problems in men. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available ranging from medications, injections and implanted devices to lifestyle changes.
Denver Urology specializes in diagnosis & surgical or medication treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence), a man’s inability to keep an erection. Erectile dysfunction affects an estimated 10 million to 20 million men in the U.S., with another 10 million having partial ED.
Vasectomy is a male sterilization, effectively preventing pregnancy. Urology Associates utilizes a no-scalpel technique for less pain & fewer complications.
A vasectomy reversal reconnects the vas deferens tube that was cut during a vasectomy, a procedure that prevents sperm from reaching a man’s semen, rendering him infertile. Sometimes the procedure requires only reconnecting the ends of the vas deferens to the sperm tract; other times a more complex procedure is required in order to bypass a blockage. When successful, a vasectomy reversal allows a man to impregnate a woman and usually is effective for decades.