Video Urology Consult in Lower Merion, PA

Urologists are medical doctors that treat a wide range of conditions affecting the urinary tract and genitals. Whether you're wondering if it's time you started getting prostate exams or have been struggling with painful urination, a urologist can assess your symptoms, diagnose a condition, and craft a treatment plan that works for you.

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Urology Consults

What is a urologist?

Urologists are medical doctors that specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the genitourinary tract, which includes the urethra, bladder, kidneys, and ureters.

Urologists treat a diverse range of conditions affecting the unitary tract and genitals - including kidney stones, UTIs, prostate cancer, and more.

Should I see a urologist for a UTI?

Yep! Urologists specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the genitourinary tract, the fancy term for the reproductive and urinary organs. Because urinary tract infections are bacterial infections of urinary organs - the urethra, bladder, kidneys, and ureters - urologists are the most qualified doctors to provide treatment.

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Can UTIs go away on their own?

Urinary tract infections are common infections of the urinary system. UTIs can occur anywhere in the urinary tract - the urethra, bladder, kidneys, and ureters - but most commonly occur in the urethra and bladder. When a UTI infects and inflames the bladder, the condition is known as cystitis.

In many cases, a mild or moderate urinary tract infection can away on its own. If left untreated, however, UTIs may become more severe and lead to serious complications that could be potentially life-threatening. Because of this, doctors will prescribe antibiotics to kill the infection. Antibiotics can help UTI symptoms disappear in as little as a day or two.

If you are experiencing a persistent need to urinate, pain while urinating, or red or cloudy urine, you may be dealing with symptoms of a UTI. Get in touch with a urologist on Sesame to discuss your symptoms and discuss treatment plans. Urologists on Sesame can assess symptoms, prescribe medication, and create treatment plans for you. All urologists on Sesame are certified by the American Board of Urology.

How do I find a urologist near me?

Good news! Sesame is now offering convenient and affordable in-person and telehealth visits with urologists in cities across the country. Urologic doctors can provide consultations for low testosterone, vasectomies, kidney stones, urinary incontinence, UTIs (urinary tract infections), erectile dysfunction, men's health issues, and more. Whether you need medical advice or are looking for the treatment that's right, doctors on Sesame can help.

Sesame works directly with doctors - not insurance companies - to provide premium care without the premiums. You pay one price upfront for your health care. It's that simple. No copays or surprise bills, just clear, quality care at your convenience. Save up to 60% on your next urology visit when you book through Sesame - no insurance needed.

What is a pediatric urologist?

Pediatric urology is the field of medicine dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of urinary and genital conditions in children. A pediatric urologist has special training to provide a warm and comforting atmosphere for children and an advanced knowledge of common conditions that affect children. Some urinary/ genital problems a pediatric urologist can help treat include:

  • Incontinence (bedwetting and daytime accidents)

  • Undescended testes

  • Hernias

  • UTIs

  • Genital defects (such as urethral prolapse)

  • Kidney stones

  • Cancers of the urinary tract (bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer)

Because these conditions can be sensitive and possibly embarrassing, pediatric urologists focus on creating a safe space for children to receive treatment. Pediatric urologists can perform physical exams and diagnostic testing. If your child is dealing with problems related to the urinary tract or genitalia, you may consider getting a recommendation for a pediatric urologist from your primary care provider or family medicine physician.

When should I see a urologic oncologist?

Urologic oncology is the field of medicine dedicated to the diagnosing and treating of cancers in the urinary tract and reproductive system. Urological cancers are among the most common forms of cancer; in fact, prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men in America. Common cancers that urologic oncologists can diagnose and treat include:

  • Testicular cancer

  • Prostate cancer

  • Bladder cancer

  • Kidney cancer

Urologic oncologists will perform surgery and therapeutic treatments that destroy or remove cancer cells while maintaining healthy tissue. Urologic oncologists can also help treat conditions of the urinary system, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate). Primary care providers or urologists will provide a referral for a urologic oncologist if they suspect you may have cancer in your urinary tract or reproductive organs.

What is a prostate exam?

Prostate exams are routine tests that allow health care providers to screen you for an inflamed or enlarged prostate gland. Nearly 300,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, making it one of the most common forms of cancer found among men. Prostate exams consist of a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a PSA blood test. PSAs (prostate-specific antigens) are proteins that help with the early detection of prostate cancer. The greater the amount of PSA found in the body, the greater the risk of prostate cancer.

Prostate exams play a key role in cancer prevention and help doctors screen for other abnormalities, like enlargement or inflammation of the prostate. In addition to prostate cancer screening, high PSA levels can help doctors diagnose BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), prostatitis (infection of the prostate), and hemorrhoids.

Prostate exams are frequently performed by a primary care provider or urologist as an outpatient procedure at a urology clinic.

When should I start getting prostate exams?

The American Cancer Society recommends that men with a very high risk of prostate cancer start getting screenings at the age of 40. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, more specifically, if you have a first-degree relative who had prostate cancer, you have a higher risk than most.

African American men and men who have a first-degree relative who had a prostate cancer diagnosis earlier than age 50 should start getting screened at the age of 45. In addition, some types of skin cancer (such as basal cell carcinoma) may have a greater risk of developing prostate cancer. If you have a history of skin cancer, it is recommended that you start receiving prostate exams at 40-45.

Men with an average risk of prostate cancer should start getting screened at the age of 50.

There are some concerns about the over diagnosing and over treatment of prostate cancer. Not only can screening tests yield false positives, but some prostate cancer grows so slowly that it poses no threat to prostate health during a lifetime. Depending on your insurance, prostate cancer treatment can be expensive and may cause adverse side effects. However, early detection of prostate cancer can save lives. Catching any cancer in its early stages can increase survival rates and make treatment easier. Talk to your doctor about whether or not prostate exams are right for you, and when you should start being screened.

What happens during a prostate exam?

Prostate exams are fairly quick and easy procedures. The two common tests performed during a prostate exam are a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a PSA test. These tests may be performed at the same visit, or during separate visits.

Digital Rectal Exam: A DRE is the most common test to help doctors check prostate health. You will be asked to bend at the waist, with your knees pulled toward your chest. The doctor performing the screening will gently insert a lubricated gloved finger into the rectum. The doctor will check the size, shape, and texture of the prostate by feeling it in the front of the rectum. An enlarged or inflamed prostate is usually an indicator of an infection or abnormal growth in the prostate gland. You may experience some discomfort, or the urge to urinate while the doctor checks the size of the prostate, but the DRE should only take about 5 minutes.

If the prostate is inflamed, your doctor may request a PSA blood test or prostate biopsy for additional diagnostic evidence.

PSA Test: Prostate-specific antigens are proteins found in the body that may indicate the presence of cancer or infection in the prostate. To check for PSA levels, your doctor will draw a small amount of blood from the vein in your arm. The blood will be analyzed in a lab and interpreted by your doctor. PSA test results may indicate the presence of cancer in the prostate or other prostate health conditions. PSA tests are known to yield false-positive results, as PSA levels are not always indicative of cancer. Because of this, your doctor will talk through results with you and may request additional testing, if necessary.

While prostate exams can lead to some discomfort or ambiguous results, they can also play a key role in the early detection of prostate problems such as cancer. If you are concerned about prostate cancer or are at risk of prostate cancer, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor about whether a prostate exam may be right for you.

Not sure if you should schedule a screening test? Book a convenient video urology consult with a board-certified urologist on Sesame to discuss any symptoms and ask any questions you may have. Doctors on Sesame can offer referrals, recommend treatment options, and address your concerns- all at affordable cash prices. Save up to 60% on a urologist visit when you book a consultation through Sesame- no insurance needed.

Where do I go to get my prostate checked?

If you are at risk of prostate cancer, and are looking for a prostate exam, you can schedule a screening test at most primary care and urology clinics. Primary care providers can perform digital rectal exams (DREs) as well as PSA level blood tests, if necessary. Want to see a specialist? Doctors of Urology have specialized training in the urinary tract and reproductive organs, meaning they can both diagnose and treat prostate problems (including cancer).

Connect on Sesame with real, quality urologists in {{locationName}} who can assess your condition and craft a treatment plan that's right for you. Sesame works directly with urologists - not insurance companies - to get you the care you need at a price you can afford. {{numberOfResults}} urologists are available today to see patients in {{locationName}}.

What are the possible risks of a prostate exam?

Treating non-existent or non-threatening prostate cancer can subject you to the negative side effects of cancer treatment needlessly.

Screening for prostate cancer can help detect any malignant (harmful) cancer cells in their early stages, but can also result in over-diagnosing and over-treating. Because some prostate cancers are so slow to develop, the cancer cells may pose little risk over a man's lifetime. In addition to over-diagnosing concerns, prostate exams carry the risk of false-positive results (showing signs of cancer when no cancer exists). Based on these concerns, it is important that you speak with your doctor about whether or not a prostate exam is right for you.

Treatments for prostate cancer, such as radiation therapy, can cause adverse side effects for years after treatment. Radiation therapy can cause erectile dysfunction, fertility complications, and urinary/ bowel dysfunction. Over-diagnosing or false positive tests may prompt a treatment like radiation therapy, subjecting patients to these harmful side effects without need.

Early detection of prostate cancer can save lives. Catching cancers early can make treatment more effective and may prevent the cancer from spreading. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, a history of some skin cancers (such as basal cell carcinoma), or are an African American man, it is recommended that you start getting screened for prostate cancer around the age of 40-45. The risk of prostate cancer increases as men age, so it is recommended that men with an average risk of prostate cancer start getting checked around the age of 50.

What are kidney stones?

Are you experiencing pain or burning when you urinate? Abnormalities in the color or odor of your urine? These may be symptoms of kidney stones.

Kidney stones (or nephrolithiasis) are small, hard deposits of mineral and salt that form in the kidneys. Kidney stones are most commonly made of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. Kidney stones can cause severe pain, urinating difficulty, blockage in the ureters (the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder), and an increased risk of kidney disease. Small kidney stones may be passed through urination. Large stones may require surgery for removal.

Kidney stones are a common medical condition that affects nearly 1 in 10 people. Kidney stones can be caused by a number of risk factors, just as they can also easily be prevented and treated. If you are dealing with symptoms of kidney stones, such as pain while urinating, talk to a doctor right away. If left untreated, kidney stones can cause problems such as blood poisoning, renal scarring, or permanent kidney damage.

What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

A persistent need to pee, pain during urination, and blood in the urine are some of the most common symptoms of kidney stones. Additional symptoms may include:

  • Cramping in the back, stomach, or side

  • Foul-smelling urine

  • Low flow of urine (small amount of urine during urination)

  • Cloudy urine

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Fever

These symptoms are also common with a urinary tract infection (UTI). Both kidney stones and UTIs can be dangerous if left untreated, so if you are experiencing the symptoms listed above you should get in touch with a doctor right away. Kidney stones can lead to serious kidney damage and blood poisoning if they are allowed to remain in the urinary system.

What causes kidney stones?

Kidney stones can be caused by a wide range of risk factors and health conditions. Factors that may put you at risk of kidney stones include:

  • Obesity

  • Family history of kidney stones

  • Low fluid intake (not drinking enough water may concentrate urine in the bladder, leading to kidney stones)

  • High blood pressure

  • Diet (diets high in salt and animal protein can raise levels of sodium and acid in the urine, leading to stone formation)

  • Bowel conditions (Crohn's disease and IBS can increase the risk of calcium stone formation in the kidneys)

If your doctor thinks that you may have kidney stones, they may request diagnostic testing to check for the presence of stones in the urinary system. Common tests that help doctors diagnose kidney stones include:

Urine tests: Testing the urine for protein can help detect the presence of kidney stones. High levels of protein in the urine can also indicate kidney disease such as cystinuria (amino acid build-up in the kidneys or bladder)

Blood tests: Blood tests can detect high levels of calcium or uric acid in the bloodstream, which may point to the presence of kidney stones in the urinary system.

Imaging tests: CT scans can be used to catch kidney stones of all sizes. X-rays are used less often, as they can only detect large stones, and may not show smaller pieces.

What are the different types of kidney stones?

Good question! Many people don't know that there are actually four different types of kidney stones - and that each type is made up of different minerals and salts. The four types of kidney stones are:

Calcium stones: Kidney stones are most often formed of calcium oxalate. They can sometimes be formed of calcium phosphate, though this is far less common. High levels of calcium in the urine can lead to stone formation in the kidneys. Oxalate is a natural substance found in foods like spinach, beets, almonds, and chocolate. While you don't have to eliminate these foods from your diet (who wants to stop eating chocolate?), it's important to know that they can increase calcium levels in the urine, potentially magnifying your risk of developing calcium stones.

Uric acid stones: Uric acid is a waste product that leaves the body during urination. Uric acid has a hard time dissolving in highly acidic urine and may lead to stone formation in the kidneys. You may be at risk of uric acid stones if you eat a diet high in animal protein, are overweight, have Type 2 diabetes, or lose fluid due to diarrhea. Gout may also lead to high levels of uric acid in the urine.

Struvite stones: Magnesium ammonium phosphate (struvite) stones are less common than calcium and uric acid stones. Struvite stones are most commonly caused by frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs), which means women are often more at risk for this type of stone than men. Struvite stones are fast-growing and can be very large, usually requiring antibiotics or surgery for removal.

Cystine stones: Cystine stones are rare, and made of the chemical cystine. Cystine stones form in people who have inherited cystinuria, a genetic kidney disorder that causes an excess of cystine in the urine. Cystine stones may start forming as early as childhood.

In many cases, kidney stones can be prevented by eating a healthy, varied diet, and drinking plenty of fluids (especially water). Sometimes, even if you do drink enough fluids, kidney stones may form based on family history or genetic disorders.

How do you treat kidney stones?

It depends! Just as there is a wide range of conditions that cause kidney stones, there are also a number of safe and effective methods of treating them. Treatment options may vary depending on the stones' composition and size and and any underlying health conditions you may have. Common treatment options for getting rid of kidney stones include:

Drink water and let the stones pass: Drinking plenty of water can help dilute the urine and keep kidney stones from forming in the first place. If you have been diagnosed with small kidney stones, you may be able to let the stones pass by themselves. This can cause some discomfort, so it is recommended that you use over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen to help reduce any pain you may experience while passing the stones.

Medication: Prescription medication, known as alpha-blockers, relax muscles in the ureters, making it easier for stones to pass. Because passing stones can be painful, it is recommended that you supplement alpha-blockers with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen.

To prevent further stone formation, a diuretic may be prescribed to prevent calcium buildup in the urine, usually along with a form of potassium citrate (oral supplements that lower the acidity of urine). If you have been diagnosed with uric acid stones, your doctor may prescribe allopurinol (Zyloprim) to prevent uric acid levels from rising in the urine.

Shock wave lithotripsy: Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) is a fancy term that basically describes the use of sound waves to break the stones in kidneys into small pieces. Smaller pieces are easier to pass and will cause less pain while doing so. ESWL only takes about 1 hour but will cause moderate pain. Because of this, you will be given anesthesia to help reduce discomfort. ESWL is often done as an outpatient procedure at a urology clinic, meaning you can go home after the procedure. You may experience some bruising on the back or abdomen, as well as some blood in the urine. These side effects are common, and it should be noted that ESWL is considered a very safe and effective form of treatment for kidney stones. Side effects will wear off in a few days, and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL): PCNL is a surgical procedure that is used to remove large kidney stones. You will be given general anesthesia as a sedative, as doctors remove stones from a small cut in the back or side. A scope is inserted into the incision in the back, and suction breaks up and removes the small pieces of stone in the kidney. You will have to remain in the hospital or clinic for a day or two after this procedure to recover and should allow a week or two before you resume your normal activities.

Ureteroscopy: After receiving general anesthesia, a tiny scope (the ureteroscope) will be inserted through the urethra and into the kidney. The scope will show where small stones are in the urinary system, and special tools (sort of like a little basket) will be used to remove them. Ureteroscopy is usually done as an outpatient procedure at a urology clinic. You can usually go home the day of, and resume normal activities within a day or two of the procedure.

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