If you’re a man 40 or older, seeing a urologist is probably the last thing on your mind when you have so many other things to worry about.
But don’t check that off your list right now.
A urologist visit can improve your daily life, despite your early hesitancy, especially if you have to be pushed into going to your primary care physician for annual checks.
How a urologist can improve your quality of life
The importance of quality-of-life issues increases as you reach your 40s.
A significant factor in this will be sexual and prostate health. The management of these conditions is a specialty for urologists, who can guide you on what to expect, healthy lifestyle adjustments, whether to wait and when to treat a problem.
You can start having trouble urinating in your late 40s as a result of an enlarged prostate, which is a natural consequence of aging. However, making too many toilet stops throughout the day and night might make life more difficult than it needs to be.
Your urologist might suggest some lifestyle adjustments as a starting point. This may include staying away from alcohol and coffee.
Medication can be used to treat an enlarged prostate to reduce symptoms or perhaps partially shrink the prostate. To remove a part of the prostate, you may choose the minimally invasive office procedure or, if necessary, surgery.
Erectile dysfunction and declining libido are common for guys starting in their late 40s and early 50s, with about 1 in 10 adult males suffering from it. The cause isn’t always physical, but a urologist can help if it is.
Your urologist can check your hormones with a simple blood test and prescribe testosterone replacements if you have low testosterone.
Your urologist will also be able to recommend other options such as medication, sex therapy, vacuum devices, injection therapy, or in some cases, penile implants.
You may be considering getting a vasectomy if you already have children and have no plans to have more. It’s a choice that might make your sex life more stress-free for both you and your partner.
Rest assured that a vasectomy is a simple, risk-free outpatient treatment if you believe it would be right for you. Your urologist can conduct the operation, address any concerns you have, advise you on additional birth control methods, and let you know when it’s okay to engage in unprotected sex with your partner.
Screenings for prostate cancer may save your life.
Your lifetime chance of developing prostate cancer can be predicted by one PSA test in your 40s.
You should perform a baseline PSA test once you reach your mid-forties. This blood test can help us pinpoint the particular steps we need to take to screen you in the future and evaluate your risk of acquiring prostate cancer.
There is no established cutoff threshold that can determine if a man has prostate cancer or not when the PSA level in blood is tested in nanograms per milliliter.
Your risk of having prostate cancer increases with increasing PSA levels. PSA levels can also be impacted by things including age, prostate infections, and specific medical procedures.
You might only need to be screened every five years or so if your PSA is .7 or lower. You have a 10% or less lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer.
With a score of 1 or higher, you are considered to be at higher risk and may benefit from more frequent screenings. It is probably safe to spread out the screening interval once more if you reach the age of 60 and your score is lower than a 1 or 2.
Cancer screenings can be lifesavers. Visiting your urologist frequently can help you stay healthy and make dealing with the aging issues that all men experience a little bit simpler.