It is a common misconception that urologists only treat men, but many women may need to see this specialist too. While your OBGYN will monitor your overall and reproductive health, they may refer you to a urologist to treat common disorders that affect your urinary tract.
4 Common Urological Issues for Women
Women can develop urological issues at any stage of life, but there are a number of medical conditions that become more common after menopause. The following issues are among the most treated in women:
Simply put, having an overactive bladder means that you frequently have an urgent need to urinate. Those with an overactive bladder may exhibit some of the following symptoms:
- A sudden urge to urinate that may be hard to control.
- You awaken more than once a night to urinate.
- You urinate eight or more times in 24 hours.
Causes of an overactive bladder range from something as simple as drinking too much caffeine to more serious conditions such as diabetes and kidney dysfunction. A urologist will perform tests to diagnose the cause.
Urinary incontinence is defined as the loss of bladder control which can result in the accidental leakage of urine. This problem is much more common than you may think! In fact, approximately 57 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 60 suffer from mild to severe urinary incontinence.
This issue can be caused by obesity, pregnancy later in life and menopause.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
When germs get into your urinary tract (bladder, kidneys and the tubes that connect them) a UTI can occur. Most UTIs occur low in the urinary tract and are harmless if treated quickly, but if it spreads to your kidneys, more serious complications can occur. Women are more susceptible than men to urinary tract infections simply because of differences in anatomy.
Common symptoms for this infection include burning when urinating, passing small amounts of urine frequently, bloody urine and pelvic pain.
The bladder is held in place by tissue called the pelvic floor. When that tissue is stretched or weakened, the bladder may drop into the vagina. Often caused by aging, obesity, menopause or a prior pelvic surgery, this condition may result in an overactive bladder, urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections.
How Do I Know When to Visit a Urologist?
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may need to be examined by a urologist:
- Frequent urination
- Blood in urine
- Burning or discomfort when urinating
- Pelvic pain