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Prostate gland enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an extremely common ailment among men. The prostate in the male body is a reproductive gland which is tasked with the function to produce the fluid that carries the sperm onto the urethra during ejaculation. In male anatomy, the prostate is located beneath the bladder, also known as the urinary bladder, but at a slightly rear position. The prostate gland is connected downwards to the penile area through the urethra and upwards to the kidney through the bladder and the ureter.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostate enlargement occurs is men when the prostate gland gets enlarged. It is normally an age related health problem. As men grow older, the prostate gland has a tendency to lose its compactness and starts to expand. This process of expansion of the gland can happen in a male as early as in the thirties. However, this is a very slow process and doesn’t normally quicken unless there are some other problems in the abdominal area. Statistically, it has been seen that benign prostatic hyperplasia worsens or becomes a symptomatic physical problem at the age of fifty among males.

Although the cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia has been considered to be natural ageing of men, in a more extensive analysis, it is the hormonal changes and a change in cell growth that are at the crux of the causes. It is recommendable that you refer to an urologist in Des Moines if you observe one or more symptoms of prostate enlargement.

The symptoms of prostate gland enlargement include decrease in the force and caliber of the urinary stream, frequency or urination, urgency, feeling of not emptying the bladder and nocturia or the need to get up at night to urinate.

Here are some lifestyle changes that will help you to get some substantial relief from the symptoms and discomfort associated with prostate gland enlargement.

  • Don’t drink anything several hours before you go to sleep.
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea.
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption or better yet, quit. Do not consume alcohol during dinner.
  • Spicy foods should be avoided.
  • Medications such as lasix and hydrochlorothiazide that are essentially diuretics and increase urine production should be avoided. You can talk to your urologist in Des Moines about your present medications to see if you can continue to take them.
  • Avoid antihistamines and decongestants. These reduce the ability of the bladder to produce the desired force of contraction and thus the bladder doesn’t empty entirely.
  • Go to the restroom whenever you feel like. Holding onto your urine would be highly counterproductive.
  • Try to set a schedule. Frequented urination helps in regulating the bladder pressure.
  • Do not take cold seats outdoors or indoors. Cold temperature leads to the contraction of muscles around the prostate gland and they fail to exert enough pressure on the bladder to contract and push out the urine effectively.
  • Do not take long bike rides and try to stand on the pedals every few minutes to ease out the pressure on your prostate gland.

These are some of lifestyle changes that you can easily adhere to and get interim relief from the symptoms. These changes will also quicken the treatment process as recommended by your urologist in Des Moines.

In Des Moines vasectomy is a very popular strategy for birth control. It is indeed one of the most effective contraception methods known to us. Vasectomy is scientific and thus there is rational explanation as to why it can help in birth control and since the procedure has a permanent effect, once you have a Des Moines vasectomy surgery, there is absolutely no possibility that you can ever get your partner pregnant throughout your life.

If you are wondering about the effectiveness of vasectomy then there is a simple answer, it is very effective and it is one of the most effective forms of birth control. In comparison with other birth control avenues such as condoms and oral contraceptive pills, vasectomy scores much better. To instill a statistical perspective, less than 15 couples among every 10,000 who opt for a Des Moines vasectomy surgery would experience pregnancy. This is much less than the 500 couples who experience pregnancy among 10,000 couples despite using contraceptives and a staggering 1,400 couples among 10,000 couples using condoms conceiving.

An interesting element in this statistic is that the less than 15 cases out of 10,000 where there is a likelihood of conception after vasectomy, it is only a possibility in the first year after the surgery. Thereon, there is absolutely no chance of conception.

This is because vasectomy does not offer immediate contraception. The procedure is effective but even after the procedure, the semen and sperm that had already been produced and passed through to the seminal vesicles would have to be ejaculated or absorbed by the body. This is where the difference sets in. Some men discharge all the existing sperm in about ten ejaculations while some men take as many as thirty ejaculations. It truly depends on an individual. For some, it may take four months to allow complete ejaculation of all the sperm or absorption of the sperm into the body.

After you have a Des Moines vasectomy surgery, you would be asked to go for a sperm count diagnosis once and if this test shows that you have a zero sperm count then you cannot aid conception. However, if your sperm count is not down to zero then you have to use other birth control resources or avoid having unprotected sex till the time the sperm count drops to zero. Not doing any of these two does leave some chances of conception in the first few months of the procedure.

The list of the number of medications that can have serious interactions with grapefruit is quite large. And few people know the most popular pill for men, Viagra, should also be on that list.
It’s been called the most popular drug in the world, the little blue pill Viagra. And while most men know they should not take Viagra if they are also using a nitrate drug for chest pain or heart problems, they may not know about the interaction of Viagra with grapefruit juice.

Viagra, which is used for treating erectile dysfunction, when combined with grapefruit juice can reach toxic levels that result in men having hot flushes. It can also significantly lower their blood pressure and it can produce unwanted side effects.

As little as one grapefruit or an eight-ounce glass of juice can cause a change in absorption of the Viagra tablet for up to 24 hours. The grapefruit juice in the small intestine where pills are absorbed, prevents the breakdown of the medication. So when Viagra is absorbed, it’s absorbed in larger quantities and can reach toxic levels.

The reason Viagra should not be taken with a nitrate medicine is because it can cause a serious drop in blood pressure. For that reason, doctors say men who become dizzy, nauseated, or have pain, numbness or tingling in the chest, arm, neck, or jaw, should get medical attention right away. And taking Viagra in the same day as grapefruit can have a similar effect.

It can drop a man’s blood pressure. It can cause a man to feel hot, warm and flushed and so taking away the enjoyment that sexual intimacy is supposed to create. It can subtract from that and can make the man quite uncomfortable.
Some other fruits can also have the same effect. They are Seville oranges, limes, and pomelos, but sweet oranges do not cause this interaction.

Bottom Line: If you are using Viagra, you probably should avoid taking grapefruit juice at the same time or on the same day. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about this interaction.

Most men have an attitude that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Now that may apply to the engines of your automobile but it doesn’t apply to the finely tuned engines that run your body. Most men have little need to visit a doctor between the ages of 18-45. In order to sustain good health, men need to make an annual visit to their doctor beginning around age 45.

Cardiovascular Disease

High blood pressure, heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death for most Americans. In fact, coronary heart disease kills more people each year than all of the American soldieries who have died in all the wars this nation has fought this century. You can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease by participating in a sound fitness and exercise program and modifying your diet.

Prostrate Cancer

This is the most common cancer in men. Nearly 250,000 new cases of prostate cancer are discovered each year and it annually takes the lives of more than 30,000 men, or half the capacity of the Superdome. That’s the bad news. The good news is that prostate cancer can be cured if it is detected early. There are no symptoms for early prostate cancer. The diagnosis made by rectal exam and a blood test called the PSA or prostate specific antigen test. These two examinations are recommended annually for all men over the age of 50. For men that have a blood relative (father, brother, or uncle) with a history of prostate cancer or in Afro-American men, they need the two exams after age 40.

Lungs, Colon and Rectal Cancer

Smoking is a risk factor that plays s a role in just about every major health problem that men face. Smoking is well documented as the leading cause of lung cancer and may play a role in other cancers as well. It also causes high blood pressure, impotence, and premature aging of the skin.

Colon and rectal cancer affects both men and women can be detected with screening test for blood in the stool. All men over the age of 50 need a colonoscopy, which is looking into the end of the colon with lighted tube, every five years.

Impotence-Erectile Dysfunction

This is a condition that is feared by most men, yet is one that can be effectively treated in most cases. Nearly 30 million American men suffer from impotence, or the inability to obtain and maintain an adequate erection.

Common causes of impotence include vascular disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, never damage, and the side effects of medication. Drugs used to treat high blood pressure, ulcer medications, tranquilizers, pain pills and sleeping pills are some of the common rugs that can affect a man’s erection.

Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra have been a boon to many men with impotence. However in men where these medications are ineffective, there are many other treatment options that can almost assure every man that has a problem with his erection can be helped.

Benign Enlargement of the Prostate Gland

After age 40, the prostate gland, for reasons not entirely known, begins to grows and compress the urethra making urination difficult. This is a benign condition called BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia. Men have frequency of urination, dribbling after urination and the need two get up at night to urinate. There are drugs that can actually shrink the prostate gland (finasteride) and drugs than can relax the muscles between the prostate gland and the bladder. There are also minimally invasive treatments that can significantly improve a man’s urinary symptoms.


There is nothing that produces more anxiety and tension in a marriage than if the couple wishes to have children and are unable to conceive. The cause of infertility is shared between men and women. So men have to take at least their share of responsibility to achieve a pregnancy. In most men with infertility the diagnosis can be made with a history, a physical examination and a semen analysis.

Testis Cancer (Lance Armstrong Disease)

Cancer of the testicle is the most common cancer in men between the ages of 20-40. In the past these cancers were fatal. Now more than 95% of men with testis cancer can be completely cured with surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. Just as s women are instructed to perform monthly breast self-exams, men should do the same thing. Any lumps or bumps noted in the scrotum should be brought to the attention of doctor. Most of these lumps are benign, but it requires a physician to make that determination.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

It was only a few years ago that the STDs that got the greatest attention were herpes and gonorrhea. Now these two have taken a back set to AIDS and chlamydia. Both AIDS and chlamydia can be prevented by using a condom. Today, chlamydia is the number one sexually transmitted disease in the United States. The symptoms are burning on urination or a discharge from the penis. If left untreated it can cause sterility in men. This STD can be successfully treated with antibiotics.

An AIDS test is recommend for all sexually active men and women on a semi-annual basis.


Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death, including coronary heart diseases, cancer, lung ailments, accidental injuries, liver disease and anxiety itself. One of the best ways to reduce stress is not a pill or an hour a week on the psychiatrist couch, but by beginning a regular exercise program. A basic program of exercise 3 days a week for 20 minutes can produce significant improvement in a person’s psychological attitude, stamina, and endurance, and performance at work.

Family Planning

Today more men are taking a role in the limiting the size of their families by agreeing to have a vasectomy. The procedure can be done now without an incision or a scalpel! The operation can be performed in the doctor’s office under a local anesthetic and the man can return to nearly all activities the day after the procedure.

Bottom Line: Men need to take good care of their health and seeing your doctor on a regular basis is the beginning of developing good lifestyle health habits.

The daily addition of 75 g of whole-shelled walnuts to a typical Western-style diet appears to have positive effects on the quality of a man’s sperm.

Evidence is particularly limited for men who routinely consume Western-style diets that may lack optimal nutrients and [polyunsaturated fatty acid] profiles needed for healthy sperm and fertility.

A recent study included 120 healthy men between the ages of 21 and 35 years who routinely consumed a Western diet. The men were equally divided into two groups: one receiving no walnut supplementation and the other group received walnut supplementation. After 12 weeks, the investigators found significantly improvement in the semen quality in the walnut group compared with the control group.

In addition, serum omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid levels were significantly improved in the walnut group after 12 weeks.

The lead investigator, Dolores Lamb, PhD, director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, noted that walnut supplementation may represent a useful strategy for some men with fertility problems.  This simple dietary intervention could be easily recommended for men with poor sperm quality.

It is noteworthy that this study was funded through a grant from the California Walnut Commission.

For a full report see Biol Reprod. Published online August 15, 2012 http://bit.ly/R5aiuR

In addition to hot flashes, many women will experience bladder control problems at the time of menopause. So if the hot flashes are not enough to ruin the quality of life, losing urine without your permission is sure to bring your daily activities to a screeching halt.

Does Menopause Affect Bladder Control?

Yes. Some women have bladder control problems after they stop having periods. After your periods end, your body stops making the female hormone estrogen. Estrogen may help keep the lining of the bladder and urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside of the body) healthy. A lack of estrogen could contribute to weakness of the bladder control muscles.

Pressure from coughing, sneezing or lifting can push urine through the weakened muscle. This kind of leakage is called stress incontinence.

Although there is no evidence that taking estrogen improves bladder control in women who have gone through menopause, small does may help thicken the bladder lining and decrease the incontinence.

What Else Causes Bladder Control Problems in Older Women?

Sometimes bladder control problems are caused by other medical conditions. These problems include:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Nerve damage from diabetes or stroke
  • Heart problems
  • Side effect of medications
  • Depression
  • Difficulty walking or moving
  • Weakened muscles from previous childbirth

A very common kind of bladder control problem for older women is urge incontinence or overactive bladder. This means the bladder muscles squeeze at the wrong time and cause leaks.

This is easily treated with medication.

What Treatments Can Help You Regain Bladder Control?

Your doctor may recommend limiting foods or fluids, such as caffeine, which are bladder irritants and increase the desire to go the rest room.

There are also pelvic exercises (Kegels) that can strengthen the muscles in the urethra and the vagina. Pelvic floor muscles are just like other muscles. Exercise can make them stronger.

Exercising your pelvic floor muscles for just five minutes, three times a day can make a big difference to your bladder control. Exercise strengthens muscles that hold the bladder and many other organs in place.

Two pelvic muscles do most of the work. The biggest one stretches like a hammock. The other is shaped like a triangle. Both muscles prevent leaking of urine and stool.

Pelvic exercises begin with contracting the two major muscles that stretch across your pelvic floor. There are three methods to check for the correct muscles.

  1. Try to stop the flow of urine when you are sitting on the toilet. If you can do it, you are using the right muscles.
  2. Imagine that you are trying to stop passing gas. Squeeze those same muscles you would use.
  3. Lie down and put your index finger inside your vagina. Squeeze as if you were trying to stop urine from coming out. If you feel tightness on your finger, you are squeezing the right pelvic muscle.

You can exercise while lying on the floor, sitting at a desk or standing in the kitchen.

Be patient. Don’t give up. It’s just five minutes, three times a day. You may not feel your bladder control improve until after three to six weeks. Still, most women do notice an improvement after a few weeks.

Other treatments include inserting a device, a pessary, directly into the vagina to lift the urethra and the base of the bladder to its proper position behind the pubic bone. And finally, if the conservative methods of medication, exercises, and dietary modification don’t work, then you should talk to your doctor about one of the surgical procedures that can lift the bladder into the proper position to prevent leakage

Bottom Line: No one needs to suffer the embarrassment of urinary incontinence.

Call Dr. Zafar now at (515) 277-8900 or visit our website at www.LakeviewUrology.com!

Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men

Testosterone is the most important sex hormone in the male body. It is responsible for physical changes during puberty, such as facial hair, a deepening of the voice and an increase in muscle mass. Throughout adulthood, testosterone helps maintain sex drive and keeps a man’s muscles and bones healthy. There are an estimated 5 million men in the United States who suffer from hormone deficiency. Low testosterone affects about one in ten men between the ages of 40-60 and more than 2 in 10 in men over age 60.

Testosterone levels slowly decline in men as they age. Starting at age 30, testosterone levels drop by about 10% every decade. In some older men, testosterone levels decline below the normal range, and this may be accompanied by various physical symptoms. The signs and symptoms of testosterone deficiency include: low sex drive, erectile dysfunction (impotence), reduced muscle mass and strength, decreased bone density, difficulty concentrating, depression, and fatigue such as falling asleep in the afternoon or after the evening meal.

The diagnosis of testosterone deficiency is accomplished following a medical history, a physical examination and a blood test. Because testosterone levels peak in the morning, it is suggested to have the blood test early in the day or before noon if possible.

The goal of testosterone replacement therapy is to increase the blood level of testosterone to the normal range. Several therapies are available with different delivery methods.

Testosterone injections are either self-administered or given by a physician at regular intervals, usually every two weeks. Testosterone levels peak about three days after the injection and slowly decline over time. These fluctuations in testosterone levels may be decreased by shortening the time interval between injections.

Testosterone gels are another delivery method. The gel is applied once daily to the upper arms, shoulders or abdomen. The quick drying formula is absorbed by the skin, releasing testosterone into the bloodstream. Men should avoid contact with others until the gel has dried which is usually 10 minutes, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after application with soap and water.

The newest testosterone replacement is with pellets, which are inserted under the skin usually in the area of the buttocks. The pellets last 4-6 months and avoid the necessity of daily application of the gels or the biweekly injections.

Testosterone replacement therapy may provide dramatic health benefits for men with decreased hormone levels and symptoms of testosterone deficiency. The potential benefits include increased energy level, increased lean body mass and muscle strength, decreased total body fat, improvement in sex drive and erectile function, and increased bone mineral density which may lead to reduced risk of fracture of the hips and spine.

Bottom Line: Testosterone deficiency is very common in middle age and older men and produces symptoms which impact a man’s health and quality of life. The diagnosis is confirmed with a simple blood test. With proper monitoring, testosterone therapy can be an effective and safe form of treatment. Contact Dr. Zafar at (515) 277-8900 or check our website at www.LakeviewUrology.com

Doctors are recommending a regular or annual physical exam. Are these costly and lengthy “extreme physicals” necessary or useful?

The main benefit of these extensive examinations is the convenience of one stop shopping or to provide you with an opportunity for a physician to give you a comprehensive exam at one time rather than forcing you to piece together appointments with a half-dozen different experts. Many patients say it is worth the expense to get a one-stop, comprehensive look at their health.

For those who aren’t willing or able to spend big chunks of time, there still is a lot to learn from these exams with your primary care physician. A savvy patient can always ask their own physician to perform a selection of such tests. Any doctor can order the blood work, such as C-reactive protein tests or advanced cholesterol screening that is standard fare during a superphysical. Your family doctor should be able to refer you to a nutritionist or exercise physiologist for additional counseling.

Getting regular physical exams is a great start. To get the most benefit from your visits, you must communicate clearly with your physician, understand the exam’s results, and know what actions you and your healthcare team need to take. Here are some more steps to help you make the most of your physical exam.

1. Be honest with your physician about your behaviors and symptoms. Don’t just tell the physician what he or she wants to hear. For example, if you smoke, say so. If you don’t exercise, mention that. If you are sexually active and have multiple sexual partners, indicate this to your doctor even if he\she doesn’t ask. If you are suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED), volunteer this as there is treatment for this condition and it may indicate other more serious illnesses such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, high cholesterol levels and even coronary artery disease.

2. Don’t be shy. Many people don’t tell their physicians about depression, incontinence, and sexual problems because they are embarrassed to discuss these issues. It is natural to feel reluctant, but it is not in your best interest. Your physician can give you the best treatment only if he or she knows what is really going on.

3. Tell your physician about changes in your life and any new symptoms you’ve experienced, even if you think that they may not be significant. For example, mention changes in your appetite, weight, sleep, or energy level. Also let your physician know about major changes or stressors in your life such as a divorce, significant financial problems or the death of a loved one.

4. Ask questions. This is crucial to getting the most from your annual examination. If you don’t understand a test, a word or medical term the physician has used, or want more information about your condition, you must ask for clarification. When you don’t ask questions, your physician will assume you understand. Also ask for educational materials. Most physicians have brochures and forms related to the most common medical conditions and will be happy to provide it to you. Also, ask for relevant or credible Web sites so that you can learn more about your condition and learn about healthy habits and life styles. Whenever possible, have the physician or staff provide you with written advice or instructions.

5. Come prepared. Write down questions or topics you want to discuss before your appointment. For example, include a new symptom you want to mention or a question about a new treatment.

6. Take notes and/or bring someone along with you. If you think that you may not remember what your physician says, taking notes will help. Bringing a family member or friend to your appointment will also help. If you tell your family member of friend what you want to get from your visit, he or she can help you stay on track.

7. Share your point of view about the exam, tests, and treatment. Your physician needs to know what works well for you and what doesn’t, but he or she can’t read your mind. If you feel rushed, worried, or uncomfortable, say so. If you feel you need more time with your physician, ask when you can return or schedule another appointment to review what is important to you.

8. Before agreeing to proceed with a medical test, ask your physician to explain why it is important for you and what it’s designed to show. When the results are available, make sure your physician explains them and answers your questions. Ask for a copy of the results. If a specialist does the test, ask to have the results sent to your primary care physician.

9. If your physician suggests a treatment and especially a surgical procedure, be sure you understand what it is and what it will and won’t do. If your physician suggests a treatment that makes you uncomfortable, ask about other treatment options and even about getting a second opinion.

10. Ask about your medication’s side effects. Be sure to let the doctor know what medications, vitamins, herbs and over the counter medications you are taking. Then ask if the newly prescribed medications have any interactions with food or drugs you are currently using.

Bottom Line: I can’t insure that every experience with your doctor will be positive. But I can promise you that if you use these 10 action steps and become pro-active regarding your health care, you will have a more meaningful dialog with your doctor and be on your way to good health.

Dr. Zafar is a urologist at Lakeview Center for Urology and can be reached at (515) 277-8900 or through the website, www.LakeviewUrology.com

Terry Sue is a 45-year old woman who loses urine (incontinence) when she coughs and sneezes. She is provided with exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles of her bladder. She does the exercises every day for 12 weeks and has significant improvement in her urinary symptoms.

There are many conditions that put stress on your pelvic floor muscles such as child birth through vaginal deliveries, obesity, chronic coughing, and after menopause when there is a deficiency of estrogen or the female hormone produced in the ovaries.

When your pelvic floor muscles weaken, your pelvic organs descend and bulge into your vagina, a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse. The effects of pelvic organ prolapse range from uncomfortable pelvic pressure to leakage of urine or feces. Fortunately, Kegel exercises can strengthen pelvic muscles and delay or maybe even prevent pelvic organ prolapse.

How to Perform Kegel Exercises

It takes diligence to identify your pelvic floor muscles and learn how to contract and relax them. You can learn to identify the proper pelvic muscles by trying to stop the flow of urine while you’re going to the bathroom.

If you’re having trouble finding the right muscles, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. Your doctor can give you important feedback so that you learn to isolate and exercise the correct muscles.

After you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles contract your pelvic floor muscles and hold the contraction for three seconds then relax for three seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times. After you have learned how to contract the pelvic muscles for 3 seconds, work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions. Perform a set of 10 Kegel exercises three times a day. The exercises will get easier the more often you do them. You might make a practice of fitting in a set every time you do a routine task, such as sitting at a red light.

For those women who have trouble doing Kegel exercises, biofeedback training or electrical stimulation may help. In a biofeedback session, a nurse, therapist or technician will either insert a small monitoring probe into your vagina or place adhesive electrodes on the skin outside your vagina or rectal area. When you contract your pelvic floor muscles, you’ll see a measurement on a monitor that lets you know whether you’ve successfully contracted the right muscles. You’ll also be able to see how long you hold the contraction.

Results are not immediate or the first time you do the exercises. You can expect to see some results, such as less frequent urine leakage, within about eight to 12 weeks. Your improvement may be dramatic – or, at the very least, you may keep your problems from worsening. As with other forms of physical activity, you need to make Kegel exercises a lifelong practice to reap lifelong rewards.

An added bonus: Kegel exercises may be helpful for women who have persistent problems reaching orgasm.

Bottom Line: Many women have a problem of loss of urine with coughing and sneezing. Kegel exercises are effective for very mild urinary incontinence. It’s inexpensive, does not require use of medication, and if you are patient, it does, indeed, work.

Dr. Zafar is a urologist at Lakeview Center for Urology and can be reached at (515) 277-8900 or through the website at https://www.lakeviewurology.com

Even though overactive bladder affects some 33 million adults in the U.S., it remains one of the most embarrassing topics for all who suffer from this condition. That’s why OAB, also known as urge incontinence, is often called the “hidden condition.”

What is overactive bladder?

It is a condition where you have the intense urge to urinate before you can reach the restroom. If you don’t reach the restroom in time, you loose the urine and soil your clothes and the embarrassment is overwhelming. Those who suffer from OAB will know where every restroom is between their home and their next destination. This is referred to as “toilet mapping.” In severe cases those who suffer become depressed and reclusive and will stop engaging in socialization and remain at home.

How Does You Doctor Diagnose Overactive Bladder?

To get a diagnosis of overactive bladder, your doctor starts with a complete health history to learn about other urinary conditions you’ve had in the past, and when the problem started.

Questions your doctor may ask about your OAB include:

– How often do you urinate?
– How often do you leak urine, and how severely?
– Do you feel any pain or discomfort while urinating?
– For how long has the urge or urinary incontinence been occurring?
– What medications are you taking?
– Have you had any recent surgery or illnesses?

Keeping an OAB diary at home can help you answer these questions and help with an overactive bladder diagnosis. Each day, write down how much you drink, when you urinate, how much you urinate each time, and whether you ever feel an urgent need to go.

Your doctor will then examine your abdomen, pelvis, genitals, and rectum. You might also have a neurological exam to look for problems in your nervous system that could affect your ability to urinate.

What Are the Tests for Overactive Bladder?

There are a number of OAB tests, depending on your health history and symptoms. For these tests, you’ll likely see a urologist, a doctor who is trained to treat urinary disorders, or a gynecologist.

Tests for overactive bladder include:

Urinalysis. Taking a urine sample allows your doctor to check for conditions that can cause overactive bladder. A urinalysis looks for the presence of these substances in the urine:
– Bacteria, which could indicate a urinary tract infection
– Blood or protein, which could be a sign of a kidney problem
– Glucose, which could signal diabetes

Cystoscopy. If your urinalysis reveals blood in your urine, or you have frequent urinary tract infections, the doctor might send you for this test, which uses a thin, lighted instrument called a cystoscope to look for cysts and other growths in the bladder.

Urodynamic testing. This series of OAB tests measures how well your bladder holds and empties urine. Urodynamic tests include:

Post urination residual volume. This test checks to see whether the bladder empties fully by passing a flexible tube called a catheter through your urethra and into your bladder after you’ve urinated. The catheter drains the urine that remains in your bladder and measures it. Another way to test postvoid residual urine is with an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to look at how much urine is left in your bladder after you go.

Uroflowmetry. As you urinate into a funnel, this test measures the amount and speed of the urine flow to see if there is any obstruction blocking urination.

Cystometry. In this test, a catheter fills the bladder with water or air. This test measures the pressure in the bladder as it fills with fluid or air.

Voiding cystourethrogram. This overactive bladder test looks for structural problems in the bladder and urethra. A liquid dye is inserted into your bladder with a catheter, and then X-rays are taken while you urinate.

These OAB tests can help diagnose whether your condition has something to do with an infection or other illness, a blockage, or poorly functioning bladder muscles. Knowing the cause of your overactive bladder can help your doctor find the right treatment for you.

Bottom Line: Is a common condition affecting millions of American men and women. The evaluation can be easily accomplished in the doctor’s office and treatment can be started once the diagnosis is made.

Dr. Zafar can be reached at (515) 277-8900 or via the website, https://www.lakeviewurology.com


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