What Your Urologist Wants You to Know
From UTIs to low sex drive and premature ejaculation, a urologist addresses the common causes for concern for your physical and sexual health.
Wondering what a urologist does? “An urologist treats problems related to the urinary system, such as experiencing pain during urination and sexual disorders like erectile problems and concerns about male fertility,” says Dr Priyank Salecha, consultant urologist and andrologist, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Hyderabad. If you are confused about when to schedule an appointment with an urologist, the suggestion is for whenever you experience any of the above issues. “But men above 40 must also visit a urologist yearly to get a thorough check-up of the prostate, as a lot of physical conditions can be caused by an enlarged prostate, not just cancer.” The doctor shares the following insight into some physical and sexual issues you could experience.
1. Erectile dysfunctions are common across all age groups.
A study published in 2018 in the journal Sexual Medicine estimated that erectile dysfunction (ED) can affect up to a third of all men. Dr Salecha supports this. “The causes behind ED are varied, but people mistakenly think that it can only affect older men,” he says. “Erectile dysfunction can happen at any age and should be addressed properly. For sexually active men between the ages of 20 to 45, ED is more commonly caused by psychogenic functions (such as depression, low self-esteem and stress), while in men older than that, the hormonal aspect is the most important, as testosterone levels decrease with age.”
2. Low sex drive can have a wide range of causes behind it.
Libido, or sexual drive, naturally varies throughout your life. If you are experiencing a low sex drive for a long period of time, it can be related to underlying health conditions, and both external and psychological factors. “When someone has a low libido, I first take into consideration their socio-economic status, job profile, lifestyle, and their relationship with their partner,” says Dr Salecha. “Hormonal, vascular and psychogenic reasons can all affect the sex drive.”
3. Premature ejaculation involves a complex interaction of psychological and biological factors.
Premature ejaculation is a common sexual issue men experience. Erectile dysfunction can play a role in it, just as one can be affected by psychogenic factors like anxiety, stress and bad sexual experiences. However, for a long time, it was thought of as a purely psychological condition. “Biological factors are also being researched for premature ejaculation,” says Dr Salecha. “There are certain issues like hormonal abnormality and inflammation of the prostate (which is also prevalent in young to middle aged men) that can be behind it.”
4. You should consult a urologist before you take testosterone boosters.
“There is no doubt that sex drive and sexual performance improves when given external testosterone, but it also depends on the age group,” Dr Salecha says. “In a younger age group, I never give synthetic testosterone directly. What I do is give certain natural supplements that can boost testosterone. Someone from an older age group might need direct testosterone shots.” Consult your specialist to figure out what would work for you.
5. Although not as common, men can also experience UTIs.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are caused by a build-up of unhealthy bacteria in the urinary tract. Due to a shorter urinary tract, women experience UTIs more frequently. “Although the percentages are relatively low, all adult men can experience UTIs,” says Dr Salecha. “It increases in occurrence as they grow older, with men above 45 being more prone to it because of the enlargement of the prostate.” Some preventive measures for UTIs can be drinking sufficient fluids and maintaining proper hygiene down there, and for older men, getting regular prostate check-ups from a urologist.