Frequently Asked Questions

Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate, which usually occurs in men over age 50, but can also be seen in younger men. The enlarged tissue blocks the passage of urine from the bladder, causing a variety of symptoms, including slow stream, frequency, interrupted stream, night time urination and occasionally a complete inability to pass urine.

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a tumor marker found in the blood. The normal range for a PSA varies with age. In men less than 50 years old, the upper limit is 2.5; age 50-60, 3.5; 60-70, 4.5; over 70 years, a level of up to 6 may be normal. The PSA can be elevated due to BPH, infection, or cancer. This should be evaluated by a complete history, examination, and in some cases, biopsy.

Yes, the recommended age is 50. However, if there is a family history of prostate cancer, or for African-American men, then it is recommended that testing begin at age 40.

The signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) include frequency, burning, pain, urgency, and foul smelling urine. Occasionally bloody urine can occur. However, blood in the urine should always be investigated, as it may be a symptom of a more serious condition.

Kidney stones are formed by a complex chemical reaction in the kidney. In some cases, there is a genetic component. There are many types of stones, and many of the can be prevented with proper treatment, which may include increasing fluid intake, dietary changes, and/or medication.

The stone blocks the passage of urine from the kidney to the bladder, causing the kidney to swell, which can be very painful. Also, the body’s attempt to dislodge the stone can produce intense colic.

The various types of treatment include the following:

  • Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), which is an instrument that sends non-electric shockwaves through the body to break up the stone into small particles, which then pass spontaneously.
  • Endoscopic removal of the stone via a scope that is placed through the urethra into the bladder and up the ureter.
  • Endoscopy directly into the kidney through an opening in the back.
  • Open surgical removal of the stone.

Overactive bladder (OAB) is a condition where the bladder loses its ability to hold and store urine. This results in frequent urination, often passing very small amounts at a time.  It can also lead to uncontrollable urges to void, sometimes with urge incontinence.  OAB can be caused by infection, irritation from certain foods, and caffeine.  Loss of elasticity of the bladder wall with aging, or as a consequence of radiation, can also be a cause.  In some cases, there is no obvious cause.

There are several forms of incontinence. The most common are:

  • Stress urinary incontinence is leaking of urine when one coughs, sneezes or lifts.
  • Urge incontinence occurs when one is unable to control the urge to void and leakage occurs before reaching the bathroom.
  • Overflow incontinence occurs when the bladder is unable to empty and leaks from being overfilled.Other forms of incontinence can be caused by neurological bladder problems, pelvic trauma or congenital abnormalities.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) can be caused by diabetes, medication, vascular disease, psychogenic problems, surgical trauma, neurological disorders or endocrine treatment. ED can be treated with medication, injections, vacuum erection devices, or surgical prosthesis.