Bladder symptoms, incontinence, pelvic pain and other symptoms can be worrisome. If you have concerns related to your urinary system or sexual health, your first step may be to see your primary care provider. They may refer you to see a urologist if the issue needs further evaluation or treatment.


A urologist is a specialist who provides medical and surgical treatment for conditions of the bladder, kidneys, urinary system, and reproductive systems. “At your first visit, we review your symptoms, discuss your health history and perform a complete exam,” said Zachary Mucher, M.D., board-certified urologist with Houston Methodist Urology Associates at Sugar Land. Depending on the symptoms you’re experiencing, a urologist may also order urine tests, blood tests or imaging, such as ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scans.


Symptoms Affecting the Urinary and Reproductive Systems

If you experience any of the following symptoms, consider seeing your doctor or urologist.


Urinary tract infections (UTI). “Women who experience recurring UTIs (two or more infections in a six-month period or three or more episodes within one year) may be referred to a urologist for further evaluation,” Mucher noted. “For men, any urinary tract infection is considered complicated and should be evaluated by a urologist.”


Prostate problems. Men should see a urologist for symptoms, such as difficulty emptying the bladder, a weak stream, painful urination or blood in urine. Benign enlargement of the prostate can be treated with a combination of medications or minimally invasive surgical interventions. “It’s also important for men age 50 and older to have conversations with their doctor about prostate cancer screening,” Mucher said.


Men at a high risk for prostate cancer, including African American men and those with a strong family history of prostate cancer or other cancers diagnosed at a young age, should talk to their doctor about screening for prostate cancer starting at age 40 or 45. Men at an average risk for prostate cancer should talk to their doctor about screening at age 50.


Sexual dysfunction in men. Urologists are experts in sexual and reproductive health for men, including treatment for low testosterone, erectile dysfunction, male infertility and surgical contraception (vasectomy).


Incontinence issues. If you’re experiencing urine leakage or the need to go frequently or urgently, a urologist can help. In many cases, lifestyle changes, medication or surgical treatments can resolve urinary incontinence and overactive bladder.


Pelvic pain. Pelvic pain that doesn’t go away is not normal and should be evaluated by a doctor. “Unexplained pelvic pain could be a warning sign of bladder or kidney cancer, and it could signal prostate problems in men,” Mucher said.


Kidney stones. Having blood in your urine and/or severe pain on one side of your lower back may be a sign of kidney stones. Any problems related to the kidneys should be evaluated as soon as possible.