Your urologist office visit experience
If you're a man who hasn't made his first urologist office visit, you may wonder what to expect.
First, it's helpful to understand who urologists are. They are physicians who specialize in the genitourinary tract—the kidneys, urinary bladder, adrenal glands, urethra and male reproductive organs—and male fertility. Urologists are also trained in the surgical and medical treatment of diseases that affect these organs.
Here are the typical things you can expect during an appointment with a urologist:
- A urologist will request you to provide a urine specimen, so don't go to the office with an empty bladder. Many urological conditions may prevent you from being able to hold urine in. So when you arrive, inform the office staff that you are ready to provide a specimen.
- Each urologist office visit starts with assorted paper work. This may include questionnaires to help assess how severe your ailment is. On the questionnaires, you to “rate” things like lower urinary tract symptoms, incontinence and/or sexual health. You may also complete a “voiding diary” to documents times and amounts of urination if (and when) you experience incontinence.
- You will enter an exam room and a staff member will record your detailed medical history. It will focus on your genitourinary system and what your underlying problem is and also involve a complete review of all body systems. Disease of other systems can help diagnose urologic problems. Be prepared to provide a complete list of all your medications, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements that you take. If you think you may not recall the names of everything you take, bring all your medications with you.
- The urologist will perform a physical exam. The will concentrate on the genitourinary system and evaluate other systems as well. The physician will perform a genital exam plus a digital rectal exam to assess the prostate.
- After the examination, the urologist will discuss a treatment plan for you to determine what is happening. This will usually involve additional tests, either during this visit or, more commonly, at a later visit. The urologist may want to check blood counts, kidney function, or test PSA (prostate-specific antigen) or testosterone levels.
- Your urologist may order imaging studies. This can include sonography of the kidneys, the bladder, and/or the prostate; or an imaging scan to visualize specific organs.
- The urologist may recommend an ambulatory, office-based procedure. It may be cystoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that examines the bladder and urethra; urodynamics, which assesses bladder functionality for patients who have incontinence; and/or a biopsy.
A focused, detailed urologist office visit will allow the doctor to determine learn the correct course of action to treat your symptoms.