If you live with a spinal cord injury or another condition that requires the use of catheters, the importance of seeing a urologist can’t be overstated.
My name is Bill. I became a quadriplegic after a motocross accident 30 years ago. As someone with a spinal cord injury, I know how important it is for us to rely on our doctors for regular check-ups and healthcare.
However, did you know that you also need to regularly see your urologist for a more thorough checkup? Since urologists specialize in conditions relating to the urinary system as well as the reproductive organs, they may be able to better pinpoint issues that your general practitioner might not catch.
What to Expect at an Annual Exam with a Urologist
Seeing a urologist may seem intimidating at first. However, an annual exam is fairly simple. Also, it might even be life-saving for some people.
A urologist uses various tests and exams to check for abnormalities, including growths, infections, or bladder or kidney stones.
Some tests or examinations that you may be able to expect may include:
- Physical exam
- Urine specimens and urine cultures
- Cystoscopy (examination of the lower urinary tract with a mini-camera)
- Imaging studies (ultrasound or x-ray)
- Tissue biopsy
Bladder Cancer and Other Factors to Consider
An annual exam is a wise idea for anyone using catheter supplies. However, experiencing out-of-the-ordinary symptoms makes the importance of seeing a urologist even greater.
Waiting on treating something as small as a urinary tract infection may lead to a more serious issue.
For instance, bladder irritation may increase the risk of bladder cancer. This can be due to a variety of issues, including repeated urinary tract infections or bladder infections, use of an indwelling (Foley) catheter, and bladder stones. Smokers or users of tobacco may also be at higher risk of bladder cancer.
Additionally, if you are living with a neurogenic bladder or a spinal cord injury, checking for bladder cancer regularly is crucial too. The risk for this disease for those with SCIs is about “15 times higher than that of the general population” (New Mobility).
Unfortunately, bladder cancer does not always have obvious symptoms, especially in the beginning stages. That’s why your doctor should look over your urinary system regularly to catch any potential issues early.
Year-Round Maintenance of Your Urinary System’s Health
As always, the best thing you can do for your bladder, kidneys, and the rest of your urinary system is to follow your healthcare professional’s recommendations.
This may include such advice as:
- Take any medications you have been prescribed as directed
- Keep properly hydrated according to your individual needs
- Continue regular check-ups, especially if you’re experiencing unusual symptoms
- Always use good hygiene when using intermittent catheters, such as practicing sterile use versus washing and reusing, washing your hands well, and using disinfecting wipes or swabs
- Catheterize according to the schedule laid out by your doctor, which may help keep the urine volume inside your bladder under 10 ounces
- Use sterile, water-soluble catheter lubricant
- Consider using a hydrophilic or pre-lubricated no-touch catheter to reduce irritation to the urethra and bladder, which may help reduce the risk of infection
Where to Buy No-Touch Catheters
At 180 Medical, we proudly provide top-quality intermittent catheter supplies of all brands, sizes, and types.
Ready to try a free catheter sample or start your orders with a company that really cares? Just reach out and contact 180 Medical. We’re ready to help turn your life around.
As always, if you have any questions or need medical advice, please be sure to consult with your healthcare professional.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is intended to provide a general understanding of bladder health and the importance of seeing a doctor. It should not be used in place of a visit, call, or consultation with a physician or other professional healthcare provider.
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