General Health

Low Testosterone Symptoms and Treatment

Testosterone is the sex hormone that helps boys become men; it is key during puberty and the development of male physical features. Testosterone helps men maintain muscle strength and mass, facial and body hair, and a deeper voice; it is also needed for men to produce sperm. Testosterone levels can affect men’s sex drive, erections, mood, muscle mass, and bone density. After age 30, most men begin to experience a gradual decline in testosterone; however, there are a number of other possible causes for low testosterone, including: Injury to the testicles Testicular cancer or treatment for testicular cancer Hormonal disorders Infection HIV/AIDS Chronic liver or kidney disease Type 2 diabetes Obesity Some medicines and genetic conditions can also lower a man’s testosterone score, and, in some cases, the cause is unknown. There are many sexual and non-sexual symptoms that can be indicative of low testosterone. Sexual signs include: Diminished/Low sex drive Weaker and/or fewer erections Inability to maintain an erection Non sexual signs include: Increase in body fat Diminished energy Reduced muscle mass Depression Anemia (low iron) Reduced Bone Mass Having a gradual decline in your testosterone level as you age is to be expected; however, treatment may be considered if you’re experiencing symptoms related to low testosterone. A blood test can accurately determine your testosterone level; a man’s normal total testosterone range is about 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) to about 800ng/dL, depending on the lab. If you have any concerns, or experience any of the associated low testosterone symptoms listed above, contact the Urology Group of Princeton to schedule an appointment. The board certified physician/surgeons at the Urology Group of Princeton are highly trained to evaluate your symptoms, perform applicable tests, and develop the proper treatment plan, which may include Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT).

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month!

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is about being aware and informed because prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death of men in the United States (lung cancer is #1). The good news though is that, if diagnosed early, the five-year survival rate is almost 100 percent. While there is currently is no way to prevent prostate cancer, there are recommendations that may reduce your risk. And, as an added benefit, it is believed that these recommendations actually help reduce the risk for most forms of cancer. Eat healthy and choose a low-fat diet Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains Maintain a healthy weight Stay physically active Avoid tobacco Get regular checkups/screenings Regular checkups/screenings are particularly important because prostate cancer generally doesn’t have early symptoms. Also, the symptoms that may show (e.g. difficult/painful urination, trouble getting an erection, etc.), can be the same as for other non-cancerous conditions; this makes prostate cancer hard to diagnose from symptoms alone. Given that, the Urology Group of Princeton recommends an annual checkup/screening consisting of a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. A DRE is a test where the doctor puts a gloved finger in the rectum to feel the prostate. A PSA test is a blood test that can find a prostate related problem. Abnormalities found in either test may indicate the need for additional testing such as urinalysis, genomic/genetic testing, imaging, and biopsy. Early detection is the key; call the Urology Group of Princeton at 609.924.6487 to schedule your prostate cancer screening.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month & PSA Testing

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, in anticipation of that, the Urology Group of Princeton would like to take the opportunity to remind you that, if you haven’t already done so this year, it’s time to set up your PSA screening. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test detects the presence of a protein produced by cells in the prostate gland. It’s normal to have a low PSA level; however, when there is a problem with the prostate, such as cancer, it causes PSA levels to rise. Screening with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test has been instrumental in minimizing the number of deaths from prostate cancer. The test involves drawing a sample of blood that is then submitted to a laboratory for analysis. PSA levels are commonly expressed in nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL). Although there is no specific normal or abnormal level of PSA in the blood, and levels may vary over time in the same man, an individual with a high PSA level, usually greater than 4.0 ng/mL, may be referred for further testing. Additional testing is warranted because, although prostate cancer can indeed cause elevated levels of PSA, there are also noncancerous conditions that can increase the PSA level. So, while the PSA test can detect high levels of PSA in the blood, it doesn’t necessarily mean that cancer is present. Your urologist will determine if additional testing is required; it may include a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE), a urine test (to check for a urinary tract infection, and imaging tests, such as a transrectal ultrasound, x-rays, or cystoscopy. For more information about prostate cancer, including detection, symptoms, and treatment options, please call the Urology Group of Princeton, at 609.924.6487, to schedule an appointment. Photo courtesy of Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Hydrate to Help Prevent Kidney Stones

Summer is kidney stone season due to the heat. Here are some great tips, courtesy of the Urology Care Foundation, for staying hydrated and avoiding stones. Half of people who have had a kidney stone will develop another one. A key way to reduce the risk of forming stones is to drink extra water. This dilutes the substances in urine that lead to stones. To prevent repeat stones, try to drink at least 3 quarts (about ten 10-ounce glasses) of liquid a day. The amount of liquid you need to drink depends on the weather and your activity level. If you live, work, or exercise in hot weather, you may need more liquid to replace the fluid you lose through sweat. Here are some tips to drink more water: Add color and flavor to your water without the calories by freezing grapes, or lemon, lime, or orange peels, and using them instead of ice cubes. In winter, drink hot water with lemon and honey. Though water is best, other liquids such as citrus drinks may also help prevent kidney stones. Some studies show that citrus drinks, such as lemonade and orange juice, protect against kidney stones because they contain citrate, which stops crystals from turning into stones. Choose sparkling or mineral water instead of soda. Use an app to track how much water you drink. Download one to your phone to set daily reminders and alarms. Mark lines on your water bottle so that you know exactly how much you should have sipped by different points throughout the day. If you have kidney stones, you may need to follow a special diet. First, your doctor will run tests to find out what type of stones you form. From these, the doctor can determine which diet changes may be right for you. To prevent calcium stones, cut down on salty foods like cheese, most frozen foods and meats, canned soups and vegetables, salty snacks, bottled salad dressings, pickles and olives. To prevent oxalate stones, you may be told to reduce foods with high oxalate levels such as spinach, rhubarb and almonds. […]

June is Men’s Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month, a time dedicated to making the health of men a priority and raising awareness of urology-related conditions and diseases that exclusively affect men. These urological maladies include prostate cancer, enlarged prostate, testicular cancer, erectile dysfunction, and peyronie’s disease. If COVID-19 caused you to miss routine screening or annual physical, now is the perfect time to call your urologist and schedule an appointment. In the words of Harris M. Nagler, MD, president of the Urology Care Foundation, “Men’s Health Month is a call for men to take charge of their own health. Many men avoid seeking medical care because they fear negative outcomes, think their condition will improve on its own or feel it’s a sign of weakness. Some also put off taking care of themselves and do not incorporate healthy habits into their daily lives. Good health practices, including seeking the medical advice from healthcare professionals, can help avoid the devastating consequences of untreated conditions or treatment delay. Now is the time for men to take their health seriously.” Screening: Prostate cancer screening is recommended for men who are between 55 to 69 years old; however, some men with a higher risk for prostate cancer should begin screening as early as age 40. The higher risk group includes African American men and men with a father, brother, or son diagnosed with prostate. Testicular cancer can affect males at any age; however, it is most often found in men between the ages of 15 to 44. The good news is, with early diagnosis, it can be cured. To catch testicular cancer early, learn about the early signs of the disease, learn how to do a testicular self-exam, and meet with your doctor immediately if you detect a suspicious lump, or have swelling or pain in the area. Lifestyle Improvements: Review your diet and commit to eating healthier. Why? A diet rich in natural fiber, such as from fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and fatty fish, may reduce testicular and prostate cancer risk and help prevent erectile dysfunction. Some studies have shown that regular physical exercise may […]

Innovations in the Treatment of BPH

Although there is no cure for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as enlarged prostate, there are many useful options for treating the problem. Treatments focus on prostate growth, which is the cause of BPH symptoms. Once prostate growth starts, it often continues unless medical therapy is started. The prostate grows in two different ways. In one type of growth, cells multiply around the urethra and squeeze it, much like you squeeze a straw. The second type of growth is middle-lobe prostate growth in which cells grow into the urethra and the bladder outlet area. This type of prostate growth typically requires surgery. The first line of care for treating BPH is often medication. Doctors may prescribe an alpha blocker to relax the prostate, a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor to reduce the prostate’s size, or both. While medications are helpful for many patients, some may impact a man’s sexual function or only reduce, not eliminate symptoms if the patient has a moderate to severe case of BPH. In cases where patients have moderate to severe BPH or have a middle-lobe growth and need further treatment, there are a range of BPH-related surgical procedures, including ones that are less invasive than older surgeries. A patient and his doctor will choose the best option based on the size and shape of the prostate, as well as the patient’s preference and overall medical condition. Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) was considered the gold standard surgical treatment for many years. It involved “shaving” the enlarged prostate tissues with an electric current delivered through a wire loop. While this technique worked well, its’ side effects could include bleeding, urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Today, two newer procedures are performed in the urologist’s office. For patients with mild to moderate BPH with no middle lobe, there is a stapling procedure known as UroLift where the physician places the patient under local anesthesia or conscious sedation and lifts and staples the prostate to open up the urethra. Because it pulls the prostate out of the way, this approach offers rapid relief, but it cannot be done if […]

April is Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

This month, we’d like to share the following article, courtesy of the Urology Care Foundation. April is Testicular Cancer Awareness month. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), testicular cancer is relatively rare . Roughly 1 out of every 250 men will develop the disease in their lifetime. However, the incidence rate of testicular cancer has been on the rise over the past several decades, and an estimated 9,310 men will be diagnosed in the United States this year. Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor One of the most important things you can do after being diagnosed is to have an ongoing, open dialogue with your doctor to make sure you stay informed and active about your care. Here is a list of questions to bring to your appointment. Tip: bring a notebook to write down their answers, or plan to record them on your phone. 1. What coping mechanisms do you recommend? A cancer diagnosis significantly impacts not only your physical health, but your mental and emotional well-being. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and considered normal reactions. Your health care team is an indispensable resource for helping you find the support you need to cope. And patients with more social support usually feel less anxious and depressed and report having a better quality of life. 2. What type of testicular cancer do I have and what stage is my tumor? The better informed you are about your specific diagnosis, the better you’ll be able to make decisions on your own behalf. There are two main types of testicular cancer , known as seminomas and non-seminomas. Knowing how advanced the cancer is, or what stage it’s in, will also determine your treatment options. 3. What treatment plan is right for me? The type of treatment your doctor will recommend will depend on your specific diagnosis and type of testicular cancer. Generally speaking, treatment options for testicular cancer include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. 4. What lifestyle changes should I make? The Testicular Cancer Foundation (TCF) urges all men to be advocates for their own health. This […]

Potential New Treatment for Kidney Stones

  • Kidney stone treatments

At the Urology Group of Princeton, we continually stay abreast of new developments, and potential treatments, in the field of Urology. For your information, we are sharing an interesting development on the forefront of kidney stone treatment. Kidney stones generally leave the body without a doctor’s intervention; however, it can be a slow, painful process. MIT researchers have identified a potential new approach they hope will help patients pass kidney stones faster and with less pain. In a lab dish, cells from human ureters (the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder) were exposed to 18 different drugs and, in so doing, it was found that two were most effective in relaxing the cells: nifedipine, currently used to treat high blood pressure, and a rho kinase inhibitor, used in the treatment of glaucoma. In tests on pigs, injecting these two medications together nearly eliminated painful ureteral contractions. Subsequent tests found no traces of the drugs in the bloodstream; implying that this medication remains in the ureter, reducing the risk of systemic side effects. The researchers hope to eventually test the treatment in humans to determine the optimal doses needed to help stones pass faster. For tips on avoiding kidney stones, check out our blog post “Tips for the Prevention of Kidney Stones”. If you have questions or concerns about your kidneys or kidney stone treatments, call the Urology Group of Princeton at 609.924.6487 or schedule an appointment online. The board certified physicians/surgeons at the Urology Group are experts trained to evaluate your symptoms, perform applicable tests, and develop the proper treatment plan.

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, will ED keep you from rising to the occasion?

At some, most men will experience problems getting or keeping an erection for a variety of reasons, which are not always due to an actual physical issue. Stress or anxiety can cause erection issues; however, some men do develop a medical condition called erectile dysfunction, or ED. Erectile dysfunction is a condition that occurs when the penis does not receive enough blood to produce an erection adequate for sexual intercourse. ED is diagnosed when this happens repeatedly and affects a man’s ability to sustain an active sex life. While erectile problems are commonly thought to be an issue for older men, ED can, and does, affect younger men too. If you suffer from ED, the good news is that there are many treatment options available. Counseling Life-impacting issues or even everyday stress can trigger erectile dysfunction. Talking about them with a licensed therapist can ease sexual anxiety and help you feel more confident. Medication ED medicines, generally pills (e.g. Levitra, Cialis, Viagra) are usually the first thing prescribed to men with erectile dysfunction. Taken anywhere from 15 minutes to 36 hours before sex, depending on the product, they work well for about 80% of men experiencing ED. If the pills don’t work, or aren’t safe for you to take, your doctor may prescribe a drug (alprostadil) that helps boost blood flow to the penis, triggering an erection within minutes. It is administered by injection or suppository pellets placed inside the penis. Penile Pump/Vacuum A penile pump/vacuum device improves firmness by boosting blood flow to the penis. About 80% of men who use the device correctly get an erection hard enough for sex. Often used for penis rehabilitation, usually after prostate surgery, your doctor will design a regimen aimed at restoring normal blood flow to the penis, thereby allowing for a spontaneous erection. It may, however, take several months to see results. Surgery If all other ED treatments have failed, your doctor may recommend surgery; i.e. an implant (prosthesis) in the penis or vascular reconstruction surgery. The causes of ED vary widely; they can be caused by psychological, neurological, or lifestyle […]

Happy New Year

  • Happy New Year

Happy New Year, from The Urology Group of Princeton! To kick off 2021, we’re providing a brief overview of urology courtesy of the Urology Care Foundation. What is Urology? Urology is a part of health care that deals with a lot of different body parts. This includes body parts that form the Urinary System and Male Reproductive System. If you have a problem with a body part in these two systems, you may need to see a urologist. The Urinary System Many of your body parts work with each other to form the Urinary System. Urine is taken out of the body if these parts work with each other in the right order. This allows normal urination to happen. For both men and women, the main parts of the system are Kidneys, Ureters, Bladder and Urethra. Urine is produced in the kidneys. It flows through tubes called ureters, and into the bladder. Urine leaves the body through the urethra. How the Kidneys Work The kidneys are fist-size organs that make urine. They are found on both sides of the spine behind the liver, stomach, pancreas and bowels. Healthy kidneys work like clockwork to turn extra water and waste into urine. How the Ureters Work Urine flows out of the kidneys and into the ureters. Ureters are thin tubes of muscle that connect the kidneys to the bladder. Ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. How the Bladder Works The bladder is a hollow, balloon-shaped organ. It is mostly made of muscle. It stores urine until you are ready to go to the bathroom to release it. The bladder helps you urinate. The brain tells it to tighten and force the urine out. How the Urethra Works Urine leaves the body through a hollow tube connected to the bladder. This tube is called a urethra. The Male Reproductive System Many body parts work with each other to form the Male Reproductive System. The purpose is for each part to work in the right order so a male can have sex. During sex, you may be able to fertilize a […]