You're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor for urinary symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred directly to a doctor who specializes in urinary issues (urologist).
Because appointments can be brief, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Keep track of how often and when you urinate, how much liquid you drink, and if you feel you're completely emptying the bladder when you urinate.
- Bring a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
- Bring a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all of the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Know what tests and treatments you've had for enlarged prostate or urinary problems. For example, if you've had infections, how often have you had them and what medications worked in the past?
- Bring your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test results if you've ever had your PSA checked.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. For an enlarged prostate evaluation, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Is an enlarged prostate or something else likely causing my symptoms?
- Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What tests do I need? Are there risks to any of these tests?
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the risks with each type of treatment?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any restrictions on sexual activity that I need to follow?
- Do I need to see a urologist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask any additional questions that come up during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
Dec. 06, 2011
- When did you first begin noticing urinary symptoms?
- Have your urinary symptoms been continuous, or occasional?
- Have your symptoms gradually worsened over time, or did they come on suddenly?
- How bothersome are your symptoms?
- How often do you urinate during the day?
- How often do you need to get up at night to urinate?
- Do you start and stop when urinating, or feel like you have to strain to urinate?
- Is it difficult for you to begin urinating?
- Have you ever leaked urine? If so, when?
- Do you have a frequent or urgent need to urinate?
- Does it ever feel like you haven't completely emptied your bladder?
- Do you ever have blood in your urine?
- Have you had urinary tract infections?
- Is there any burning when you urinate?
- How do you know when you have a urinary tract infection?
- Do you have type 2 diabetes?
- Have you ever had any trouble getting and maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction), or other sexual problems?
- Do you feel pain in your bladder area?
- Have you ever had surgery or another procedure that involved insertion of an instrument through the tip of your penis into your urethra?
- Do any of your blood relatives (such as your father or brother) have a history of enlarged prostate, or prostate cancer, or kidney stones?
- What medications do you take, including any over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies?
- Are you on any blood thinners such as aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin) or clopidogrel (Plavix)?
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- Meng MV, et al. Urologic Disorders. In: McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. 51st ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=11857. Accessed Oct. 11, 2011.
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- FDA approves Cialis to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm274642.htm. Accessed Oct. 11, 2011.
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- Barry MJ, et al. Effect of increasing doses of saw palmetto extract on lower urinary tract symptoms. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2011;306:1344.
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Oct. 12, 2011.
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