Does a woman need a urologist?

Woman talking to her doctor

When to seek a specialist for pain, infections, frequency issues and other urinary symptoms.

To pee or not to pee? That is the question millions and millions of women ask themselves daily. For some, the urge to urinate is a signal that it’s time to empty a full bladder. For many others though, frequent urges — more than 7 to 8 times a day — can be a sign of infection, overactive bladder or other urinary disease. 

When urinary urges become sudden and overly frequent to the point of interrupting quality of life, it’s probably time to see a urologist, says Muammer Altok, MD, who specializes in general urological disorders and genitourinary cancers at Roswell Park’s Niagara Falls Boulevard location in Niagara Falls, NY. “There’s a tendency to associate urology with men and gynecology with women, but that’s a common misconception,” says Dr. Altok. “Women and men have most of the same organs, including bladders, kidneys, urethras and urinary tracts, all of which are susceptible to infection and disease. Statistically, most women will have an infection of one of those organs during their lifetime, so seeing a urologist for evaluation and care is important.” 

As part of Roswell Park’s Care Network, Roswell Park Niagara Falls Boulevard provides full-service care, including diagnosis and treatment of general urologic disorders, urologic cancer care and thoracic oncology. Conveniently located for residents in Niagara County, the practice has the added benefit of belonging to the Roswell Park Care Network, providing patients with easy access to the latest technologies, most innovative therapies and expertise of experienced, multidisciplinary teams at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

When should women seek the care of a urologist? 

“We treat many women every day for different types of urinary incontinence that is typically caused by overactive bladders and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. It’s normal for aging women, as well as women who have experienced multiple births and surgeries, to be more prone to loss of bladder control.” 

Up to 40% of women in the United States live with persistent overactive bladders. Dr. Altok and his medical team are successfully helping patients with innovative treatments like bladder botox which can inhibit overactivity and reduce spasms when injected into the bladder muscle, resulting in fewer urges and reduced incontinence. 

“Many of our newer treatments for an overactive bladder take about 10 minutes, are effective 90% of the time and can be done right in our center as an outpatient procedure,” says Dr. Altok. “Patients can come in for their treatment and quickly return to their normal day.” If you have any of the following symptoms or conditions, you should seek the care of a urologist for expert diagnosis, treatment and management strategies. 

  • Recurrent or severe urinary tract infections
  • Overactive bladder
  • Incontinence, including urgency, stress, functional and overflow types 
  • Bladder pain symptoms or chronic cystitis 
  • Pelvic organ prolapse may require treatment when when pelvic organs shift from their normal positions and the wall between the bladder and the vagina weakens. 
  • Kidney stones  
  • Blood in your urine, including visible blood or microscopic findings after a urine test
  • Urinary tract abnormalities
  • Suspicion of urinary tract cancers, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, urethra

About 166,4400 people are diagnosed annually in the U.S. with bladder, kidney and urethral cancers. With access to Roswell Park’s vast network of international resources and specialists, doctors at Roswell Park’s Niagara Falls Boulevard have greater access to newer treatments and therapies. 

Roswell Park Niagara Falls Boulevard

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Reducing your risk for urinary issues

Dr. Altok notes that healthier lifestyle practices and regular screenings are important preventative measures. “Timely check-ups are crucial for reviewing patients’ risk factors such as a history of smoking, workplace exposure to chemicals as well as genetics and family histories.” Water is important. As well as staying hydrated, Dr. Altok recommends a daily diet of healthy whole foods, while reducing chemically-processed foods filled with artificial ingredients, refined carbohydrates and trans fats. 

Being mindful of stress is also recommended. “We know that stress affects health,” says Dr. Altok. “If you have pain or other symptoms, stress, anxiety and depression will likely raise your perception of that pain,” he says, noting that his medical team can refer patients to a psychiatrist or psychologist to help with stress management. Roswell Park Niagara Falls is located at 10175 Niagara Falls Blvd, Niagara Falls, NY.