Don’t Ignore Blood in Your Urine

Are you experiencing blood in your urine? Don’t panic, it’s actually more common than you think.

Blood in urine, also called hematuria, has many possible causes, including some common and some severe:

  • Blood thinners

  • UTI

  • Enlarged prostate

  • Kidney or bladder stones

  • Prostate infection

  • Kidney disease

  • Kidney trauma

  • Bladder cancer

  • Kidney cancer

The blood may be visible to the naked eye (gross hematuria) or only seen with microscopic examination (microscopic hematuria). Whether or not the blood is visible does have implications about severity.

The physicians at Athens Area Urology will perform a thorough evaluation to identify the cause of your hematuria. Only 2 or 3 patients out of 100 with microscopic hematuria will have a malignancy, but gross hematuria has a much higher risk of coming from a cancer.

If you are experiencing other symptoms of urinary abnormalities such as frequent urination or cloudy urine, or for more information about hematuria, contact the trusted doctors at Athens Area Urology today.

Phone: (706)-612-9401

Email: info@athensareaurology.com

Hey College Students, We’re Right Here!

Hey you! Are you a college student in Athens GA? If so, welcome back! We hope your summer was filled with awesome vacations, cookouts, rest and fun. Now that you’re back in town, it’s important that you know who and where we are, so let us introduce ourselves.


We are Athens Area Urology, a team of Athens’s most experienced and respected urologists with over 60 years of combined urological experience. Our doctors specialize in general urology, urological oncology, kidney stone disease, pediatric urology, robotic surgery and more.


One of the things we love most about our practice is that our patients are AMAZED by our doctors! We have seen each doctor establish and maintain relationships with the majority of our patients since we were founded in 2013, and it has been such a joy to see the healing and comfort our team has been able to provide for so many individuals of all ages and their families. This is what makes us Athens best urologist.


When it comes to our college student patients, the most common service we provide is UTI treatment. Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria move up the urinary tract to infect the bladder and/or the kidneys. Though UTI causes can vary, UTI symptoms tend to consist of:

  • Urinary frequency

  • Urinary urgency

  • Burning with urination

  • Strong urine odor

  • Strong urge to void with only a small amount or urine actually coming out

Learn more about UTI’s on our website: https://www.athensareaurology.com/urinary-tract-infection

Now that you are back at school, it’s important for you to know that we are near and ready to help you, whether you’re experiencing a UTI or another urological issue.

For more information, visit our website or contact us at info@athensareaurology.com or by phone at (706)612-9401.

Why You Shouldn't Pee in the Pool

As a urologist, health is taken very seriously, even when it comes to fun summer activities like swimming. Although peeing in the pool seems like an understood “no no,” people still tend to do it. Beyond being lazy, inconsiderate, and just plain gross, peeing in pool can actually have detrimental effects on your health. Nobody else might notice, but your body will. Rather than treating your swimming pool like a giant bowl of toilet water, you should avoid going pee in pool at all costs 

Studies have shown that at least 17% of people pee in the pool. So basically, imagine you are at a pool party with 20 close friends. According to the statistics, at least four of them have peed in the water that you are swimming in. Ew! 

Not only is it disgusting, but urine in pool water also fosters the formation of harmful chemicals. As soon as body oils meet sweat, chlorine, and urine, DBP’s (disinfection byproducts) start to arise. Organic matter from our bodies mixing with chlorine allows these DBP’s to form and harm our health. 

To make it a little more clear, we will break it down for you. Urine is comprised of a substance called urea, which is produced when your liver processes ammonia. Urea contains nitrogen as well as many other proteins and substances. When that nitrogen combines with chlorine, AKA when you pee in pool, a compound called trichloramine is formed. 

What’s so bad about Trichloramine? Well, not only does it exacerbate upper respiratory conditions like asthma, but it has also been found to be a direct cause. If you have friends with asthma or any other respiratory conditions, this pool safety tip is extremely crucial. Pee in the pool can potentially further their condition or trigger an asthma attack. Don’t put your friends and family in danger! It’s worth hopping out for a minute or two to use the restroom.

Ready to hear something really nasty? 

Have you ever experienced red, irritated eyes after an enjoyable day at the pool? Most people assume it’s the chlorine that makes your eyes red and irritated, but think again. The reason for eye redness and irritation actually comes from the combination of chlorine AND pee. So when you’re rubbing your eyes after a nice day of swimming, know that it came from you or someone else urinating in the water. Gross!

Instead of putting your loved one’s at risk, keep your bathroom needs on hold until you are out of the water. 

At Athens Area Urology, we prioritize your health and hope you will continue to take care of yourself in and outside of the swimming pool!

Why are there more kidney stones in the south?

In the United States, around 13% of men and about 6% of women deal with kidney stones. What a lot of people don’t know is that the risk of kidney stones is greater in the South than elsewhere in the United States. Why is this? 

The South is known for its delicious fried food, but the downside is that these foods are highly concentrated with salt. The tasty flavor may not seem like a downside at all, but it can have major implications for your health aside from just weight gain. The majority of people who eat this type of food and neglect to stay properly hydrated, and therefore they have a have metabolic predisposition to kidney stones.

So what exactly causes kidney stones? 

Urine contains dissolved minerals and salts. When your urine has high levels of these minerals and salts, the particles are likely to fuse together and form kidney stones.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain in the back, belly, or side

  • Pain/burning during urination

  • Constant urgent need to urinate

Here are some factors that affect your probability of developing kidney stones:

  1. Dehydration

    With warmer temperatures hitting the southern portion of the United States more often, not staying hydrated due to the hotter climate, could make a stone more common. Drinking too much sweet tea may cause kidney stones. Summer is the peak season for drinking sweet tea.

  2. Diet

    Foods with high salt contents are a staple of many popular southern-style restaurants, and too much salt in the diet is a risk factor for forming kidney stones. This is because too much salt is passing into the urine, keeping calcium from being reabsorbed from the urine and into the blood. Reducing salt in the diet lowers urine calcium, making it less likely for calcium stones to form. A diet high in animal protein, such as beef, fish, chicken and pork, can raise the acid levels in the body and in the urine. High acid levels can also make it easier for stones to form. Avoid stone-forming foods: Beets, chocolate, spinach, rhubarb, tea, and most nuts.

If you have questions or concerns about kidney stones, contact us today!

Kidney Stones

Have you ever had a kidney stone? Many people claim the pain of kidney stones is on the same playing field as childbirth. What causes kidney stones to develop and what are they? 

Kidney stones are formed by an imbalance of salts and electrolytes in your urine. If the salts are too concentrated, it will form a clump, “stone”. They begin very small but can grow even larger as time passes. There are four different types of major kidney stones to take note of: cystine, uric acid, calcium phosphate/oxalate, and struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate). Commonly, dehydration is a cause of kidney stone formation. Keeping your body hydrated can significantly reduce the likelihood of kidney stones recurrence. Additionally, genetics can play a role. About 25 percent of kidney stone patients usually have a family history of kidney stones. Surprisingly enough, stress also plays a role. Paired with dehydration, stress can have a large impact on kidney stone formation. Lastly, it is crucial to monitor diet. A high level of protein, phosphates, oxalates, or other minerals in your diet can higher the risk of uric acid kidney stones. 

Symptoms for kidney stones typically last for a few days or can continue for a couple of weeks. Here are some kidney stone symptoms to look out for: 

  • pain in the back, belly or side

  • pain or burning during urination

  • urgency to use the restroom

  • smelly, cloudy, or bloody urine

When noticing these symptoms, the first thing you need to do is drink as much water as possible to flush out your system, preferably up to 2 or 3 quarts. In order to minimize pain, you can take pain relievers such as ibuprofen or advil to lessen the symptoms. Even if your kidney stones are small, they can be extremely agonizing. If generic painkillers are not sufficient, you should call your doctor to inquire about specific medication for kidney stones.

In terms of a solution, there are multiple kidney stone treatment options. For minor kidney stones, medication, lots of water, and painkillers will suffice. In some instances however, kidney stones are too large and painful to be passed on your own. In these situations, doctors are able to provide surgery and other removal processes. Here are a few: 

  1. Shock wave lithotripsy: Shock wave lithotripsy uses shock waves to break up kidney stones into small pieces so that they are easier to pass. 

  2. Ureteroscopy: This is done under general anesthesia. The doctor uses a long tool shaped like a tube to find and remove the stone, or to find the stone and break it into pieces. They pass the thin lighted tube (the ureteroscope) with a camera attached through your urethra and bladder to get to the stones.

  3. Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy: This procedure involves surgically removing a kidney stone with a small telescopes and other instruments through a small incision in your back.

At Athens Area Urology, doctors formulate a plan to knock out your specific kidney stones. There are many different types of kidney stones, so Athens Area Urology works hard to find the right treatment for your situation.


When Should I Call a Doctor About my Child Wetting the Bed?

As a parent, you might be concerned by the number of times you have been woken up by your kids only to have them tell you they have wet the bed… again. But there are a few things to note before you contact your doctor.

It is important to note that most children who wet the bed are perfectly healthy. In some cases, your child’s wetting the bed could be a result of urinary incontinence in children. But before you jump to this conclusion, take a look at these facts and helpful tips to know before consulting your doctor.

Here are some of the most common reasons for your child wetting the bed at night:

  1. Small bladder

  2. Inability to recognize they need to go

  3. Stress or anxiety

  4. Family history

  5. Urinary tract infection

  6. A hormonal imbalance

The reasons above are normal for bedwetting in children, and there is likely no need to contact your doctor. Here are some simple steps you can take to try and reduce your child’s bedwetting tendencies:

  1. Limit liquid intake before bedtime

  2. Have your child use the restroom at the beginning of the bedtime routine and again right before getting into bed

  3. Give your child a reward for dry nights

  4. Practice bladder training: train them to hold it longer during the day so they are less likely to wet at night

  5. Use a moisture detector to sound an alarm as the bed gets wet to help your child respond to bladder sensations in the middle of the night

If these common causes do not seem applicable in your situation, take a look at the following warning signs. You may want to call your doctor and consider urinary incontinence in children if:

  1. Your child is 7 years or older and still is wetting the bed

  2. Your child wets the bed 2-3 times a week

  3. Your child is 5 years or older and experiences daytime and nighttime wetting

Though there is no precise reason as to why your child might be wetting the bed at night, though these common reasons and symptoms might be able to help you identify what your child is experiencing and why he/she might be prone to bed wetting.


Recurring UTI

Urinary tract infection in kids is a common ailment but definitely a reason to go to the doctor. Left untreated, a UTI can infect the kidneys which is a more serious condition. Parents know that kids can get a UTI from poor hygiene habits or as the result of a blockage. But what causes a recurring UTI?

Some kids are simply genetically predisposed to get UTIs. Like allergies or getting a cold, some people are more likely to react to particular irritants. Examining the family history of the child may help shed light on a recurring UTI.

Dysfunctional voiding is also a common cause for urinary tract infection. This can occur when signals from the bladder to the brain get mixed up and the right muscles don’t relax, which means that the bladder never fully empties. Since urine contains toxins that the body is trying to expel, the longer it stays in the bladder the more likely it is that bacteria will infect the inner lining of the bladder.

A major factor in recurring UTIs is something called Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR) which is when urine refluxes from the bladder back into the kidneys. This is a congenital condition, meaning it is present at birth, and most kids grow out of it with no long term damage. However, learning to spot the symptoms of a UTI early on can go a long way towards managing a recurring UTI.

Consider taking your child to the doctor if they experience any of the following:

  • pain when peeing

  • changes in appearance or smell of pee

  • lower abdominal pain

  • lower back pain or discomfort

At Athens Area Urology, the treatment process begins with urinalysis. We will then select the right treatment plan to fit your needs. This often involves antibiotics that target the specific bacteria causing the infection. It is important that the patient receives all doses for the antibiotic, even after symptoms have ended.

Most UTIs, if treated, run their course in about a week. But left untreated the infection will not go away on its own. If you have any questions or concerns about a UTI contact Athens Area Urology today.

Bladder Cancer


What is it?

Bladder cancer is an abnormal growth of bladder cells that grow together to form a mass called a tumor. It often starts from the internal lining of the bladder.

This cancer is also one of the many conditions that the doctors at Athens Area Urology are experienced and skilled at treating. With state-of-the-art diagnostic tools at our disposal, we will help create a bladder cancer treatment plan to best suit the patient’s needs.


Do I have bladder cancer?

Some common signs of bladder cancer include blood in the urine and painful urination. Urine sometimes doesn’t look any different but blood can be found at the microscopic level.

So if you don’t notice those symptoms that doesn’t preclude the possibility that you have cancer; on the other hand, these symptoms can be caused by other factors. If you experience blood in the urine or painful urination you should contact your doctor to at least get it checked out.

How else can you tell if you might have cancer? Here are some environmental issues that might cause tumors to develop.

Factors that may put you at higher risk of bladder cancer:

  • Smoking

  • Chemical exposure in the workplace

  • Long standing urethral catheter

  • Long standing or recurrent infection

  • Radiation therapy to the pelvis

Why should I see a doctor?

Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers, and it is often detected at a stage that is highly treatable. But cancer of any kind is always scary, which is why we take your care seriously. If you have concerns about symptoms, risk factors, or any other questions, schedule an appointment with one of our physicians today.


Bladder Botox

Overactive bladders are a common trouble spot for many people. And while many people think of Botox as a cosmetic solution, the muscle relaxant is a useful tool to prevent overactive bladders.

Overactive bladders are muscle contractions that happen to frequently or without warning and cause urgent need to urinate or bladder leakage. Botox for overactive bladders  injected directly into the bladder muscle is an effective way to subdue these side effects. It is a great and safe long term solution for patients interested in treatments.

Here’s what you should know when it comes to Bladder Botox procedures:

  1. Botox for bladder is a quick procedure often done in under an hour, completed in a hospital or urologist’s office.

  2. You will be instructed to take antibiotics one to three days before your treatment to prevent a urinary tract infection

  3. Anesthesia is optional to numb your bladder

  4. After the optional anesthesia, botox will be injected into the bladder muscle

  5. You will stay in the office for about 30 minutes after the procedure to ensure blood pressure and heart rate are at adequate levels

  6. You will be given antibiotics to take for three days post-treatment

  7. Return for a checkup after two weeks

Having bladder trouble? Call Athens Area Urology to set up a consultation today! We take pride in delivering exceptional outcomes. By using the most advanced technology, a team of doctors with over 45 years of experience, and expert medical knowledge, we have a track record of success.
We’d love to hear from you!  (706)-612-9401

How to Give Yourself an Exam- Testicular Cancer

Testicular cancer is among the most common cancers in men age 15 to 35. You can play an important role in catching it early by performing a testicular cancer self exam once a month. Many men aren’t aware of how to do self exams for testicular cancer, but Athens Area Urology is here to help with tips on how to check for testicular cancer:

  1. Take five minutes in the shower: the warm water relaxes the muscles, making the exam easier.

  2. Starting on one side, gently check the scrotum with your fingers to feel the surface of the testicle.

    • You will be checking for signs of testicular cancer: these often include lumps, bumps or any unusual features. It is important to perform the exam once a month in order to notice any new growths.

  3. Switch sides and check other testicle. Watch for any swelling, changes in size or soreness.

If you notice any abnormalities during your self exam, contact the experts at Athens Area Urology today: (706)-612-9401

Tips and Advice: Women’s Incontinence:

Living with incontinence does not have to slow you down or get in the way of living your life to the fullest. Here are some helpful tips for women’s incontinence to keep you happy and healthy:

  1. Hydrate

    It is very important to stay hydrated when dealing with urinary incontinence, as this ensures a properly functioning bladder. It is recommended that you drink between 6-8 glasses of water a day to maintain a healthy bladder.

  2. Avoid Certain Drinks

    Caffeinated drinks such as coffee or soda lead to frequent urination, as do alcoholic beverages, and these drinks can increase leakage in women’s incontinence. It is a good idea to consume more liquids like water or cranberry juice to increase your bladder’s health.

  3. Stay Away from Irritants

    Some foods can irritate the bladder and worsen women’s incontinence. For example, removing or decreasing consumption of tomato-based foods, spicy foods, as well as citrus and chocolate can result it improvement with your incontinence.

  4. Do Specific Exercises

    There are several pelvic exercises that you can do to help prevent leakage, and these exercises have the potential to eliminate your urinary incontinence altogether after several months of continued exercises.

  5. Pace Yourself

    When drinking liquids, it can be tempting to drink all of it at once. Instead, try to pace yourself to drink in 2-3 hour intervals as this helps with urinary incontinence. Pacing yourself can prevent leaking, and it also reduces your likelihood to have to go at night.


Get a Vasectomy During March Madness

Are you looking for a reason to stay on the couch and watch your favorite teams face-off during March Madness? We’ve got the perfect excuse for you!

After getting a vasectomy, you will need to relax for a few days before becoming active again. You’ll be able to stand and walk, but your activity level will need to stay at a minimum and you won’t be able to do any heavy-lifting.

This is your chance to be pampered! Throw a watch party and have your friends keep you company while you heal.

Sports events like this are the best possible time to have this procedure, because otherwise your down-time would be incredibly boring.

Learn more about the vasectomy process and recovery on our website and other blogs. The ball is in your court… Too far?


National Cancer Prevention Month

February is National Cancer Prevention Month! Not many people know that Athens Area Urology specializes in the detection and treatment of urologic cancers with cutting edge surgical techniques and the most up to date medical treatment options for genitourinary cancers.

This includes prostate, bladder, kidney and testicular cancer. We believe it’s incredibly important to educate our patients about their individual risks so they know how to monitor their health, and which questions to ask when they come in to our office.

We want this blog to inform you about each of the cancers listed above and how to detect them, but you can find more information about our treatment processes for each type on our website!

Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is an abnormal growth of cells that originate in the prostate. It is the second leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States. The prostate is an organ that sits in the deepest part of the pelvis, and produces fluid for the ejaculate. It also surrounds a portion of the urethra (the tube that transports urine and semen out of the body). In the early stages, prostate cancer is generally asymptomatic. However, if symptoms do emerge they are generally one/some of the following:

  • Difficulty with urination

  • Blood in the urine and ejaculate

  • Bone pain

  • Loss of weight and appetite

Bladder Cancer: Bladder cancer is an abnormal growth of bladder cells that grow together to form a mass called a tumor. It usually starts from the inner lining of the bladder (the part that is exposed to the urine), and it often presents with painless blood in the urine, but can also cause painful urination.

Kidney Cancer: Kidney cancer is an abnormal growth of cells originating from the kidney. With timely diagnosis, this is a treatable condition with survival rates ranging from 79 to 100%. Lesions that are found and treated early pose much less risk than those that grow larger. In addition to kidney cancer, other benign lesions can exist on the kidney as well. Approximately 20% of solid kidney masses are benign (non-cancerous). The most common are called a cyst, which are simple and known to be benign. Kidney masses are often initially noticed with imaging. Some cases will be appropriate for active surveillance but others will require a surgical intervention.

Testicular Cancer: Testicular cancer is an abnormal growth of cells originating from the testicle. It is the most common cancer in men aged 15-34, but overall it is fairly rare with only 8,400 cases diagnosed in the U.S. annually. Testicular cancer symptoms include:

  • Painless lump on the testicle

  • Dull ache in the testicle

  • Swelling of the testicle

We strongly recommend that you come into our office immediately for an exam if you have been experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. When it comes to cancer, the earlier we can detect it, the better!

Athens Area Urology is here to help ensure that you live a long and fulfilling life without urological pain and limitations. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office today!

What You Need to Know About Vasectomies

Between March Madness and the Master’s, there are prime opportunities approaching to schedule a vasectomy and make the most out of your recovery time. That being said, we want you to be informed before your appointment.

Here is what you should know about the vasectomy process and all it entails:

Purpose:

With the exception of abstinence, vasectomy is the most effective form of birth control. Only 1-2 women out of 1000, will get pregnant the year after their partner has a vasectomy.

Process:

A vasectomy is a minor procedure in which the drainage of sperm out of the testicle is interrupted. The result is an ejaculate that is without sperm. For a conventional vasectomy, 1 or 2 small cuts are made in the skin of the scrotum to reach the vas deferens. The vas deferens is cut and a small piece may be removed, leaving a short gap between the 2 ends. Next, the urologist may sear the ends of the vas, and then tie the cut ends with a suture. These steps are then repeated on the other vas, either through the same cut or through a new one. The scrotal cuts may be closed with dissolvable stitches or allowed to close on their own.

Recovery:

The recovery time needed after a vasectomy is relatively short. You will need to rest for at least 24 hours, and participate in minimal activity for 2-3 days post-surgery. Avoid sports and heavy-lifting to prevent scrotum pain and/or bleeding.

Possible side effects include:

  • Bleeding or a blood clot (hematoma) inside the scrotum.

  • Blood in your semen.

  • Bruising of your scrotum.

  • Infection of the surgery site (your doctor will tell you how to prevent this)

  • Mild pain, discomfort or swelling

* Contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the above.

If you have any more questions regarding vasectomies, reach out to your local Athens Area Urology office today using the “Contact Us” tab on our website.


ED Treatment Options

If you are a man struggling with erectile problems, you are not alone, and there is a solution for you. Erectile dysfunction affects over 30 million men. Oftentimes, men think they are stuck with this issue forever, but luckily, that is not the case. Athens Area Urology treats thousands of men each year for ED. At Athens Area Urology, there are ED treatment options for you.

Listed below are some common erectile dysfunction common causes:

  1. Blood flow

  2. Hormones

  3. Nerve supply

Physical causes of ED:

  1. Heart disease

  2. Diabetes

  3. High cholesterol

  4. High blood pressure

  5. Obesity

Psychological causes:

  1. Guilt

  2. Intimacy issues

  3. Depression

  4. Anxiety

There are various erectile dysfunction treatments that can help make you and your partner be fulfilled and happy in your relationship. Here are some ED treatment options that we suggest:

  1. Oral medications

  2. Other types of medications

  3. Exercise

  4. Counseling

  5. Implants or surgery

If you suffer from ED, there are options for you. Consult an erectile dysfunction doctor to find out what might be causing it and what the best treatment option for you is. At Athens Area Urology, we want to help you solve this issue by coming up with a treatment that works for you.


Best Times to Schedule a Vasectomy:

If you are looking to have a vasectomy, but don’t want to miss out on those big life events, Your urologist in Athens GA has compiled a list of perfect times to get the surgery. These key times will allow you to just relax after a vasectomy, where you get to reap the benefits of lounging on the couch without missing out on the excitement of life!

  1. March Madness (March 19th - April 8th)- Basketball fans love March Madness, and what better than getting to relax on the couch and stay updated on all of the games. Getting a vasectomy during March Madness means that you will get to spend your time watching a game you love!

  2. NFL Playoff through Super Bowl (January 12th - February 3rd)- For the football fans, NFL Playoffs are an exciting time to see who will make it to the Super Bowl, and we all know you want to be watching those games. Knock out two birds with one stone by getting a vasectomy and giving yourself time to watch those games!

  3. Masters (April 11th - April 14th)- The golf lovers understand that watching the Masters is a big deal, so why not get your vasectomy in time to watch all of the Masters that you want! You will be able to relax on the couch and stay up-to-date on the Masters!

  4. Ryder Cup (September 2020)- If you are on the fence about getting a vasectomy, you have time to decide, as the Ryder Cup is not until 2020, but is another perfect time for this procedure. You will get to watch the world’s best golfers while recovering.

Contact Athens Area Urology if you are interested in getting a vasectomy, and we can provide you with more information. We want to make this procedure as easy and comfortable as we can for you, and we believe that getting the surgery done at one of these times will provide you with entertainment as you recover.