Urology Awareness Month
Urology Awareness Month is organised by The Urology Foundation and falls in September. It gives a chance to campaign for all urological conditions.
What is the aim of Urology Awareness Month?
Urology Awareness Month aims to raise awareness and educate people on urological disease, as well as raise money to help fund new research into these conditions. A staggering 1 in 2 of people will have a urological condition once in our lifetime.
The prevalence of urological conditions has increased in recent times and can negatively affect a person’s quality of life. These conditions can affect the kidneys, bladder, prostate and the male reproductive system.
Urology Awareness Month focuses on getting rid of the stigma surrounding urological conditions, while encouraging people to speak about their condition and take their urological health seriously. The Urology Foundation aim to do this by “working with local communities and businesses to promote urology health, through health and wellbeing talks and providing information”.
The umbrella term “urological conditions” encompass numerous diseases. The five most common conditions are –
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
An enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is not life threatening, but can cause a lot of problems for the patient. An enlarged prostate is more common in people aged over 50 and can affect how you pass urine.
The prostate is part of the male reproductive system which is found between the bladder and the penis. The enlargement of the prostate can put pressure on the bladder and the urethra which can cause a few problems including difficulty passing urine, the feeling you need to pass urine frequently difficulty fully emptying the bladder.
Treatment of an enlarged prostate will depend on the severity of the symptoms. If the problem is mild the patient will most probably be advised to drink less alcohol, caffeine and fizzy drinks, stay away from artificial sweeteners, exercise more and drink less in the evening. Medication could be used in moderate cases, and surgery may be required for severe prostate enlargement.
Bladder weakness or urinary incontinence is where you have limited to no control over when you pass urine. There are four different types of weak bladders which are stress incontinence (urine leaks when you cough or laugh), urge incontinence (sudden, intense urge to pass urine), overflow incontinence (unable to fully empty your bladder which causes leakage) and total incontinence (when your bladder can’t store urine at all and urine leaks frequently).
Nocturnal Enuresis (wetting the bed) is a common form of incontinence also, affecting people of all ages. It can start as early as infancy and is linked to those people who produce a high volume of urine during the night. If you have bladder weakness, you can often wet the bed as your muscles are even more relaxed.
The causes of each type of bladder weakness vary from a weakened pelvic floor, overactive muscles controlling the bladder, blockages to the bladder, birth defects, spinal damage or a bladder fistula. There are also certain things that can increase the risk of having a weakened bladder which includes pregnancy, obesity, family history of bladder weakness and increasing age.
To help combat bladder weakness, it’s recommended that the patient should change their lifestyle, which could mean losing weight and cutting down on alcohol and caffeine. Also, they can try and train the muscles around the bladder to try and strengthen them, which in turn strengthens the bladder.
While they are putting these regimes in place, there are products and medication that can help manage symptoms and limit the effect bladder weakness has on the person’s day to day life.
Urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are a common condition that can affect the bladder, kidneys and connecting tubes. UTI’s can be painful, but generally pass within a few days and can be treated with antibiotics.
Symptoms of a UTI can be classed on lower UTI’s (bladder or urethra) or upper UTI’s (kidneys or ureters). The symptoms of lower UTI’s include a frequent urge to urinate, pain while urinating, sudden urges to urinate, inability to empty your bladder fully, pain in the lower abdomen, cloudy urine, smelly urine and generally feeling unwell. The symptoms of upper UTI’s include a high temperature, pain in your sides or back, shivering and chills, feeling sick, confusion and agitation.
Lower UTI’s are less serious than upper UTI’s, as upper UTI’s need to be treated as soon as possible to protect the kidneys and to stop the infection spreading to the bloodstream. UTI’s are usually treated with antibiotics and symptoms will usually pass after 3 to 5 days. Over the counter pain relief can help with any pain and drinking lots of water can help also.
Kidney stones are quite common with 3 in 20 men and 2 in 20 women suffering with them. They occur most commonly in those aged 30-60 and can be extremely painful. Kidney stones are caused by the waste products in the blood crystallising and forming stone like balls in the kidneys. The body will then try and get rid of them through the bladder and the connecting tubes, along with your urine.
Symptoms will usually only occur if the stone is sizeable and blocks part of the urinary system, and they can, in some cases, cause infection. Symptoms can include a constant ache in the lower back or groin, periods of intense pain in their back or side of the abdomen (lasting minutes or hours), inability to lie still for long, nausea, urinating more often, pain while urinating and blood in the urine.
How can Ashtons help?
Ashtons has a wide range of products that can help with incontinence in your patients. Among the products we provide are Catheterisation & Sheaths, Day & Night Bags, Incontinence Pads and Pants and Gloves. To view our full range of Continence Care products please visit our online ordering website, call us on 0345 222 3550 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continence products are also listed in our Medical Supplies Catalogue under ‘Continence & Ostomy Care’ on page 30.
If you are not currently an Ashtons client, but are interested in our range of medical supplies or setting up an account to order online, please call us on 0345 222 3550 or click here for further information on Ashtons and how to contact us.