When it comes to women’s health and well-being, the urinary system is either ignored or taken for granted. Most of the time, women are embarrassed to consult urologists or gynaecologists, and some fear that even a simple consultation might be intrusive and uncover grave issues.
It is extremely important to take good care of your urinary system, especially if you’re a woman, because if there’s a problem which remains ignored, it can lead to many grave health complications.
The urethra of a woman, or the tube connected to the urinary bladder from which the urine is passed out of the body, is smaller than that of a man. This is also one of the reasons why women have higher chances of contracting urinary tract infections (UTIs).
A common myth persists that urologists are meant only for men. No, ladies! You must also consult a urologist if you are facing issues or noticing certain symptoms.
At times, it can be tough to decide whether you should visit a urologist or a gynaecologist, which is. Why it is important to understand the difference between a urologist and a gynaecologist. A urologist treats infections pertaining to the urinary tract, which is a complex system made of tubes, muscles, and organs like the urinary bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra. A gynaecologist, on the other hand, should be approached for menstrual or any issues related to the reproductive system. If a urological condition is ignored, it could potentially spread to one or both of the kidneys and infect them. This could further enter your bloodstream and lead to something fatal. All these reasons should be enough for women to understand the importance of maintaining good urological health.
Listed below are some symptoms of urological issues that must not be ignored:
If it burns while urinating or Dysuria: Apart from this being a potential symptom of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it also indicates the possibility of a urinary tract infection. If you are finding it difficult to pass urine, it could mean an onset of any of the urinary infections, which can be as grave as kidney stones. Consult a urologist and identify the issue to get it treated before it advances.
If you’re passing blood with urine or passing cloudy/dark urine: This may not always be because of an infection, and may have to do with what you have eaten during your previous meal or snack. Fruit and vegetables like berries or beetroot can cause your urine to change colour.
But if you’re sure the urine is bloody or cloudy, then you might have a condition called hematuria. It could potentially indicate a serious disorder of the urinary system like enlarged prostate, kidney infection, or in worse cases, cancer. Hence, it is better to visit a urologist and get your urine tested.
Pain on the sides of your lower back or in the abdomen area: This is a common symptom that you can get while you’re approaching your period or are going through menopause. However, if you suffer chronic, piercing pain on any of the sides of your lower back or the abdomen area, you must visit the urologist.
You suffer from UTIs frequently: If you’ve been diagnosed with UTI twice or more in six months, it’s best to consult a urologist. Frequent UTIs could mean you may have bladder or kidney stones, or a serious abnormality in the urinary tract. If unattended or ignored, this could lead to a more grave condition of the kidneys or the urological system.
Constipation is chronic: If you’re already hydrating yourself well and are consuming a good amount of fibre, and yet you suffer from chronic constipation, then there might be a problem with your urinary tract.
You find it hard to control your bladder: Urinary Incontinence, or the inability to control the bladder, can indicate that there’s something wrong down there. It’s best to consult a urologist in this case.
As you age, so do your organs and hence they become more prone to infections like UTIs. It is more prevalent in ageing women with existing mental health issues like dementia or Alzheimer's, and physiological issues like kidney ailments, diabetes etc. Hence, women must take great care of their urinary system.
For the overall health of your urinary and reproductive system, it is advisable to inculcate healthy eating habits, get regular exercise and stay away from harmful habits like cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)