Dr. William Armstrong, board-certified urologist at Urology Tyler, will lead the Thursday Walk With a Doc program.
The topic will be "Medical Causes of Urinary Symptoms."
Walk With a Doc, a project of the Smith County Medical Society, begins at 6 p.m. Thursday at Rose Rudman Recreational Trail's Copeland Road trailhead, followed by walking.
Q: Is there such thing as normal urinary function? Don't we all have different bathroom habits?
A: Certainly we all have different habits, and many of our differences can still all be considered "normal," but there are also accepted norms when it comes to urinary function, and deviations can often be a sign of a medical condition. Urinary problems can develop slowly over time, so what we consider "normal" can sometimes be an abnormal pattern that we have simply gotten used to.
Q: Why do some people seem to always need to rush to the bathroom while others only go a couple of times a day?
A: This is a complicated question. In men, prostate problems can sometimes manifest as increased urinary frequency. In both men and women, bladder overactivity or other bladder conditions can lead to more frequent trips to the bathroom. Diabetes and other medical conditions and certain medications can also affect urinary frequency and other urinary symptoms. The urologist's job is to look at the individual risk factors and specific situation in order to answer that question.
Q: What are some reasons a person might need to be worried about their urinary symptoms?
A: In some cases urinary symptoms can be a sign of a more serious condition such as urinary retention, which can cause progressive damage to the bladder or kidneys, or even rarely bladder or prostate cancer. Any visible blood in the urine should absolutely be evaluated by a urologist. My general recommendation is for any patient who has bothersome urinary symptoms to get evaluated. There may not be a serious problem, but as I said before, changes in urinary habits often happen slowly. Just because urinary symptoms may develop as we age doesn't mean we have to live with them.
Q: How can we keep our urinary tracts healthy?
A: One of the best ways to maintain a healthy urinary tract is to manage any other medical conditions well, specifically high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which can cause bladder and kidney damage. Staying well hydrated is important, especially during hot summer months, and so is having regular physicals that include kidney function and urine checks. In general, try to be aware of any concerning changes in urinary habit changes, and seek medical help if something bothers you or doesn't seem right.