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Men’s Plumbing: By the Ages

Urologists are physicians who focus on the male and female urinary tract, and the male reproductive organs.  But when should men see a urologist?  WakeMed urologist, Dr. Ian Udell, MD, discussed some of the most common things he sees in men at various ages.


Men in their 20s to 40s

Testicular Cancer

The average age a man is diagnosed with testicular cancer is 33, and it usually has a 95% five-year survival rate. Self-exams are important in early detection. If something doesn’t feel right, see a physician as soon as possible.

  • Symptoms: Hard spot or knot under skin
  • Treatment: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation

Kidney Stones

One in every 11 Americans will experience a kidney stone during his/her lifetime.  Most stones occur because people don’t drink enough water.

  • Symptoms: flank pain, blood in urine, fever, groin pain
  • Treatment: hydration, dietary modification, medicines, surgery
  • CALL the WakeMed Kidney Stone Center at 919-350-ROCK with ANY kidney stone related issues for 24 hour care!!


While infections are more common in women, men can get infections too. They are easily treated with a visit to a physician.

  • Symptoms: frequency, pain, weak stream, blood in urine
  • Treatment: medication (in most cases)

Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more common in men over the age of 50.

  • Symptoms: pain, blood in urine, fever, abdominal pain
  • Treatment: hydration, behavioral modification, antibiotics


Men in their 50s to 70s

Prostate Cancer

One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, and approximately one in 39 will die.

Early detection is key, and it is very treatable when found while still contained in the prostate. To detect prostate cancer, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests should be done regularly based on your individual risk factors. The results should be tracked to identify abnormal elevations in the results.

  • Diagnosis: physical exam, PSA blood test, prostate biopsy and imaging
  • Treatment for localized cancer: active surveillance, surgery, radiation
  • Treatment for metastatic cancer: hormone therapy, chemotherapy, new agents

Kidney Cancer

Kidney cancer is usually discovered incidentally, and has a high survival rate if found early.

  • Symptoms: blood in urine, fatigue, loss of appetite, fever
  • Treatment: Surgery

Bladder Cancer

The biggest risk factor for bladder cancer is smoking.

  • Early Symptoms: blood in the urine, frequent urination, painful urination, back or pelvis pain
  • Treatment: surgery, chemotherapy, radiation

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can occur for many reasons, including: nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, medications, and low testosterone.

  • Treatment: medications, vacuum erection therapy, injections, inflatable penile prosthesis

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is when the prostate is enlarged. It is common among older men.

  • Symptoms: bladder leakage, weak flow, frequent urination
  • Treatment: surgery, medications, catheter

5 Tips for Better Urologic Health

Enjoy better urologic health by following these tips:

  1. Get an annual exam.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. Eat healthy/drink water.
  4. Enjoy life!
  5. Understand your family history.

About Ian Udell, MD

Dr. Ian Udell is a board certified physician in urology. His clinical interests include minimally invasive surgery of the kidney, ureter, bladder, and prostate. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Udell by calling 919-350-1570.