Urologist Dr. Perry Weiner explains symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore and hope they go away. Now is not the time to delay your care.
Have you ever experienced a weird health symptom and thought, “I don’t need to visit the doctor, this will probably just clear up on its own”? You’re not alone—many people tend to ignore mild symptoms until they become a bigger problem. In reality, you should be asking your doctor about any changes in your body, even if they seem small.
“Many men delay seeking care for their health problems because they think they’re indestructible,” says urologist Dr. Perry Weiner. “But, the longer you wait, the worse your condition can get.”
If you’re a man or a person assigned male at birth, here are some symptoms that your doctor doesn’t want you to ignore.
If you’re experiencing pain when you urinate, the persistent urge to use the bathroom, a feeling of constant fullness in the bladder or difficulty starting to urinate, these could all be signs of a greater issue. “Many people think that urgency and frequency of urination is just a part of getting older, but that’s a myth,” says Dr. Weiner. “Too many people tend to accept their new bathroom routines because they think it’s normal, but these symptoms can be signs of a serious illness.”
Problems urinating can point to recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) or sometimes an enlarged prostate.
Blood in your urine
If you’re seeing blood in your urine, it’s time to visit your doctor. When the blood is accompanied by some of the symptoms listed above—pain, urgency and frequency of urination—it could point to an infection or enlarged prostate.
Painless bleeding, however, can indicate something more serious. “If you see blood in your urine but don’t have pain, it could be a sign of bladder cancer or kidney stones, and should be addressed by a doctor immediately,” says Dr. Weiner.
Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
You should be able to achieve and maintain an adequate erection for the duration of sexual activity. “Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection can be a sign of greater issues,” says Dr. Weiner. “People are often uncomfortable talking about these issues, but it’s important to bring up this change in your body with your doctor.”
Oftentimes, difficulty with erection can be an early warning sign for heart conditions—including heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure.
Living a healthy life
While you shouldn’t delay care once a symptom arises, it’s also important to visit your doctor regularly to stay informed about your health and how to improve and maintain it. Dr. Weiner has the following tips for men and people assigned male at birth to keep up with their health throughout life:
- Talk to your family about their health and take note if any family members have a history of kidney stones or disease, prostate cancer, breast cancer, Lynch syndrome or Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome
- If you’re over 50, have an annual rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test
- Get familiar with what’s normal for your body and conduct self-examinations regularly
- Don’t smoke and limit alcohol use
- Exercise for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times per week
- Eat a healthy low-fat diet
- Drink plenty of fluids and don’t hold urine for long periods of time
If you experience any changes in your body or have questions about your health, reach out to your primary care provider for guidance.
[Main photo credit: iStock.com/fizkes]