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Understanding Urology Diagnostics

Urology is a specific field of medicine that examines and treats both males’ and females’ urinary tracts. A urologist can treat a person with an ongoing condition or disease and offer continuous medication, lifestyle changes, and possible surgical treatment. But, determining what is ailing a person is the first step to treating any disease or condition. To do so, a urologist will often perform one or several diagnostic tests. Let’s examine some everyday urology diagnostic tests in more detail to prepare you for your upcoming appointment better.

Blood Work

Like other conditions and diseases, sometimes urological disease will show its first signs of infection as blood indicators. A doctor may require a blood draw and test to look for specific markers in a patient’s blood. Some standard blood tests can include:

  • PSA Blood Test – This test is used to look for signs of inflammation in the prostate gland. The test works by measuring the amount of protein released from the prostate. Increased protein is one of the first signs of inflammation. While this test cannot diagnose prostate cancer, it may diagnose inflammation, which could be a sign of cancer.
  • Testosterone Blood Test – For males with erectile dysfunction, a testosterone test may be the first step to diagnose potential causes for the condition. This test will examine and measure the testosterone level in the blood and help the doctor start a successful treatment plan.
  • BUN Blood Test – Often referred to as the BUN blood test, this is a creatine and blood urea nitrogen test. The test is used to determine kidney function by measuring the amount of creatine in the blood. High levels of creatine may indicate the kidneys are not functioning correctly.

Semen Examination

When males are struggling with fertility issues, a urologist may perform a semen analysis. This diagnostic test is a routine exam that is regularly performed in the doctor’s office. A sample is collected and then sent to a laboratory. Both the strength of the sperm and the amount of sperm are measured. Often, this is the first step to help a male struggling with fertility issues.

Urine Analysis

If a doctor does not need to do blood work to make a diagnosis, he or she may ask for a urine sample. The patient’s urine is collected in a sterile cup and sent to a laboratory for further testing. Several types of urine tests can be performed with a urine sample, including:

  • Urine Culture – Urine is tested to determine if bacteria will grow in the sample. Developing a culture from a sample can help determine if a bacterial infection is present.
  • 24-Hour Test – Urine is examined through a total of 24 hours to determine if the sample has the right amount of chemical and mineral levels consistent with healthy kidney function
  • Urinalysis – This full panel test is often performed to get a baseline for overall health or search for a specific condition or disease. A urinalysis can help detect a urinary tract infection, possible diabetes, or underlying markers and indicators that may suggest kidney disease is present.

Imaging

Sometimes, a simple diagnostic image is needed to help examine the health of the urinary tract. Depending on the condition, ailment, and possible symptoms, a doctor may request one or several imaging techniques. An ultrasound, which pulses ultrasonic waves into the body, which are then reflected on an imaging screen read by a technician, is a common imaging technique used for diagnostics. A doctor may also request an X-Ray or an MRI to examine and look at the urinary tract and kidneys in more detail.

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