When Not to Wait to Seek Medical Care From a Urologist

Couple exercising after visiting urologist | Pacific Urology | East SF Bay Area


The issues you might be “dealing with” on your own could be a UTI, kidney stone or bladder problem that can only get worse

Dr. Sethi provides insight on those symptoms that may indicate it’s time to seek his care or that of another urologist in our practice. Although symptoms can be easy to ignore, he explains how seeking care when they do arise, maintaining regular checkups, and being diligent about treatment is important to avoid complications and stay healthy.


It can be hard to decide if symptoms are serious enough to see a doctor. What are some red flags that it’s time to see a urologist?

A: Blood in the urine, not able to empty your bladder, severe pain greater than 6 on a scale of 1-10, and fever greater than 101º Fahrenheit with urinary symptoms.

Some symptoms are fairly benign or chronic but mild, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI). At what point do these common ailments warrant intervention or concern?

A: More than three UTIs in 6 months or a UTI accompanied by fever or flank pain.

Related Reading: Understanding the All Too Common UTI & UTI Symptoms

When should someone see a urologist instead of a primary care physician or other specialist?

A: It is always good to talk to your primary care physician about your health conditions. The following conditions may need urgent intervention and you may need to see a urologist right away:

  • Visible blood in urine.
  • Flank pain with previous history of kidney stones.
  • Not able to empty your bladder for more than 6 hours.
  • UTI with fever greater than 101º F.

Is it time to see a urologist?

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What advice do you have for first-time patients who may have put off seeing a urologist?

A: Call the office and make an appointment, depending on the urgency of the situation. We may order imaging studies or lab tests prior to your visit to help in evaluation and management of your condition.


What is one of the more common reasons older people delay or defer treatment? What response or advice do you have for them?

A: The most common reason for the delay is, “I’m getting older, so weak urinary steam or a little leakage of urine is normal at my age.” Delaying treatment may cause irreversible damage to your bladder. Frequent urination may cause social inconvenience, but more important, if you are getting up and going to the bathroom too often at night, there are increased chances of stumbling in the dark and falling over and hurting yourself. There is definite increased incidence of injuries due to falling in older age.


What issues or complications can arise if a patient doesn’t seek care quick enough?

A: Causing irreversible damage to bladder and kidneys. A large amount of urinary retention may lead to increased infections, blood in the urine, kidney and bladder stones, urinary incontinence and even kidney failure.


Do patients always need to see a physician in person, or in these times of COVID-19 can some conditions be diagnosed or reviewed during a telemedicine appointment or by calling the practice?

A: It depends on the individual condition. We can evaluate and give advice on a lot of urinary conditions with telehealth appointments. If a patient needs a procedure he or she will need to visit an appropriate facility.

Concerned your symptoms may indicate a problem? Schedule a telemedicine consultation with Pacific Urology to find out how we can help.

Telemedicine visit

How important are regular checkups with a urologist?

A: Regular checkups help keep an eye on your bladder and prostate conditions because delayed treatments may lead to the complications mentioned above. Frequency of checkups is variable depending on the condition. Most patients need an annual urology checkup.

Related Reading: Cutting Edge Technology Fights Prostate Cancer

Any words of wisdom for patients who have put off seeing a urology specialist?

A: Putting off your checkup can only make a urological condition worse. And it can lead to undesired complications and worse, because if the condition advances, it may be irreversible.