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Local Pediatric Information: Undescended Testicles

Cryptorchidism – the condition known as undescended testicles – is the most common genital abnormality in boys. While growing in his mother’s womb, a baby boy’s testicles normally form within the abdomen and later descend into the scrotum just before he is born. Cryptorchidism takes place when that movement does not occur.

Symptoms and Statistics

The health condition of undescended testicles affects approximately 4% of baby boys born at term and 30% of boys born prematurely. Of those, most of their testicles will descend naturally within the first three months of life. If, however, the testicles do not descend within those three months, treatment will be required, as the testicles will no longer naturally descend after that point. 1 or 2 boys out of 100 will end up needing treatment

The symptom of cryptorchidism is not seeing a testicle where one would normally “expect” to find it – in the scrotum

Diagnosis, Next Steps and When to Seek Medical Treatment

Typically, an undescended testicle will be noticed by the doctor providing the examination after birth. Parents should ask their doctor how often they need to check to see if the testicle descends on its own.

It is crucial to treat undescended testicles early in life, as cryptorchidism has been linked to such health risks as infertility and testicular cancer later in life.

Some older boys, ages 4 months through pre-adolescence, may seem to “lose” a testicle that was previously visible. This can be a symptom of either:

  • Retracted Testicle – a testicle that moves between the scrotum and the groin and can be guided into the scrotum during a physical exam. This condition is not abnormal or considered a health risk.
  • Ascending Testicle – a testicle that has moved back into the groin and cannot easily be moved back into the scrotum by hand. This condition requires medical attention.

Parents who notice a change in their son’s genitals or are concerned about the development of his genital organs are urged to contact their family pediatrician or urologist.

Potential causes or contributing factors to undescended testicles include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Family history of testicular problems
  • Alcohol or tobacco use by the mother while pregnant
  • Premature birth
  • Parental exposure to some chemicals and pesticides before conception

Parents seeking medical attention for their son in regards to cryptorchidism should notify their provider if they experienced any of these conditions.

Associated Urologists of North Carolina is committed to providing exceptional pediatric care, and if your child is experiencing symptoms related to organ development or other urological problems, our board certified specialists can bring your family and child peace of mind. Our main branch and administrative office, located at 3821 Ed Drive, Raleigh, NC 27612, can be reached at 919-758-8677, and the contact information and driving directions for all eight regional AUNC clinics can be found at our contact page.

Prostatitis Facts and Men’s Health

Prostatitis, and the pelvic pain associated with it, is considered one of the most common urological problems men face. Since prostatitis can affect men of any age, it accounts for nearly 25% of all men’s visits to their medical providers in regards to pelvic or urological issues. Chronic prostatitis (when the symptoms will not go away) is the number one cause of visits to a specialist in men under 50 years of age.  

Causes and Symptoms

Generally, bladder infections and inflammation cause the symptoms of prostatitis. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty and/or pain when urinating
  • Frequent need to urinate, often at night
  • Pain in the bladder or between the sexual organs and the anus
  • Difficulty and sometimes painful ejaculation
  • Fever or chills
  • Intense burning sensation when urinating
  • Difficulty fully emptying bladder

Diagnosis and Next Steps

If a patient’s family doctor suspects prostatitis, he or she will likely refer the patient to a urologist. Patients should be prepared to undergo a comprehensive physical exam that may include a digital rectal examination (DRE), in order to whether the prostate gland has become enlarged or is tender. During the DRE, the provider will examine the rectum with a lubricated gloved finger, checking the prostate and also for any signs of prostate cancer. Patients undergoing a DRE will be asked by the provider to indicate levels of pain when tissue near the prostate is pressed.

If the DRE does not provide a full diagnosis, a provider may order other tests, including taking urine specimens, ultrasounds, urodynamics (urine flow studies), or a cystoscopy.

Patients suffering from any of the symptoms of prostatitis, or from any pain in the prostate, should contact a urology specialist immediately.

Some conditions that may contribute to prostatitis include:

  • Recent insertion of a catheter or other medical instrument in the urethra
  • Recent bladder infections
  • Abnormal urinary tract or multiple urinary tract infections
  • Engagement in rectal intercourse
  • Enlarged prostate

Patients for whom any of these conditions are present should notify their providers during their initial visit.

If you have been suffering pain in or around your prostate and are concerned you may be suffering from prostatitis, Associated Urologists of North Carolina’s board certified specialists offer personalized care for every one of their patients. Their main branch and administrative office is located at 3821 Ed Drive, Raleigh, NC 27612 and can be reached at 919-758-8723. Contact information and driving directions for all eight of AUNC’s offices throughout the region can be found at our “Contact Us” page on our website.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Info for North Carolinians

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is the enlarging of the prostate gland. It is a very common condition for men over 60 and is often seen as simply a natural part of the aging process. While this condition may be a discomfort and can cause many urinary symptoms, it is not usually dangerous. There are treatments that should however be considered for quality of life.

The prostate gland is a small walnut-shaped gland that is beneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra. The urethra carries urine outside the body however, so as the prostate enlargens it can pinch the urethra. This pressure on the urethra will often weaken the stream and require more effort to void the bladder.

Symptoms from this pressure on the urethra include: a frequent urge to urinate, needing to urinate at night, the inability to easily start urination, dribbling after one attempts to finish urination and a weak, inconsistent stream. Sexual function should not be affected. If symptoms advance, a blockage of the urethra is possible. This would prevent any urine from being expelled and would cause a serious problem with trapped urine.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is not connected to prostate cancer and is not a sign of cancer. Symptoms are often similar between the two conditions though, so it’s important to have a physician examine your prostate if you believe you are showing signs of BPH. The majority of men do experience prostate enlargement as they age, so it is not a cause for alarm if you are diagnosed with the BPH. With medications and certain lifestyle changes, like not drinking too much liquid before bed it is very possible to learn to live with BPH.

For more serious cases, surgery may be necessary. This is not often the case, though. Men with BPH should watch out for blood in urine, fever and chills or more intense pain in the lower abdomen, since those are signs of a more serious blockage. If you are having concerning symptoms you believe may be benign prostatic hyperplasia you should see a urologist at your next convenience to get an exam.

Associated Urologists of North Carolina have offices in Raleigh, Brier Creek, Apex, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Wake Forest, Clayton, Dunn, Clinton and are very knowledgeable on how to handle uncomfortable symptoms that occur as the prostate changes with age. It can be frustrating to have to deal with these symptoms, but you may not have to. Call 919-758-8677 today to set up an appointment.