common urologic tests laid out on a table

In our last blog, How to Prepare for Your Urology Appointment, we briefly discussed some of the common tests that one may experience at their appointment with a urologic doctor. Most appointments consist of a physical exam, and other possible blood tests and imaging techniques depending on the reason for the visit. Urologic tests are not just limited to blood tests. In some cases, urine tests or other analyses may become necessary. In this blog, we wanted to explain the other types of urologic tests and how they can help diagnose urologic problems. 

Exams

Physical Exam

Similar to physical exams administered by other doctors, this exam is typical with most visits to the urologist’s office. In a physical exam conducted by a urologist, you can expect an examination of whatever is causing the issue, whether it be the urinary tract, the testicles, or the penis. 

Digital Rectal Exam

 To examine the prostate, urologists will typically administer a digital rectal exam. This exam is a screening exam that can help identify problems in the rectum’s walls and prostate.

Blood Tests

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)

A PSA blood test can help detect the underlying cause of prostate inflammation. While these tests cannot diagnose prostate cancer, it can be indicative of high levels of inflammation associated with a risk of prostate cancer. If high levels of inflammation are found, additional tests will likely become necessary. 

Creatinine and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN)

If the cause of the urologic problem is associated with the kidneys, a creatinine and blood urea nitrogen test can help assess how the kidneys are functioning through a measurement of creatinine. High levels of creatinine are often indicative of kidney dysfunction, though depending on the ratios of creatinine to blood urea nitrogen, your urologist can likely make a diagnosis.

Testosterone Blood Tests

When men face issues relating to erectile dysfunction, testosterone blood tests can help reveal testosterone levels. Low testosterone levels are a common cause of erectile dysfunction.

Urine Tests

Urine tests can help urologists gather more information before a diagnosis, and in some cases may be necessary in place of a blood test.

Urinalysis

A urinalysis is the most common urine test and is used to test for bacteria, foreign materials, and blood cells. This test can also help to determine urinary tract infections, diabetes, and early stages of diseases. While it is common to have a urinalysis at a urologist’s office, it’s also typical for general physicians to administer this test as well.

Urine Cultures

Urine cultures allow for a more intensive look to determine the presence of bacteria in the urine. Not only does this test allow for a closer look, but it also allows for antibiotic testing to help determine the best treatment.

24-Hour Urine Test

To help determine kidney health, you may be instructed to carry out a 24-hour urine test. In this test you will need to collect all urine you eliminate in a 24 hour period. This collection will then be analyzed to check for normal levels of specific substances within the urine.

Imaging Techniques

In addition to ultrasounds, urologists may use specific types of x-rays to help check for issues in the urinary tract. For abdominal pain associated with the urinary system, a kidney, ureter, and bladder x-ray may be able to determine the cause. An intravenous pyelogram x-ray uses a dye to help pinpoint problems within the urinary tract. A voiding cystourethrogram can be used to identify problems with the bladder.

Cystoscopy

A cystoscopy is the insertion of a small telescope through the urethra and into the bladder to search for and diagnose abnormalities and problems. This test is more invasive than the others and requires local anesthesia.

Semen Analysis

Seminogram

Seminograms can help shed light on any problems associated with infertility. During this analysis, the strength of a male’s sperm, including motility and quality, can be determined. Seminograms are also used following a vasectomy to ensure the success of the procedure.

Make an Appointment

If you are experiencing any urologic problems, or if you have any questions about applicable urologic tests, schedule an appointment with one of our providers. Our team has years of experience treating issues relating to the urinary tract, male infertility, pelvic floor dysfunction, and more. You can call Alliance Urology Specialists in Greensboro at (336) 274-1114.