Many urological conditions do not qualify as an emergency because they do not require care or treatment at the very moment they are observed. Urological conditions tend to start with mild symptoms and if gone unchecked for a longer period of time can lead to pain, discomfort or even the need for emergency care.
For this reason, as urology doctors in Dayton, Ohio, we are always encouraging you to visit a urologist at the first signs of urological issues to prevent them from becoming emergencies down the road.
There are some urological conditions, however, that come on quickly and can be viewed as an emergency event. In this case you should seek medical attention right away. Call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room to further evaluate should you have symptoms of any of the following urological emergencies.
Acute Urinary Retention
This is characterized by the sudden inability to urinate. This can cause extreme pain and requires immediate medical attention. Urinary retention can be caused by an obstruction of the bladder or by a disruption between the signals between the nervous system and the bladder.
When you seek emergency medical attention for acute urinary retention, you will likely receive a catheter to drain the bladder which will relieve the pain and discomfort you may be feeling. Next, you may be run through a series of tests in an effort to determine the underlying cause of this sudden inability to empty your bladder.
Testicular torsion ie the sudden onset of pain in the scrotum or lower abdomen. It is also usually characterized by blood in semen, swelling, redness of the scrotum or a lump in the testicle. These symptoms can all indicate that one or more of the blood vessels leading to the testicles has become twisted, therefore cutting off the blood supply.
If these symptoms are not addressed immediately the lack of blood supply to the testicles can lead to tissue death and removal of said testicle. Treatment is possible and often after successful treatment the testicle is held into place to prevent from testicular torsion happening again.
Priapism is what we call a prolonged or painful penile erection. An erection lasting longer than four hours that is not associated with any sexual arousal should be cause for concern. It is likely a sign of insufficient drainage of blood from the penis.
The cause and treatment of priapism can vary as sometimes it is caused by underlying health issues such as blood circulation disorders or leukemia. It can also be a side effect of medications or injections taken to treat erectile dysfunction.
Emergency treatment should be sought for an erection lasting more than 4 hours and will likely include the draining of blood through a needle inserted into the side of the penis.
Paraphimosis is a condition that can affect uncircumcised males. Inflammation can develop in the foreskin of the penis, either as a result of infection, poor hygiene, or trauma to the area. When this occurs, the foreskin retracts and cannot be returned to its normal position, trapping the blood flow and causing the glans (head) to further swell.
It is important to seek emergency medical attention for paraphimosis as tissue death can result. Treatment will reduce the swelling and replace the foreskin over the glans.
This is a rapidly growing gangrenous infection of the genitalia. Fournier’s gangrene is fatal in almost 50% of the cases, so seeking emergency medical attention is extremely important.
This infection is most commonly associated with diabetes but can be caused by a variety of organisms. Symptoms include severe pain to the penis, scrotum or perineum, with redness and tissue death rapidly occurring.
Treatment will include surgically removing the infected and dead tissue and administering a powerful course of antibiotics.
Keep an Eye on Your Health
Most urological conditions are non emergent issues that can be watched closely and treated over time in our clinic. It is important, however, to be aware and keep an eye on your urological health for any emergencies that could affect your body.
Responding quickly and seeking emergency medical attention will be your best course of action to relieve your pain and heal your body.