Clinical Surgeries

stress-incontinence

What is Stress Incontinence?

Urinary incontinence is an issue that some sufferers may feel embarrassed about, but might be relieved to hear is more common than they realise. It is also usually very treatable – with treatments ranging from exercises, to various surgery options or medication, depending on the nature of the condition and its cause.

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Is There a Link Between Testicular and Prostate Cancers?

Medical exam

A new US study done at the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine has found that men who have had testicular cancer may be at a higher risk of prostate cancer.

The rate of prostate cancer in men who had previously had testicular cancer was 12.6%, compared to 2.8% for those who had not. They were also five times more likely to develop intermediate or high-risk prostate cancer than men who had not had testicular cancer.

What is testicular cancer?

Unlike cancer of the prostate, testicular cancer – or cancer of the testes – is mostly a younger man’s disease. According to the government’s Better Health Channel, testicular cancer is relatively rare, but is still the second most common cancer in men aged 18-39, with the rate of the disease having grown by 50% in the last 30 years.

Symptoms may include a lump in the testes, a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, and / or a persistent ache in the affected testicle or in the lower abdomen – although it may present with no symptoms at all. Diagnosis is often done through an ultrasound and blood tests.

Testicular cancer in most cases can be successfully treated. Treatments include surgical removal of the affected testicle, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. If left untreated, testicular cancer may spread to the lymph glands and other organs – most often the lungs.

Risk factors include undescended testes in childhood, a family history of the disease, penile abnormalities, and complications from mumps.

What is the link to prostate cancer?

At this stage if there is a link between the two diseases, the reason for it is unknown. In most cases examined in the study, the men who had had both diseases contracted prostate cancer 30 years after the first diagnosis of testicular cancer – a considerable length of time, especially if a link between the two does exist.

The evidence is not yet conclusive, and it’s clear that more research needs to be carried out. While there haven’t been any recommendations for medical practitioners at this stage, the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand recommends that men who have had testicular cancer should visit their doctor to discuss having a prostate cancer test.

Reducing the risk

Whether you have had testicular cancer or not, there are some steps you can take that may help to reduce your risk of prostate cancer. These include following a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise and a diet rich in plant foods, and reducing weight, quitting smoking and avoiding excess alcohol.

In any case, if you have had testicular cancer in your younger years, you should consider getting a prostate cancer screening. Your doctor or a urologist in Sydney will be able to help you with this and to provide more information on the disease.

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The Importance of Water for Healthy Kidney Function

Some years ago, Kidney Health Australia (KHA) put out a position statement on water. The statement, called ‘Drink Water Instead’, highlighted the importance of water in maintaining kidney health. This is because without adequate water, our kidneys suffer and cannot properly function.

What is the function of the kidneys?

The kidneys perform a role that is rather like a very efficient waste disposal unit. Without kidney function, we would die within a matter of days – which is clearly why we have two of them! Even if one fails, the other one can continue the job as long as it is healthy.

The main role of the kidneys is to filter out and collect waste materials – such as unwanted chemicals, excess fluid and unneeded nutrients – and combine them with water to create urine for elimination via the bladder. This filtering process can happen hundreds of times a day and yet most of us probably never give it a second thought – that is until we develop an uncomfortable problem such as a kidney stone, or a urinary tract infection!

The kidneys also have a number of other roles, including balancing the volume of minerals and fluids in the body, and producing hormones and enzymes that make red blood cells and are involved in the control of blood pressure and maintenance of bone health.

Looking after our kidneys

We tend to hear a lot about looking after our heart health and taking care of our skin and bones, but not much about the kidneys – even though our lives depend upon them!

Keeping well hydrated is essential, especially as between two and three litres of water is lost every day through elimination and also through the skin and lungs. Water is considered preferable to sugar-based drinks, as the latter may affect dental health and are also associated with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) when taken to excess.

How much water should we drink?

As long as we are generally healthy, there are no set rules about how much water we should drink. It depends upon a number of factors such as environment and lifestyle. For instance, if someone lives in a tropical region, or does strenuous work or exercise, their fluid needs are going to be higher than those of someone living in a more temperate zone with a sedentary occupation.

At one time it was stated that all adults should drink at least two litres of water per day. However, the KHA position is that we should drink according to thirst, and that caffeinated and sugared drinks should be limited. There are some exceptions to this – for instance if someone has had a kidney stone, it is recommended that they drink at least two litres per day to reduce the risk of another one.

People with certain health conditions – including end-stage renal failure – may need to reduce their fluid intake in accordance with their doctor’s advice.

As well as getting adequate water each day, maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise and quitting smoking if necessary can also help keep the kidneys in good health. Alcohol should be limited as it has a dehydrating effect on the body, and reducing salt may help to lower the risk of kidney stones.

If you suffer from kidney stones you should see your doctor or a kidney stone specialist to discuss treatments such as kidney stone removal and measures to reduce your risk level.

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