When my husband and I really want to reconnect and relax, we book the grandparents and take off to a meeting of the American Urological Association, held each year in a major U.S. city. While there, he indulges in hours of lectures on the latest advances in urological care while I roam our destination solo and delight in the temporary status of being Mom Uninterrupted.
According to the AUA website, “Urology is a surgical specialty which deals with diseases of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs.”
Physicians belonging to the Rod Squad or Stream Team, testify that describing their professional designation at parties can ignite chuckles. That is until the reveler accidentally pees their pants.
This year’s meeting was held at the San Diego Convention Center, right on the water. The AUA estimates that 16,000 attendees were present from all over the world.
Blissfully strolling past hoards of physicians wearing tags with their name and country printed in bold, ignited a need to cash in on the wealth of cutting edge medical information literally at my fingertips.
I decided to stop shopping for politically charged souvenirs, get out my notebook and start asking randomly chosen urologists for the best piece of urological advice they had ever received.
Due to the abundance, access and biological anatomy of this information, I titled this project Low Hanging Fruit. My husband recoiled at the entire idea and banned me from approaching other doctors in his presence. I of course completely disregarded his wishes and took great joy at mouthing “Low Hanging Fruit” at him immediately prior to cornering participants in an elevator, at a bar or in the handbag section of Nordstrom.
I was pleasantly surprised at how many physicians agreed to chat and share their favorite tip with me and now with you!
“It is very important to drink at least two litres of water every day.”
“Keep your bowels regular to avoid an overactive bladder and urinary retention. Constipation can also cause recurrent urinary tract infections in both kids and adults.”
“Eat a diet high in zinc to maximize prostate health. Include foods such as tomatoes, milk and pumpkin seeds. Bed-wetting is seventy percent hereditary so physicians need a good family history. Avoid giving liquids to children with bed-wetting issues in the evening and wake the child up for one last trip to the bathroom before you go to bed.”
“Always complete the blood and urine tests prescribed by your family doctor. Failure to do so is a guaranteed one way trip to the urologist!”
“Quit smoking. It is a direct cause of both kidney and bladder cancer.”
“Hi my name is Chloe Girvan and I am a writer from Canada. My husband is attending this conference and I am writing an article on the best urology tips from around the world. I was wondering if you would like to provide one?” Look of complete disgust and then, “We do not want anything from you and your husband!” I realized afterwards that the language barrier led this gentleman to believe that I was propositioning him and to be truthful, the rejection still stings.
“I wish there was a greater focus on toilet training education with more emphasis on structured teaching about bladder and bowel function. It is really important to monitor a child’s voiding habits in the first few years and to watch for constipation. Children need to learn how to sit on the toilet properly with foot support if needed. Routine trips to the washroom can really help to avoid accidents.
Parents also need to know that a child’s inability to control their bladder may stem from an immaturity of the neurological response needed for them to voluntarily control their voiding. Babies empty their bladders using a spontaneous uncontrollable reflex. As the brain matures, a child becomes able to control the reflex and therefore ‘hold it’. Sometimes this control develops later and the child is blamed for faultless accidents.
Somehow toilet training has become competitive amongst parents and they feel at fault if their child is late to train. Parents need to know that all bladders are different and systems mature at different rates. We need to provide parents and children with the proper information and support their individual needs.”
“See your doctor on a regular basis. Certain forms of cancer, if caught early on, can be treated with less invasive treatment options.”
“To improve and correct urinary incontinence do Kegel exercises well and often! They truly do work but be evaluated by a physician first to ensure that you know how to do them properly.”
“Never ignore erectile dysfunction as it can be a symptom of underlying cardiovascular disease.”
“Take care of your prostate by getting your first PSA screening at the age of forty. This will provide a baseline reading which can be useful for determining the need and frequency for future screenings.”
“Sign your donor card.”