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Medical testing, bladder problems

Created date

September 24th, 2013
Patient undergoing an MRI

Q. I seem to spend a lot of my time going from place to place having medical tests that have been ordered by specialists. I have several health problems but is all this testing necessary?

A. Advances in the field of medicine and medical technologies in particular have certainly given us better ways to diagnose and treat disease. At the same time, we also know that more is not necessarily better when it comes to sending patients out for frequent testing. It is inconvenient, costly, and redundant in many instances. Many tests can be risky (for example, repeated exposure to radiation associated with x-rays, CT scans, and so on). If a doctor recommends a so-called “routine” test, find out if the result will have the potential to improve your health or change a treatment plan. Make sure all of your providers are communicating so you don’t have to unnecessarily repeat a test. The benefit of any medical test should almost always outweigh the risks of the test itself.

Q. I am a healthy 74-year-old man. Over the past few months, I urinate more frequently during the day and I get up at night to go, too. I also know many of my friends have the same problem as they get older. Is this problem inevitable?

A. Problems with your bladder (or bowels, for that matter) are not a natural part of aging, even though as you get older your risk for these types of disorders increases. Although at times there’s no readily apparent reason, an overactive bladder can be caused by a number of health conditions, including an infection, enlarged prostate, neurological conditions, or problems with the kidneys or bladder itself. Certain medications might contribute to it as can drinking caffeine, alcohol, or too much fluid overall. See your doctor right away to rule out any conditions that need immediate attention, such as an infection. Once the cause is determined, there are many treatment options, including medicines, lifestyle changes, bladder training, or in extreme cases, surgery.

Dr. Moody received her bachelor’s degree from Tufts University in Medford, Mass., and her medical degree from University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass. She completed her residency in internal medicine at UMass Memorial Medical Center. Moody is board certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. She joined Ponds in March 2013.