No doubt the world is changing quickly these days for all of us! We are being asked to, wear a mask, wash our hands, social distance at least 6 feet, and for those of us who have been lucky enough to keep our job, a lot of us are being asked to work from home which then means working while the kids are in virtual class and/or our partner(s) are home working too. With so many changes happening so quickly it is easy to lose track of what normal feels like and in the confusion we can lose sight of other more subtle shifts away from normal that can get overlooked due to the distraction of the larger swings in “normal.” It is normal during these times for us to ignore some of the subtle signs our body may tell us, trying to alert us to something being wrong. I for one have fallen victim to ignoring the soft signs of something being wrong with my body until it was too late.
Back in 2012 I realized my husband could pee more easily standing up than I could sitting down. Off to my primary I went and while I was only 43 at the time and younger than I should be for prostate issues, we went with that as the working theory and I started Saw Palmetto. When that didn’t work, I was started on Flomax which didn’t help either. The doctor asked if I had ever had a prostate exam to which I quipped “Not officially.” We both laughed as he snapped the wrist band of the latex glove and I “assumed the position” so I could officially get my prostate checked. Antibiotics were prescribed which also had no effect. Off to the urologist. I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Lowentritt and Chesapeake Urology with his wonderful bedside manner as we discovered my neurogenic bladder holding 2100cc. Apparently, my bladder retired and didn’t give me notice, how rude! This story, however, starts many years before then. Thinking back over the course of my life I had signs that I ignored. The biggest one was when I was in therapy school back in 1998 when a fellow classmate noticed I was peeing in Morse code and commented that I might need to get my prostate examined. I debated in the moment how to reply and chose the quiet shrinking violet approach rather than asking him if he was offering his services. Didn’t want to rock the boat too much with a future colleague! Don’t get me wrong, he was cute, and I would have not minded him helping, except I was in a committed relationship, so there was that too.
Too often we (especially those who identify as male) tend to postpone, rationalize, and ignore our subtle warning signs of ill-health. If I had listened to my body and my fellow student back in 1998 then maybe I would have a different outcome with my health. With that said I am going to give you a quick checklist of things that are common but NOT NORMAL!
- Peeing in Morse Code (stream is in fits and starts/stopping and starting)
- Difficulty starting your urine stream
- Not feeling empty at the end of urinating.
- Having to use your abdominals to empty your bladder.
- Pain with urination, whether abdominal, penile, or testicular.
- Getting up more than once a night.
- Dribbling after urinating.
- Decreased erectile function, whether firmness, duration, or increased time to obtain.
This is just a short list.
If you have any of the above then I encourage you to speak to your primary, even if by video call, and don’t delay care. These are things that can be fixed easily when caught early and yes, a pelvic physical therapist such as myself can treat these issues too, so call or text me to get the ball rolling. 443-742-0019.