Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions and answers about general, medical and financial matters

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions our patients have posed to us. If you don't see your query addressed in this list, please feel free to contact our office with your question(s). We'll be happy to answer you and update our Frequently Asked Questions list based on your input.



A routine urinalysis is an integral part of the examination of the urinary tract.

If a special test is ordered, you need to call the office and ask for one of our staff members to call your insurance company for any prior approval required.  Some insurance companies take 48-72 hours to respond to our request for authorization, so be sure and give us plenty of notice.  It is preferable to know where you will have your special test rendered before calling for the prior approval.   Your doctor is not aware that you need the prior approval, so it is up to you to notify the office staff.

All of our physicians are specialists in and are Board Certified by the American Board of Urology.  Many of our physicians have had additional fellowship training and have areas of special interest in Urology.

For example:

  • Dr. H. Samowitz specializes in urological trauma and genitourinary reconstruction.

Yes, we take patient confidentiality very seriously. Prior to enactment of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), we adhered to strict privacy rules. As of April 14, 2003, we were required to post our Privacy Practices and make them available to patients. You can read our Privacy Practices on this site and if you have any questions, please contact our Privacy Officer,

If you are a new patient, you can usually schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, within 1-2 working days. If you are in any emergency, we can usually have a physician see you the same day you call.

If you are an established patient and you do not have an emergency, you can usually see your doctor within a week.

We want you to have a pleasant and productive visit with us. You will be greeted by one of our receptionists in the reception area. You can save yourself about 15 minutes of time if you fill our Patient Registration Form online or download the New Patient Information Form and then fax the completed form (no later than 24 hours before your visit) to the secure fax number attendant to the office where your visit will take place. If this is not possible, please plan on arriving approximately at least 15 minutes before your scheduled visit to complete the necessary forms.

You will also be asked to furnish at the time of your visit:

  • Your insurance card*
  • Your insurance referral, if applicable*
  • Your co-pay, if any, which can be paid by cash, check or credit card
  • Name, address and telephone number of your referring physician
  • Your list of medications
  • Your allergies to any medications, contrast material, etc.
  • Your list of serious illnesses and past hospitalizations
  • Your list of previous surgeries

In most visits, you will be asked to leave a urine specimen so please try not to void immediately prior to arriving at the office.  The urine sample will be tested to get a more complete assessment of your condition or complaint.  This test may be rendered in our office, a third party laboratory or both, depending on your healthcare needs.

You will be escorted to your physician’s consultation room. Your physician will review and discuss the reason for your visit, your medical history, etc. with you.  Thereafter, you will be taken to an examination room for evaluation. You will then be advised as to what to do next (medication, additional visit, procedure, etc).

As you leave the office, please see one of our staff members and arrange for your next appointment, if recommended. If your physician has asked you to schedule a radiographic examination, please inform a member of our staff so that we can obtain prior insurance authorization for you, if necessary.

If you have any questions prior to your first visit, please feel free to call our staff so that we can assist you.

 

Genitourinary reconstruction encompasses a broad range of surgical procedures whose purpose is to correct congenital or acquired abnormalities. Although many of these are a consequence of injuries, often there is no identifiable cause.

Types of injuries include:

  • motor vehicle accidents
  • falls
  • sports injuries
  • penetrating trauma

Examples of commonly performed procedures include:

  • repair of traumatic injuries to the upper (kidney and ureters) and lower (bladder and urethra) urinary tracts, and to the genitals.
  • surgical management of anterior urethral strictures and posterior urethral disruptions.
  • reconstruction of genital abnormalities
  • correction of penile curvature
  • revision of circumcision
  • reconstruction of prior urinary diversions allowing in selected patients better cosmetic result

Generally, the best way to avoid urological problems is to maintain good overall health habits such as exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding tobacco, excessive alcohol and caffeine and diuretics (food or substances that remove water from the body).

How many times a day does a healthy person urinate?

Urination frequency varies widely according to a number of factors, although for most healthy people going four to eight times a day is typical. More frequent urination or waking up at night to go to the bathroom might mean either a health problem or simply that you’re drinking too much at bedtime.

Are urination problems more of a problem for women than men?

Not necessarily, although urinary incontinence occurs about twice as often in females than males. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and female anatomy account for the difference. But of the approximately 12 million sufferers in the United States, about one-third are men. Male incontinence is often associated with prostate problems or treatments.

What increases women’s risk of incontinence?

Often it’s a combination of factors, such as having given birth multiple times, age, obesity and smoking. Other factors include a history of having given vaginal birth, having had hysterectomy, a post-menopause drop in estrogen, chronic bladder infections, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke and spinal cord injury. While age can be a contributor, no one should accept incontinence as an inevitability of growing older.

What increases the risk of incontinence for men?

For men incontinence may be related to a number of health conditions or medical treatments. It can also be caused by lifestyle or family history. Most men have decreased bladder capacity as they age, naturally increasing risk of incontinence to some degree. Other contributors can be smoking, obesity, a high consumption of alcohol and caffeinated and carbonated drinks and injury to the bladder. In addition, just as in women, neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease can play a role.

When should I see a doctor for incontinence?

Generally, it’s a good idea to call your doctor or schedule an appointment if you have a sudden onset of incontinence or if you’re having enough accidents that you need to either wear a pad for urine absorption or if incontinence is interfering with your lifestyle.

What causes prostate cancer?

No one knows for certain. About one in ten men inherit the tendency toward prostate cancer, although no one has identified a “prostate cancer gene”. Men with a father or brother with prostate cancer diagnosed prior to age 64 have a three times greater risk than men in general. Men in this category should begin screening at age 40. In addition, there are links between diets rich in saturated fats and an increased incidence of prostate cancer, but this evidence is not conclusive.

If I live long enough, is it all but certain I will get prostate cancer?

No, although after skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common kind of cancer in American men. It does tend to strike later in life – more than three-quarters of cases are diagnosed in men older than 65.

What can I do to lower my chances of prostate cancer?

Scientists have found no known cause for prostate cancer. Nonetheless, common sense says to maintain good dietary and exercise habits, which in turn keep weight down. Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and limiting the amount of calories from saturated fats is always a good idea for minimizing all health risks. Some studies have suggested that prostate cancer risk may be reduced by consuming zinc, soy and lycopene. Peanuts are a good source of selenium, and cooked tomatoes are an easily consumed source of lycopene.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

One reason that screening for prostate cancer is so important as a man ages is that localized and curable prostate cancer has no symptoms. A decrease in the force of the urinary stream or other voiding issues is most likely due to BPH than prostate cancer. For men with localized prostate cancer and some urination problems, the explanation is that BPH is occurring coincidentally with the prostate cancer.?Men with advanced prostate cancer, however, may have similar symptoms as men with BPH, including blood in the urine, painful urination, and a decreased urinary flow. Fortunately, with today’s emphasis on screening and early detection, more than nine in ten prostate cancers are found in potentially curable stages.

If you need a prescription refill from a Urology of Indiana physician, please call us at  . You will need to provide your name, date of birth, name of medication, phone number of your local pharmacy and a number where you can be reached. One of our nurses will confirm with the physician and call the prescription in to your pharmacy.

We are able to refill only prescriptions that have been written by our Urology of Indiana physicians. If you have prescriptions written by your family doctor or other specialists, they will need to call in those refills for you. Refill requests are typically completed the same day, however, sometimes they take 24-48 hours; so be sure to plan ahead. There are some prescriptions (i.e., Schedule II medications) that cannot be refilled via phone or on a Friday afternoon.

You can also request a prescription refill by using our online secure Patient Portal page. Simply follow the prompts on the portal once you log in. 

What is Urogynecology?
Urogynecology is a surgical sub-specialty that combines Obstetrics and Gynecology with Urology and is dedicated to the treatment of pelvic floor disorders in women.

What are common conditions associated with Urogynecology?
There are a number of conditions associated with Urogynecology. Three of the most common disorders are urinary incontinence (including stress, urge and overflow), pelvic floor dysfunction and pelvic organ prolapse. 

What is the pelvic floor?
For women, the pelvic floor is comprised of muscles, ligaments, connective tissues and nerves that help hold up and control the rectum, uterus, vagina and bladder. Men also have a pelvic floor that supports pelvic organs, the bladder, and the rectum. 

What causes pelvic floor disorders?
Often times, childbirth is the main cause of these disorders. The more times a woman gives birth, the higher her risk is for pelvic floor disorders. Obesity is another risk factor that is associated with these disorders. Excessive weight gain puts a great strain on the pelvic floor, which weakens the surrounding muscles.

How do Urogynecologists treat pelvic floor disorders?
Treatment options can vary greatly on a case-by-case basis. These options include behavioral modification (such as changing diet, exercise and urinary habits), taking medications, specialized physical therapy and minimally invasive surgery that works to relax and control the movement and functions of your pelvic floor muscles. 

When should I make an appointment with a Urogynecologist?
Many women assume that the symptoms associated with pelvic floor disorders are part of the natural aging process. In reality, these symptoms are highly treatable, and they occur in up to one-third of all women by the age of 60. 

While bladder cancer is the most common cancer of the urinary tract, there are a number of misconceptions about the risk factors, symptoms and treatments. Here are five of the most commonly asked questions about bladder cancer. 

What is bladder cancer?
This is a form of cancer that originates in the bladder, which is an organ located in the pelvic cavity that stores and discharges urine. The most common type is transitional cell carcinoma, or TCC. Bladder Cancer is also known as urothelial carcinoma, which is a condition where cells in the bladder lining begin rapidly overproducing. 

What are common symptoms for bladder cancer?
The primary symptom of bladder cancer is blood in the urine, known as hematuria. Hematuria may be visible to the naked eye, but most often is viewed under a microscopic and is usually painless. Other symptoms include frequent urination, pain upon urination (dysuria), or increased urgency. The best thing to do when you are experiencing these symptoms is to seek an appointment with your Urologist, as an early diagnosis can increase the number of treatment options.

Who is at risk for bladder cancer?
Generally speaking, bladder cancer is most likely to occur in individuals aged 50 - 80. Another major risk factor is smoking. Smoking accounts for about 50% of all bladder cancer cases reported every year. When someone smokes, the dangerous chemicals in tobacco are absorbed into the bloodstream. Over time, harmful cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) build up in the urine that is stored in the kidneys, which may lead to the development of bladder cancer. 

What are the most common treatment options?
Like any other cancer, early diagnosis increases the number of treatment options available to patients. In terms of strictly non-surgical treatment there is immunotherapy, chemotherapy and radiation. All three work in different ways to attack cancer cells whether through biological therapy, drugs to destroy the cancer cells or high energy rays. 

When the cancer has invaded the muscle of the bladder wall, removal of portions of the bladder may be the best step towards a cure. This surgery is known as radical cystectomy, which can take many forms depending on the stage of the cancer and the health of the patient. Often the best care solution is a combination of a non-surgical therapy treatment and surgery. 

How can I prevent bladder cancer?
Bladder cancer is common and highly treatable, especially if it is caught in the early stages. The best form of prevention is continual surveillance and regular check-ups with your Urologist. 

If you have already had bladder cancer, there is a high rate of recurrence. It is important to continually monitor your condition with your Urologist to lower the chances of relapse. Usually this program includes a urine cytology and cystoscopy, performed every 3 months for 2 years, every 6 months for the next 2 years and then yearly.

There are a variety of symptoms that you can have with a urinary tract infection (UTI).

UTI symptoms could include:

  • Burning or pain when you urinate
  • Cloudy, dark, bloody, smelly urine
  • Feeling the need to urinate more often than usual
  • Having the urge to urinate but not being able to
  • Leaking small amounts of urine

Kidney stones are solid materials made of salts and minerals in the urine that stick together to form small "pebbles". They can be as small as grains of sand or as large as golf balls.

Urology is a medical specialty concerned with conditions and diseases of the genital and urinary tract in men, women and children.

Urologists also diagnose and treat disorders of the male reproductive system.

Our Doctors provide reports and follow up notes to your primary care physician or to any Doctor you indicate in your intake forms as the doctor to report to.  Should you need to have reports sent to another doctor, please advise a staff member at our office and he/she will make arrangements for it.

If you would like all your records sent to another doctor who is not in your existing list, we ask that you please follow through the records request protocol and provide us with a signed request. You can email, fax or mail a written signed request to us and it will be sent to the physician. We can usually honor such requests within 48 hours, but sometimes it may take longer.

We have a very capable staff who can talk to if you have questions or non-medical problems. If they are not able to assist you, they will refer you to our Practice Manager

Payment is required at the time of service. We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express and personal checks. As a courtesy, we will submit your claim to your insurance company for your reimbursement if you supply us with the necessary information.

Payment is required at the time of service. We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express and personal checks. As a courtesy, we will submit your claim to your insurance company for your reimbursement if you supply us with the necessary information.

In the past, the enrollment period for insurance coverage was January 1st of each year. Now, many employers and patients change insurance coverage at various times throughout the year. Many patients are not aware that they have new coverage. Therefore, to ensure that your insurance processes your claims and provides benefits, we have instituted a policy that all patients must show us their insurance card prior to their visit.  You may also fax the front and back of the card to our offices if you prefer. Please be sure to show all insurance information available.  Should you have an additional insurance policy for your new visit, you must disclose it.

Many insurance plans pay for in-office procedures. Managed care plans can be more restrictive and each patient is responsible for contacting their insurance company if they have a question about a specific procedure. Our office staff can help you with this, if necessary.  If procedures require special authorization we will help obtain it.  Please note that insurance rules and requirements vary, so you need to verify what applies to your particular policy.  Note that your insurance may cover some office procedures after deductibles are applied some of the fee may be billable to you.