Dr. Marelyn Medina, owner of the Family Urology Center in McAllen, will be celebrating 30 years as a urologist on June 1.

Medina, originally from New York, made the Rio Grande Valley her home in November 1995 when she opened her medical office where she practices integrative medicine. Combining contemporary medicine with other areas of health concerns and interests like toxicological history and nutritional background help Medina track the cause of the disease which facilitates treating it and preventing it, reducing medication usage.

After college, Medina began teaching math and science and it was then that she decided to return to school.

“I realized I had not pursued my desire to be a doctor — to reach my maximum potential,” said Medina.

In 1976, Medina began attending The State University of New York Downstate Medical School with an interest in kidney transplants and disease. She graduated in 1980 when only 20 percent of its graduates were women and the achievement was then considered groundbreaking.

“I wanted to do urology because it is a nice surgical specialty, but I’d still have a nice family life because it doesn’t have as many emergencies,” Medina said. “I am not constantly at the hospital.”

Urology deals with kidneys, bladder and the male reproductive system; and it extends to all age groups from newborns to senior citizens.

According to Medina, in the Valley there are a lot of young people in their teens to 30s with kidney stones because of the heat. Smaller children often visit her office with urine infections and loss of urine control. Gentlemen will seek her medical attention for prostate problems. And a large array of people will see her about bladder problems.

In the last 30 years, Medina has seen tremendous change in urology. Open surgery for stones has been eliminated. Invasive work has been cut down with the advent of cameras and telescopes that go into the kidney through the bladder. Medication now treats erectile dysfunction, as well as prostate enlargement, diminishing operating procedures.

One of the greatest changes Medina partakes in is the application of integrative medicine which she has been practicing for the last three years.

“In my office, the contemporary medicine is done with testing and evaluation of diseases and treatment of diseases,” said Medina.

According to Medina, her patients’ first visits are always lengthy because she looks into the toxic elements in patients’ lifestyles that may be leading to diseases. By removing toxins from the immune system, providing nutritional advice and getting her patients to eat healthier, she has managed to cut down on antibiotic prescriptions by 50 percent.

“If one can address causes of disease and influence changes at that level, then there is a greater likelihood that symptoms will resolve without the need to resort to multiple drugs with high adverse effect profiles,” said Medina.

It is this type of extensive work that sets her apart from many contemporary physicians who are only concerned with the treatment of disease symptoms, with little awareness of their origins.

There are four areas of poisons Medina educates her patients about.

Environmental toxins exist in the fluoride in water and with certain lines of work. It can affect, for example, people who previously worked with pesticides, but do not become ill until older. Environmental toxins can be passed down to the next generation through the placenta and breast milk.

Dietary toxins come in processed food that is boxed, canned or in glass jars. They all have some sort of preservative that extends their shelf life, but ends up in the human body. The kidney works to detox the body of these toxins, but younger people’s bodies may not be able to eliminate these toxins. Medina advises parents in her office to switch their children’s diet; for instance, giving them natural fruit instead of boxed juice.

Medical toxins are doctor and medical induced toxins caused by the adverse effects of antibiotics and medicines for diabetes and high blood pressure, for instance. Medina informs her patients of the consequences of all the medications they are on so that they can make an informed decision about whether they should proceed taking them.

Dental toxins consist of mercury fillings, crowns and braces that are poisonous to the body. According to Medina, the nickel in braces is the number one carcinogenic metal out there and exposure to it can lead to cancer in 20 to 25 years. She advises her patients about their susceptibility to diseases because of their dental work so that they can make informed decisions about getting their mercury fillings, for example, substituted for white fillings.

“I am trying to enrich my practice of contemporary medicine with knowledge about toxicology, nutrition and proper diet,” said Medina. “I also encourage people to exercise or go to church or site of worship.”

Besides managing her own practice, Medina makes rounds at local hospitals where she checks in on patients or performs surgery. Although passionate about her job, Medina said she is not a workaholic. She makes time to keep a healthy lifestyle and loves to dance salsa, tango and just started getting interested in country western.

“The next 30 years will be a higher level of medicine,” said Medina who plans to celebrate her anniversary all year long. “I feel the Lord has blessed me by allowing me to be a doctor; it is the greatest honor anybody can get.”