Urology is the branch of medicine that deals with surgical and medical diseases of the male and female urinary-tract system as well as male reproductive organ. Urology contains different organs of our body such as kidneys, adrenal glands, ureters, urinary bladder, urethra. In the male reproductive system, there are testes, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate and penis. Our urinary tracts are closely linked with our reproductive tracts. If there is disorder in any of them, then it may affect the other too.
There are types of urology which deals with the problem of urinary and reproductive tract. Some of the categories are mentioned below –
1. Female urology – it focuses on the conditions of a woman’s urinary tract.
2. Male infertility – it deals with the problems of low sperm count and other related conditions.
3. Neurology – all the urinary problems that are caused due to non-functioning of our nervous system comes under this heading.
4. Pediatric urology – pediatric urology focuses on the urinary problems that occur in the children.
5. Urology oncology – it deals with the cancer of the urinary system which includes our body parts such as bladder, kidneys, prostate and testicles.
There are different major conditions that are dealt by urologists. They are divided according to age and genders.
1. In men, urologists treat problems such as cancers of the bladder, kidney, penis, testicles and adrenal and prostate glands, infertility, erectile dysfunction, interstitial cystitis, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, prostatitis or inflammation of the prostate gland, varicoceles or enlarged veins in the scrotum etc.
2. In women, urologists treat problems such as bladder prolapse or the dropping of the bladder into the vagina, cancer of the bladder, kidneys and adrenal glands, overactive bladder, urinary incontinence etc.
3. In children, urologists treat problems such as bed-wetting, blockages and other problems with the urinary tract structure, undescended testicles etc.
The cancer that occurs in the bladder is known as bladder cancer. It is the abnormal growth of bladder cells which begins in the cells that line inside of the bladder. Bladder cancer occurs more commonly in men than in women. It is highly curable but follow up is necessary as it has the potential to reoccur. The symptoms of bladder cancer are – pelvic pain, painful urination, blood in urine which is also known as hematuria. Some of the risk factors are – smoking, increasing age, exposure to certain chemicals, family history, previous cancer treatment etc.
Kidney stones are hard deposits that get formed in our kidney. These hard deposits are made up of minerals and salts. Though stones are formed in kidney, it can affect any part of the urinary tract, from kidney to the bladder. Kidney stones cause no permanent damage if they are recognized early but they can be quite painful. The solution in most of the cases is to take medication and drink lots of water. This is done in order to pass the kidney stone. Surgery is required in complicated cases for instance if stones become lodged in the urinary tract.
Surgical treatment of urological problems is a common procedure. There are different surgeries that are getting famous. Some of the surgeries related to urology are given below –
1. Orchiopexy – orchiopexy is the surgery to move a testicle which is not descended into the scrotum and permanently fix it there. One or two incisions are made in the scrotum, groin, or the abdomen to allow the surgeon to reach the testicle and move it to the scrotum. This surgery is done to help prevent infertility and also reduce the risk of testicular cancer.
2. Robotic prostatectomy – this surgery is typically performed on men who are suffering from prostate cancer. It is performed with the help of a remote control. In this operation, the surgeon may be sitting near or far off from the patient as the entire movements of the surgeon are translated through the sensitive fibers of the machine with certain precision to the tip of the instruments.
3. Laparoscopic nephrectomy – it is one of the minimally invasive procedures to remove a kidney which is damaged due to cancer. In this procedure, one or both the kidneys are removed with the help of several but very small incisions. Through these incisions, a powerful endoscope which is a tiny camera is used to conduct the surgery and remove the kidney. It is suitable for patients with benign conditions resulting in end-stage kidney disease.
4. Urethral and vaginal reconstruction – this surgery is needed to restore function and appearance of a sensitive and complicated region of the urethral and vaginal anatomy. It is for women who have suffered from cancer and have undergone various reconstructive surgeries. The procedure may be simple or require tissue grafts and the reconstruction of the entire organs.
Good overall health habits should be maintained such as regular exercise, refrain from tobacco and alcohol etc.
It is an analysis of how well the bladder, urethra and muscles function to control voiding or elimination of urine.
It is a good idea to see a doctor if you have a sudden onset of incontinence and it is interfering with quality of life.
Factors such as giving birth multiple times, lower estrogen levels after menopause etc. are some of the factors.