Urology is the medical specialty dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, infections and injuries to the urinary system of both sexes. The organs covered by urology include ureters, urinary bladder, urethra and the male reproductive organs of prostate, penis, testes, vas deferens, seminal vesicles and epididymis. Urology is a combination of both medical management and surgical treatment.
Urology overlaps with the other medical fields of oncology, nephrology, gynecology, gastroenteroloty and pediatric surgery. Some sub specialties of urology include Endourology, which deals with minimally invasive surgical procedures, Neurourology, which deals with nervous system control of the genitourinary system, pediatric urology, which addresses issues with children, and andrology, which focuses on the male reproductive system.
Some diseases and disorders diagnosed and treated by urologists include bladder stones, bladder cancer, cystitis, erectile dysfunction, neurogenic bladder, prostatitis, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and kidney stones. Urologists also perform vasectomies and retrograde pyelograms.
Laparoscopy is a rapidly evolving branch of Urology. The majority of prostatectomies in the U.S. performed today are carried out by robotic surgery.
Some of the most common urology problems are urinary tract infections (UTI’s), incontinence, impotence in males and kidney stones. Incontinence is the involuntary leakage of urine. There are several types of incontinence including stress incontinence, urge incontinence, functional incontinence and overflow incontinence. To diagnose and treat these conditions, the urologist will take a careful history and perform a physical examination. He also may order cystoscopy (insert a thin tube with a camera into the urethra) or perform a urinalysis or ultrasound.
The prostate is part of a man’s sex organs. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds the urethra. For men over age 50, the most common prostate problem is prostate enlargement. Enlarged prostate may affect bladder control. In men under 50, prostatitis is the most common problem. Symptoms of prostatitis include a burning feeling when urinating, or frequency in urination.