What is Urology?

Urology is the surgical specialty that focuses on the genitourinary tract of men and women, and on the reproductive system of men. Physicians specializing in the field of urology are called urologists and are trained to evaluate, diagnose, treat and manage patients with urological disorders. The organs covered by the specialty of urology include the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, urethra, and the male reproductive organs. Urology combines management of medical, or non-surgical, problems such as urinary infections and surgical problems such as the correction of congenital abnormalities and the surgical management of cancers.

The Urinary System

The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The key elements in the system are the kidneys, a pair of fist-sized organs located below the ribs toward the middle of the back. The kidneys remove excess liquid and wastes from the blood in the form of urine. Kidneys keep a stable balance of salts and other substances in the blood, and produce a hormone that helps to form red blood cells. Narrow tubes called ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, a sack-like organ in the lower abdomen. Urine is stored in the bladder and emptied through a narrow canal called the urethra.

Symptoms of Urologic Conditions

When parts of the urinary system are not functioning, as they should, symptoms can vary dramatically. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe; they can exist or be nonexistent. But keep in mind, if symptoms are present one day and gone the next that does not necessarily mean the condition, disorder or disease is gone. Some of the typical signs and symptoms of urologic conditions such as bladder cancer, kidney cancer, prostate cancer or urinary obstruction may include:

  • Blood in your urine or semen
  • A lump in your abdomen
  • Unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Pain in your side or lower back
  • Changes in urination (inability, frequency, pain, less output, incontinence) Feeling the need to urinate without results
  • Sensation that the bladder is not completely empty after urinating
  • Trouble starting or holding back urination
  • A weak or interrupted flow

Urologic Conditions

When any part of the urinary system is not functioning, as it should, it can be due to one of several conditions, such as:

Urologic Treatments

Depending on your condition and its stage, treatment options for urologic conditions may include:

  • Medication
  • Non-Surgical Treatments
  • Open Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • DaVinci Surgery
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Cryosurgery
  • Watchful Waiting
  • Hormonal Therapy

More Resources

American Urologic Association Foundation
Digital Urology Journal
www.Kidney.niddk.nih.gov
www.NLM.NIH.GOV
www.MedlinePlus.Gov