Patient Education

Patient Education

The branch of medicine concerned with; the study of the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the urinary tract, with the care of the urinary tract of men and women, and with the care of the male genital tract.

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Urology ConditionsUrology TestClinical TreatmentsHelpful Links

Urology Conditions

Bladder Cancer
Cancer that forms in tissues of the bladder, most of which are transitional cell carcinomas, cancer that begins in cells that normally make up the inner lining of the bladder. Others include squamous cell carcinoma, cancer that begins in thin, flat cells, and adenomcarcinoma, cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucous and other fluids, which develop in the inner lining of the bladder as a result of chronic irritation and inflammation.

Elevated PSA
Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is produced by the cells of the prostate capsule, the membrane covering the prostate, and the periurethral glands. Patients with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), or Prostatitis, produce greater amounts of PSA. A highly elevated level may indicate the presence of cancer cells. Because of this, a biopsy is usually performed to confirm or rule out cancer when the PSA level is higher than normal.

Enlarged Prostate(BPH)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), or enlargement of the prostate, is very common in older men. The enlargement may begin to press upon the urethra interfering with urination and can require treatment.

Commonly occurring in middle-aged men, hydrocele is the painless swelling of the scrotum caused by a collection of fluid around the testicle.

Hypogonadism (Low Testosterone)
Often referred to as low testosterone, hypogonadism is a condition in which the body does not produce enough of the male sex hormone that stimulates the development of male sex characteristics, muscle, and bone - testosterone. Symptoms can include: erectile dysfunction, infertility, decrease in beard and body hair growth, decrease in muscle mass, development of breast tissue, loss of bone mass, fatigue, decreased sex drive, difficulty concentrating, and hot flashes.

A common condition in which an infant is born with the opening of the urethra on the underside of the penis, instead of at the tip. It does not cause difficulty in caring for your infant and surgery usually restores the normal appearance of the child's penis.

Urinary incontinence, or leakage of urine, can be caused by multiple anatomic, physiological, and pathologic (disease) factors. Symptoms can be acute and temporary, like after childbirth or during a urinary tract infection, or chronic, as with nerve disorders, spinal injuries, or from vaginal prolapse. Stress, urge, and mixed incontinence account for more than 90% of cases of urinary incontinence.

Interstitial Cystitis
Also called painful bladder syndrome, bladder pain syndrome, and chronic pelvic pain, interstitial cystitis is pelvic pain, pressure, or discomfort in the bladder often accompanied by urinary frequency and urgency, in the absence of infection or other pathology.

Kidney Cancer
This cancer generally forms within the kidneys however, can sometimes occur outside of the kidneys. The most common types are: renal cell carcinoma, which usually begins in the cells that line the small tubes of each nephron and often grow as a single mass; transitional cell carcinoma, which develops in the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder or may start in the ureters themselves; and Wilms' Tumor, often found to develop in young children.

Kidney Stones
A kidney stone is a hard mass that forms from crystals that separate from the urine. The most common types of stones are calcium based, followed by struvite, or infection stones, then uric acid based, and most rarely cystine stones. Often these stones remain tiny enough that they will often pass through the urinary system without any complications. However, stones that get stuck in the urinary tract can cause lasting symptoms or complications that require medical intervention.

Male Infertility
Infertility, not being able to conceive a child despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year, may be due to a single cause in either you or your partner, or a combination of factors that may prevent a pregnancy from occurring or continuing. The most common causes of male infertility include abnormal sperm production or function, impaired delivary of sperm, general health and lifestyle issues, and overexposure to certain environmental elements.

Male Sexual Dysfunction
More commonly referred to as erectile dysfunction, male sexual dysfunction refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents a man or woman for getting satisfaction. It is one of the most common health problems affecting men and is more common in increasing age. Common complaints include low libido, Erectile Dysfunction, premature ejaculation, delayed or inhibited orgasm, and physical abnormalities of the penis.

Peyronie's Disease
A hard, fibrous layer of scar tissue (plaque), which is non-cancerous, forms under the skin on the upper or lower side of the penis causing the penis to curve when erect. This condition can cause pain and difficulty during sexual intercourse. Sometimes Peyronie's disease resolves on its own however, in severe cases may require either non-surgical or surgical treatment.

Prostate Cancer
Often forming in the prostate, a muscular, walnut-sized gland that sits under the bladder, in front of the rectum and surrounds the urethra, prostate cancer occurs when cells within the prostate grow uncontrollably creating small tumors. Screening through annual PSA blood tests and digital rectal exams (DRE's) can help detect prostate cancer before any symptoms have developed.

The most common cause of urinary tract infections among men, prostatitis is the painful inflammation of the prostate. Men with prostatitis often complain of pain in the perineum, aches, pain in the joints or muscles and lower back, blood in the urine, pain or burning during urination, and painful ejaculation.

Sexually Transmitted Disease Infections
Sexually transmitted disease infections caused by parasites, virii, or bacteria spread through sexual intercourse or genital contact. If you have an STD caused by a parasite or bacteria, your health care provider can treat it with antibiotics or other medicines. If you have an STD caused by a virus, there is no cure. However, sometimes medicine can keep the disease under control. Proper screening by your healthcare provider and the correct usage of latex condoms can greatly reduce the risks of catching or spreading sexually transmitted diseases.

Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer occurs in the testicles and usually is found in males between the ages of 15-34, who discover telltale lumps during routine self-examinations. Occurrences are rare and its causes are unknown. In general, there are two types of testicular cancer; seminoma, which occurs at any age however, is particularly common in older males, and nonseminoma, which develops earlier and much more aggressively than seminomas.

Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections begin in the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most UTI's involve the lower urinary tract - the urethra and bladder. In general, symptoms develop quickly and can include: urinary frequency and urgency, burning during urination, blood in the urine (hematuria) or cloudy, strong-smelling urine, and bacteria in the urine on urinalysis or culture.

A varicocele is an enlargement of the veins in the scrotum, similar to a varicose vein. Often there are not any symptoms associated with a varicocele but, occasionally they can cause pain that worsens with physical activity or they can grow large and noticeable over time.

Urology Tests

A biopsy is a procedure in which your practitioner takes samples of either tissue or cells within your body to be analyzed in a laboratory for cancer. Common types of biopsy done for urologic conditions include endoscopic biopsy for bladder cancer or image-guided needle biopsies for kidney and prostate cancers.

Blood Tests
Laboratory tests are an integral part of the work up of any patient and allow your practitioner determine the need for further testing if warranted.

CT Scan
Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) Scans are a way of x-raying the body that allows for one to see three-dimensional views of a mass or organ, which can reveal a great deal more information than a one-dimensional x-ray. CAT scans use a donut shaped x-ray unit that rotates around your body and a powerful computer to generate a set of cross-sectional images to clearly reveal bones and organs as well as their inner structure with detailed anatomy of your pancreas, adrenal glands, kidneys, and blood vessels.

A cystoscopy is a diagnostic procedure whereby the doctor will look directly into your bladder using a small telescope.

A urine cytology is a laboratory test that is used to detect the presence of cancerous and precancerous among the normal cells that are shed from your urinary tract each time you urinate. Results are not always 100 percent accurate. Even when cancer cells are detected, a cancer diagnosis must be confirmed by other diagnostic tests such as a biopsy.

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
A Digital (finger) Rectal Exam is done to check for problems with organs and other structures in the pelvis and lower abdominal areas. It is done in men as part of regular prostate examinations to check for growths, enlargements, or other abnormalities of the prostate.

Penile Doppler
Penile Doppler is to evaluate whether the blood flow in the penis is sufficient to sustain an erection. Biothesiometry is to evaluate the nerves, which stimulate penile arteries in order to rule out any neurological problems, which might be causing impotence.

Post-Void Residual (PVR)
A post void residual bladder ultrasound measures the amount of urine left in your bladder after urination.

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)
Prostate specific antigen is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. It is normal for men to have a low level of PSA in their blood; however, prostate cancer or benign conditions can increase a man's PSA level. A PSA test measures the level of PSA in a man's blood. When used along with the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) as part of regular screening, the PSA test can help detect prostate cancer before symptoms can arise.

The Rigiscan® is an instrument that measures penile tumescence and rigidity continuously while a man sleeps. It is often used in younger men to determine if his erectile dysfunction is organic or psychological in nature.

Semen Analysis
A semen analysis measures the amount of semen a man produces and determines the number and quality of sperm in the semen sample. It is often done to determine whether:
  • A man has a reproductive problem that is causing infertility.
  • A vasectomy has been successful.
  • A vasectomy reversal (vasovasectomy) has been successful.

Stone Evaluation
Knowledge of the chemical composition and structure of urinary stones is of great value in the treatment and prevention of stone recurrence. Previously, only chemical analysis of stones removed surgically was available however, recent refinement of blood and urinalysis techniques and imaging studies have lead to less invasive stone evaluation.

Often associated with pregnancy, sonography (ultrasound) utilizes high frequency sound waves to provide images of internal organs. It is often used by urologists to frequently monitor patients with high recurrence of renal stones or cysts with minimal exposure to radiation.

Urine Flow Study
The Uroflow study will show the force with which you urinate. A PVR will measure the amount of urine left in your bladder after urination.

Urine Tests
No longer just for urinary tract infections (UTI), urine testing can be used to pre-screen for a number of urologic and nephrology related conditions.

Urodynamic Study
This test is done to measure how your bladder responds to being filled with water, and then how you can empty your bladder after it is full.

X Rays
Radiographic imaging, or x-rays are especially useful in the detection of bony structures and some disease processes f the soft tissue such as kidney stones.

Clinical Treatments

Medications that inhibit the transmission of parasympathetic nerve impulses and thereby reduce spasms of smooth muscle (such as that, for example, in the bladder).

BCG is a therapy used to treat (or prevent the recurrence of) certain types of bladder cancer.

This easy, painless physical therapy for the bladder helps the patient to identify and contract pelvic floor muscles quickly and easily before leakage of urine occurs or to suppress bladder urgency.

Bladder Instillation
Often called a bladder wash/bath, intravesical therapy fills the bladder with a solution that is held for varying times before being drained through a catheter. Treatments are given every week or two for six to eight weeks and repeated as necessary for symptoms.

Collagen Injections
Transurethral collagen injections are a minimally invasive treatment option for stress urinary incontinence in patients with a poorly functioning urethra due to a loss in muscle tone or for those patients suffering from intrinsic sphincter deficiency from a prior surgery such as a prostatectomy in prostate cancer patients. Under this procedure, collagen is injected into the tissues around the bladder neck to bulk up and prevent urine leakage out of the bladder. The injections must be repeated two or three times at the beginning and again if the leakage returns.

Hormone Therapy (LHRH)
Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is designed to block the production of testosterone which, for a period of time, will stop or slow the growth of prostate cancer. Four basic methods of hormone therapy involve removal of the testicle, estrogen replacement therapy, anti-androgen injections, which prevents the production of androgens, the hormone needed for the production of testosterone, or a combined androgen blockade.

InterStim ® Therapy
A therapy used in treating urinary retention and symptoms of overactive bladder, including urinary urge incontinence and urgency-frequency. Therapy uses a small implanted device to send mild electrical pulses through a thin wire to the sacral nerve, which controls the bladder and surrounding muscles.

No-Scalpel Vasectomy
Uses an advanced technique to anesthetize the scrotum more effectively. It requires no scalpel. Instead, the physician carefully isolates the vas deferens using the fingers of one hand. The vasa are then fixed just below the scrotal skin with an instrument designed to hold firmly without pinching. A single small opening in the skin is made with pointed forceps. The vasa are then pulled through the skin, cut, and sealed conventionally. When the operation is done, there are no sutures needed to close the tiny opening.

Robotic and Laparoscopic procedures
The Da Vinci® robotic device and laparoscopic surgery techniques allow for minimally invasive surgical repairs and organ removal. These techniques allow for increased accuracy and a faster recovery time.

Also known a transurethral microwave therapy (TUMT), a tiny antenna is inserted into the urethra with the aid of a urinary catheter. The antenna delivers microwave energy to heat and destroy overgrown prostate tissue while avoiding damage to normal tissues.

Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA) uses radiofrequency energy to heat and destroy enlarged prostate tissue. Unlike TUMT, TUNA can target sections of the prostate not accessible to the microwave antenna using a cystocope.

Helpful Links

General Urology

American Urological Association

NIDDK Health Information - Kidney and Urologic Diseases

The Digital Urology Journal

Cancer (general)

American Cancer Society (ACS)

Bladder Cancer Web Café

Cancer Site Finder

National Cancer Institute

Erectile Dysfunction

NIDDK Health Information - Erectile Dysfunction


National Association for Continence

Simon Foundation for Incontinence

Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial Cystitis Association

The Interstitial Cystitis Network

Kidney Health

American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP)

Kidney & Urology Foundation of America

National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information

National Kidney Foundation

Kidney Stones

American Urological Association Foundation, Inc.

Prostate Health

Arnie's Army Battles Prostate Cancer

National Prostate Cancer Coalition

Prostate Cancer Calculator

Prostate Cancer Education Council

Prostate Cancer Foundation

Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada

Prostate Cancer Research Institute

The Cancer Information Network

The Prostate Centre

US TOO International

Reproductive Health

American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)

American Urogynecologic Society


Sexually Transmitted Diseases

American Social Health Association (ASHA)

Testicular Cancer


Vasectomy (urology channel)

Vasectomy reversal (urology channel)