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Urology Specialist Doctor
Urology Specialist Doctor
Health problems related to the urinary tract system in men and women can be treated by a urologist. This specialist doctor focuses on studying the field of urology or the urinary system.
The urinary system in the human body functions to filter, distribute and remove unnecessary materials and excess body fluids through urine. The organs that are within the urinary system include the kidneys, ureter, bladder, and urinary tract. If there is a problem with this system, it will interfere with the excretion process.
For men who experience urinary tract problems along with other disorders in the reproductive organs such as the penis, testes, and prostate gland – they are recommended to see a urologist. If the male reproductive organs require more specific treatment, a urologist may refer the patient to an andrologist.
Sub-specialties in Urology
Urologists generally only treat urinary tract-related conditions. However, some specialist doctors choose to deepen and focus on certain urology sub-specialties.
The following are some sub-specialties in the branch of medicine of urology:
- Infertility in men (andrology), a sub-specialty that focuses on dealing with problems around fertility or the health of the male reproductive organs.
- Female urology, a sub-specialty that focuses on female urinary tract disorders.
- Paediatric urology, a sub-specialty that focuses on urinary tract problems in childhood
- Neuro-urology, a sub-specialty that focuses on urinary tract problems due to nervous system disorders.
- Urologic oncology, a sub-specialty that focuses on treating cancer or tumors of the urinary system, bladder, kidney, prostate, and testicular cancers.
- Reconstructive urology, a sub-specialty that focuses on surgical techniques to improve the structure and function of the urinary tract.
- Endourology, a sub-specialty that focuses on treating disorders of the urinary tract, such as urinary tract stones, with minimally invasive surgical techniques (through small incisions).
Medical Procedures Performed by Urologists
The urinary tract is a complex system and involves various organs and parts of the body. If there is a urinary system problem, a urologist can work with doctors of other specialties, such as oncologists, radiologists, internists, and obstetricians, in helping the patient’s treatment process.
When determining the diagnosis, the urologist will ask the patient what complaints or symptoms of the disease he/she has experienced, then perform a physical examination. If these tests are insufficient to make a diagnosis, the urologist will advise the patient to undergo other tests including:
- Various imaging tests, to check for urinary tract conditions, such as through X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound, MRI, or urography.
- Cystoscopy, a test performed using a cystoscope
- Laboratory tests, to look for bacteria that cause infection or identify abnormal materials in the urine. Generally, complete blood tests and urine tests will also follow
- Urodynamic tests performed to measure the pressure and volume of the bladder.
- Urine residue test after urinating performed to help the doctor determine or measure the amount of urine left in the bladder after urination.
After carrying out one or more of the above tests, the urologist will make a diagnosis and prescribe medication. If medication does not fix the issue, the urologist may suggest surgical procedures to the patient along with supervision from the urological surgeon.
Below are some of the types of surgery a urologist may recommend:
- Cystectomy, a surgical removal of the bladder, usually to treat bladder cancer.
- Bladder rupture, a surgical procedure to drain the urine or insert a special catheter.
- Prostatectomy or prostate surgery, a surgical procedure to remove all or part of the prostate gland.
- Transurethral prostate resection (TURP) and transurethral needle ablation (TUNA), although different, both are used to remove excess tissue from an enlarged prostate.
- Kidney transplant, a surgical procedure to replace a damaged kidney with a healthy kidney.
- Extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL), a surgical procedure done to break up kidney stones, making them easier to be removed
- Ureteroscopy, a surgery to remove stones in the kidneys and ureter (urinary tract from the kidneys to the bladder) using special equipment.
- Biopsy of the bladder, kidneys, or prostate.
- Drainage procedure, a procedure for clearing blockages in the bladder system.
- Repair bladder damage caused by injury or an undeveloped bladder organ.
- Sling surgery, a procedure to prevent bladder leakage.
Diseases Treated by Urologists
When discussing bladder health, especially in men, it is most commonly caused by viruses or bacteria from sexual intercourse. However, there are various causes that can trigger bladder health problems in men, women, or children.
Based on the classification of patients, diseases treated by urologists include:
Male Urinary Disorders
Urinary tract diseases that commonly affect men:
- Urinary tract cancer (kidney, bladder, prostate gland, penis, testes, and adrenal glands)
- Prostate problems such as an enlarged prostate gland (BPH) and prostatitis
- Kidney disease, such as kidney stones and kidney failure
- Penile deformities such as phimosis and Peyronie’s disease
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Swollen veins in the scrotum (varicocele)
- Urinary incontinence
- Erectile dysfunction
Female Urinary Disorders
Urinary tract diseases that commonly affect women:
- Bladder prolapse (cystocele)
- Cancer in the bladder, kidneys, and adrenal glands
- Kidney stones
- Overactive bladder
- Urinary tract infection
- Urinary incontinence
Children Urinary Disorders
Urinary tract disorders are not only experienced by adults, but also by children:
- Enuresis (urinary tract disorders that cause bed-wetting)
- Blocked or problematic urinary tract
- Hypospadias and epispadia
- Undescended testicles
When to See a Urologist?
If you find any symptoms or signs that may indicate disorders in the urinary or reproductive tract, it is advisable to check with your doctor before the condition worsens.
For men, it is recommended that you see a urologist by the time you enter your 40s. At that age, male endurance tends to decrease and is susceptible to disease, especially in the urinary tract and reproductive organs.
In addition, you are advised to consult a urologist immediately if you experience the following symptoms:
- Pink, red, or brown urine
- Lower abdominal, back, or lumbar pain, along with feeling nauseous and vomiting
- Pain when urinating
- Constantly feeling like you have to pee (even after peeing)
- Small volume of urine
- Foul-smelling urine
- Inability to hold urine
- The presence of a lump in the testicle
- Experiencing sexual dysfunction or decreased sexual desire
- Fertility problems in men
- Discharge from the genital organs
- Swollen legs and feet
- Bedwetting when coughing or sneezing
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