The term “urologic diseases” describes a wide variety of
conditions, all related to the filtering and carrying of urine out of the body.
These diseases can affect men, women, and children of all ages.
These diseases affect very specific parts of the body. In
females, they involve the urinary tract. In males, they affect the urinary
tract or the reproductive organs.
There are many urologic disorders and diseases. The following are
a selection of some of the diseases identified as common by the American
Urological Association Foundation (AUAF).
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate. It is
an increase in the size of the prostate gland. BPH is very common in older men.
It is not directly connected to prostate cancer.
The symptoms of BPH are caused by the pressure that a larger
prostate can place on the urethra. The urethra is the narrow tube that carries
urine from the bladder and out of the body.
Men with BPH may experience a frequent urge to urinate. They may
also have a weak stream of urine when they do go and a feeling that the bladder
is not empty after urination. Your doctor may choose to just monitor this
condition or prescribe medications such as alpha-blockers for treatment. Severe
cases can be treated with surgery.
Urinary incontinence is a loss of bladder control. It results in
the unwanted leakage of urine. This condition can be inconvenient and
embarrassing, but it is far from uncommon. According to the AUAF, more than 15
million people in the United States have incontinence.
There are a number of things that can cause incontinence. A few
of the most common causes include:
- pregnancy or childbirth
- overactive bladder
- enlarged prostate
- weak bladder muscles
- weak sphincter muscles (muscles supporting the
- urinary tract infections
- diseases including Parkinson’s and multiple
- injury to the spinal cord
- severe constipation
In some cases, lifestyle changes such as controlling fluid intake
can be enough to address the problem. If these approaches prove ineffective,
your doctor may suggest surgery to correct the underlying cause.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
UTIs are the result of pathogenic bacteria or viruses that invade
the urinary tract and cause infection. They are much more common in women,
although men can get them too. According to the AUAF, roughly 40
percent of females and 12 percent of males will have a UTI that causes
noticeable symptoms at some point in their lives. A burning sensation during
urination is one of the symptoms of a UTI. Others include a frequent urge to
urinate and the feeling that the bladder is not completely empty after
urinating. Antibiotics can usually clear up most UTIs within five to seven
Kidney and Ureteral Stones
Stones develop in the kidneys when there are crystals in the
urine and small particles surround and collect on these crystals. Ureteral
stones are ones that move from the kidney into the ureter (the tubes that carry
urine from the kidneys to the bladder).
These stones can block urine flow and cause a considerable amount
of pain. Many people end up expelling small stones from the body without
medical help, but larger stones may result in blockage, which is problematic.
Medical or surgical procedures may be needed in some instances,
to remove large stones. Extracorporeal shock
wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is one of the most commonly used techniques. The
procedure involves using sound waves to break stones into smaller pieces so that
they can more easily exit the body.
Other Common Urological Conditions
Some other common urological conditions include:
- prostate cancer
- bladder cancer
- bladder prolapse
- hematuria (blood in the urine)
- erectile dysfunction (ED)
- interstitial cystitis (also called painful
- overactive bladder
- prostatitis (swelling of the prostate gland)
The AUAF offers several tips for promoting good urological health
in adults and children, including:
- Stay hydrated
- Drink cranberry juice to help prevent urinary
tract infections (UTIs)
- Limit the amount of salt and caffeine you
- Stay within a healthy weight range
- Choose a smoke-free lifestyle
- Strengthen the muscles of the pelvic area with Kegel
- Encourage children to urinate immediately before
- Limit fluid intake in the nighttime hours
- Purchase athletic “cups” for young boys to help
- Instruct young girls that they should use a
front-to-back motion to wipe the genital area after going to the washroom
Tips for Parents
It is important to remember that you are the best advocate for
your own urological health. Schedule regular checkups with your doctor and make
sure to always report any concerning symptoms you develop.