Many people think of a urologist when they consider conditions like prostate cancer and incontinence, but urology actually covers a much wider range of conditions. Urologists treat all diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive system. Some of the most common conditions people turn to the urologist for are as follows:
Urology covers the treatment of urologic cancers and cancers in the male reproductive system, most common prostate cancer. Cancer found in the bladder, kidney, testicles or prostate are all sometimes treated by a urologist, and are also all fairly common. Prostate cancer, for instance, is the most common non-skin cancer in American males, and one in every 10 men will have the condition at some point in his life. Bladder cancer is the ninth most common type of cancer among American women.
Male Sexual Dysfunction
Urology also covers the treatment of male sexual dysfunction, which most commonly manifests as impotence (erectile dysfunction). Impotence occurs for many reasons, including aging, damage to the nerves or muscles in the reproductive organs, or as a side effect of another chronic disease. It has a variety of treatments, including those that help a man make an erection naturally and those that use devices to attain an artificial erection. Sometimes urologist are utilized to help couples deal with male infertility and attain a successful pregnancy.
Incontinence, or the inability to hold urine in the bladder adequately, is quite common. Many women experience this problem after pregnancy and childbirth, as the muscles of the pelvic floor become stretched and damaged. It can also occur as a part of the aging process, even without a pregnancy. Urologists have a variety of treatments available, including medications to control bladder spasms, physical therapy to improve the tone of the pelvic floor muscles, and surgery to reconstruct some of the support around the bladder. The goal of this aspect of urology is to restore a patient's dignity through improving his or her quality of life.
Pediatric urology often deals with birth defects affecting the urinary tract or the male reproductive organs. Common birth defects include an abnormally located urethral organ, distention of the kidney, ureteropelvic junction obstruction, and undescended testicles. Sometimes pediatric patients also need the help of a urologist when struggling with chronic urinary tract infections. Urologists can also help with chronic bedwetting problems. Children who need the help of a urologist are typically referred to one by their pediatrician.