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What is urology?

Urology is a medical specialty that focuses on the urinary tract system for women, men, and children, and the male reproductive system. The urinary tract includes the bladder, ureters, urethra, adrenal glands and kidneys. The main purposes of the system are to help remove liquid waste from the blood and to keep the balance of salts and other substances in the blood. It also produces a hormone called erythropoietin, which helps form red blood cells. The male reproductive system includes the penis, testicles and prostate. The main purpose of this system is reproduction.

There are subspecialties under the urology umbrella, including:

What does a urologist do?

Urologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the urinary tract, such as bladder and kidney infections, pelvic floor disorders, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence or the male reproductive system.

Some urologists perform surgery as well.

What conditions does a urologist treat?

Urologists treat conditions in women, children and men. Some of the more common urologic conditions they treat for women are:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Urinary incontinence 
    • Stress incontinence
    • Urge incontinence/overactive bladder
    • Neurogenic bladder
  • Kidney stones
  • Interstitial cystitis (IC), also called painful bladder syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Pelvic floor disorders
  • Pelvic organ prolapse – the bulging or dropping of the bladder, uterus, or rectum into the vagina
    • Cystocele - when the bladder falls
    • Uterine prolapse - when the uterus falls 
    • Enterocele - when the small bowel pushes against the vagina and causes a bulge
    • Rectocele - when the rectum falls   
    • Vaginal vault prolapse - when the vagina falls
  • Pelvic pain

Pediatric urologists treat children. Some of the conditions urologists see children for are:

  • Enuresis (wetting the bed)
  • Undescended testicles
  • Blockages in the urinary tract
  • General problems with the urinary tract

In men, urologists often treat conditions like:

Enlarged prostate gland

  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Infertility
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney disease
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis) 
  • Interstitial cystitis (IC)
  • Varicoceles
  • Cancer
    • Bladder cancer
    • Kidney cancer
    • Penis cancer
    • Testicular cancer
    • Prostate cancer
    • Cancer of the adrenal gland(s)

What types of treatments do urologists offer?

Urologists offer many treatment options that range from physical therapy to medication to surgery and non-surgical procedures, such as nerve stimulation and Botox injections. Your treatment will depend upon a number of factors, including your symptoms and how they affect your life, the severity of your condition, your age and overall health, and what your treatment goals are.

Before suggesting treatments, your urologist will want to make sure you have a proper diagnosis.

  • To help test for and diagnose urologic disorders, urologists may perform the following tests:
  • Imaging tests to help visualize the urinary tract
    • CT scan
    • MRI scan
    • Ultrasound
  • Cystogram to take X-ray images of the bladder
  • Cystoscopy to see the inside of the urethra and bladder using a thin scope
  • Post-void residual urine test to find out how fast urine leaves the body and how much is left in the body after urination
  • Urinalysis to test for bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections
  • Urodynamic testing to measure volume and pressure inside the bladder

Beaumont urologists offer a variety of treatments to address urologic conditions in women, children and men. Some of those treatments are:

  • Nerve stimulation to treat some pelvic floor disorders
  • Botox injectionsPelvic floor physical therapy
  • Behavioral modification
  • Extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy, which is done to break up kidney stones to help them pass through the urethra more easily
  • Transurethral needle ablation of the prostate to treat an enlarged prostate
  • Surgical procedures
    • A sling procedure that helps support the urethra in order to treat urinary incontinence
    • Ureteroscopy to remove kidney stones using a scope
    • A prostatectomy to treat prostate cancer by removing all or part of the prostate gland
    • A vasectomy as a male form of birth control
    • Cystectomy (removing the bladder) to treat bladder cancer
    • Kidney transplant
    • Procedures to open blockages in the urinary tract system

When should you see a urologist?

If you have an occasional mild urinary tract infection, your primary care physician may offer treatments. But for recurring UTIs and other urologic issues, you may want to see a urologist who specializes in treating urologic conditions. Depending on your condition, your urologist may also recommend you see additional specialists. 

  • If you have any of the following symptoms, it may be time to see a urologist.
  • Blood in your urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Urinary urgency (suddenly feeling like you need to urinate right away)
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain in your lower back or on either side of your body near the lower abdomen
  • Pain or burning while you urinate
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Leaking urine 
  • A week flow of urine or dribbling of urine while you’re urinating
  • A feeling of fullness in the bladder
  • The inability to fully empty the bladder or feeling like you need to go again right after urinating
  • Pain during or after intercourse

Men who are experiencing the following symptoms may want to see a urologist:

  • A lump in one testicle
  • Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
  • Decreased sexual desire

If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving a child, a urologist may be able to help pinpoint a reason.

If you have any concerning symptoms, call your doctor today to get a referral to a Beaumont urologist. We understand you may be uncomfortable talking about these issues with anyone, so we will make your visit as comfortable as possible. Just remember that treating conditions like yours is what we do every day. There is no need to be embarrassed. When you come to Beaumont, you can expect the utmost respect and confidentiality. 

Contact Us Today.

If you have questions about which Beaumont specialist would be best to help with your treatment, please contact us at 800-633-7377 to schedule an appointment.