The examination of the urine to diagnose and treat diseases dates back to ancient Egypt and Greece when doctors used to examine urine's odour, colour, and texture. They also looked for any blood, bubbles, and other potential signs of disease in the sample.
At present, an entire field of medicine is dedicated to it. Urology deals with problems related to the urinary system and Urologists are medical professionals who specialise in examining the conditions that affect the urinary and reproductive systems in men, women, and children. Here’s a look at what urologists do, what procedure they follow, how you can book a urologist appointment, and when you need to see a urologist.
What is a Urologist?
Urologists are doctors who diagnose and treat diseases of the urinary tract in men, women, and children. The urinary system in the human body is responsible for cleaning and filtering out wastes and toxins from the body. The urinary system includes:
- Kidneysare organs that filter waste out from the blood and produceurine.
- Adrenal glandsare located on top of each kidney and are responsible forthe secretionof hormones.
- Ureters are tube-like organs that carry urine from the kidneys to bladders.
- The bladder is a hollow sac organ that stores urine.
- The urethra is also a tube-like organ that carries urine from the bladder and disposesof the body.
At times, a urologist may also perform surgery. For example, any blockage or formation of a tumour in the urinary tract is treated by urologists.
Furthermore, a urologist also treats problems related to the reproductive system in men and women, as the reproductive system is bound closely to the urinary system. The male reproductive system includes:
- The penis is an organ that carries out sperm and urine from the body.
- The prostate is a gland located under the bladder which adds fluid to sperm that forms semen.
- Testicles are two oval-shaped organs inside the scrotum that is responsible to secrete the testosterone hormone and sperm cells.
Sometimes, you might hear the term ‘genitourinary' used, which refers to conditions, symptoms, and treatments that affect both urinary and reproductive systems.
What Conditions Do Urologists Treat?
Urologists diagnose and treat a wide variety of conditions and some rare illnesses that affect men, women, and children, and some diseases that affect only men or only women. Have a look at some of these conditions:
In men, urologists treat the following conditions
- Any type of blockage or cancer formed in the kidneys, bladder, penis, testicles, prostate glands, and adrenal glands.
- Hematuria, or blood in the urine
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia or enlarged prostate.
- Kidney stone
- Urinary tract infections(UTIs)
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome
In women, urologists treat the following conditions
- Bladder prolapse, or the dropping of the bladder into the vagina.
- Any type of blockage or cancer formed in the kidneys, bladder, and adrenal glands
- Urinary tract infections of UTIs
- Urinary incontinence
- Interstitial cystitis
In children, urologists treat the following conditions
- Undescended testicles
- Blockages and other problems with the urinary tract
What Treatments Procedure Can a Urologist Perform?
There are several treatments that a urologist performs that require different procedures to be followed. We’ve listed some of them for you below:
- Ureteroscopy: a procedure carried out to cure kidney stones.
- Cystoscopy: involves examining the bladder and urethra with the help of a cystoscope. It diagnoses and cures enlarged prostate and bladder problems.
- Nephrectomy: is a surgical procedure used for kidney removal.
- Prostate Biopsy: is a procedure that involves removing doubtful tissue samples from the prostate.
- Vasectomy: is a procedure that seals the vas deferens (male birth control surgery).
When Should You See A Urologist?
If you’re having mild problems with your urinary system, like aUTI, you can visit your primary care doctor who can treat you. If the condition is severe, your primary care doctor will refer you to a urologist.
So, when do you need to book a urologist appointment?
If you’re facing the problems listed below then you might want to see a urologist as soon as possible.
- Urine leakage
- Blood in the urine
- An unusual and frequent need to urinate
- Pain in your pelvis or lower back
- Difficulty, burning sensation or pain while urinating
- Dribbling or weak urine flow
For men, you must see a urologist if you’re having such symptoms.
- Difficulty in getting or keeping an erection
- Decreased sexual desire
- Lump formation in the testicles
In some cases, you’ll have to consult both a urologist and another doctor for treatment. For example, someone who’s suffering from prostate cancer will need treatment from an oncologist(cancer specialist) and urologist at the same time.
The problems of the urinary system must not be neglected and should be treated as soon as possible. You can see a urologist at your local healthcare facility or browse doctors around your area.