Urology is a branch of medicine that deals with the urinary system in both men and women. The urinary system is comprised of several organs and ducts responsible for removing waste from the blood and removing it from the body as urine. Urologists therefore diagnose and treat illnesses affecting the following areas:
Kidneys – this filter waste from the blood, producing urine
Ureters – tubes that carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder
Bladder – this organ stores urine before it leaves the body
Urethra – this tube carries urine from the bladder out of the body
Adrenal glands – hormone-secreting glands located on top of the kidneys.
Urology also deals with the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the male reproductive organs, including:
The penis – the organ through which the male urethra passes to expel urine from the body. Also responsible for carrying sperm out of the body.
The testicles – two oval organs found in the scrotum which produce sperm and testosterone.
The prostate – a gland found beneath the bladder, which produces fluid that mixes with sperm to form semen.
What conditions does a urologist treat?
Urologists treat a wide variety of conditions affecting the parts of the body listed above. In both men and women, a urologist would treat the following conditions:
Urological oncology – deals with cancers affecting the urinary system and male reproductive system.
Female and reconstructive urology – deals with bladder issues and incontinence in women, neurological disorders in both men and women (neurourology), and patients undergoing reconstruction of the urinary tract.
When should you see a urologist?
Your GP may refer you to a urologist if they diagnose you with a condition they cannot treat you for, or if your symptoms persist after they have treated you for a mild urinary problem, such as a UTI.
The following symptoms suggest a problem with the urinary system, and it is advisable to consult your GP or a urologist if you experience them:
Blood in the urine
Pain/burning sensation while urinating
Weak urine flow, such as dribbling
Frequent or urgent need to urinate
Pain in the lower back, sides and pelvis
The following symptoms in men could signify a problem with the reproductive system, and also warrant a visit to a urology clinic: