Urology is the surgical speciality that treats disease of the kidney and the urinary tract. This includes the ureter (tube connecting kidney above with the urinary bladder below), urinary bladder, urethra (water pipe), and the genital organs including the prostate in men.
Urologists are specialists in the above human body system (Water works Specialists!) and work closely with radiologists (CT scan and ultrasound specialists) and nephrologists (kidney physicians) in managing diseases of the urinary tract.
The Kidneys are the generators of the urinary system. They are responsible for the filtration of the body waste products, balance of mineral levels and production of important hormones. They balance various body functions such as optimising blood pressure, regulating blood flow, managing the mineral through-flow between the intestines and the urinary system.
Ureters are muscular tubes (approximately 22cms-28cms in length) which contracts and propels the urine down from the kidney into the urinary bladder.
Urological diseases of the upper urinary tract occur due to imbalance of these functions. This includes stone disease which present with pain in the flank (side of the back), blood in the urine or repeated urinary infections. Drainage obstruction can occur due to the narrowing of the ureter at any level and often results in the dilatation of the kidney drainage system requiring surgical correction.
Cancers of the Kidney are often diagnosed incidentally (when having an ultrasound or CT scan for other abdominal symptoms), but can also present with blood in the urine or pain. Cancers of the Ureter are rare cancers and are often diagnosed during investigations for blood in the urine. There are often non-cancerous causes for blood in the urine.
Lower urinary tract consists of the urinary bladder, urethra (water pipe) and associated genital organs. In men; there is the prostate, ejaculatory system, the testis and the penis. In women, the urethra is much shorter just above the vagina with the uterus and cervix having an indirect role on the urinary tract.
The urinary bladder is an intriguing organ which could be obstructed from the prostate enlargement or cervical abnormalities or overactive due to the irritation of the bladder muscle (detrusor). The pelvis has a hammock of muscles which keep the the downward tubes (urinary and bowel) under tight control. Investigating this system is like an Engine ‘MOT’ with the Urologist deciphering the appropriate culprit organ before initiating medical, behavioural or surgical treatment.