About Urologist Speciality
A urologist is a trained medical professional who diagnoses and treats diseases related to the urinary system in men, women and children along with the male reproductive organs. Urinary tract infection, kidney stones, urinary incontinence, prolapse, vaginal fistulas, TURP, benign prostatic hyperplasia, urinary retention, overactive bladder, sexual dysfunctions, kidney stones, enlarged prostate are some of the medical conditions that a urologist provides treatment for.
In order to become a certified urologist, one must complete graduation from a medical college followed by 4-year medical program and then 4-5 years of training program or residency. After completing residency, aspirants complete a year or two of fellowship. This can include female urology, male infertility, neurourology, paediatric urology or urologic oncology.
When to see a urologist?
Following conditions require the attention of a urologist.
- Cancers of the bladder, kidneys, penis, testicles, and adrenal and prostate glands
- Prostate gland enlargement
- Erectile dysfunction or trouble getting or keeping an erection
- Interstitial cystitis, also called painful bladder syndrome
- Kidney diseases
- Kidney stones
- Prostatitis which is inflammation of the prostate gland
- Urinary tract infections (UTIS)
- Varicoceles or enlarged veins in the scrotum
- Bladder prolapse, or the dropping of the bladder into the vagina
- Cancers of the bladder, kidneys, and adrenal glands
- Interstitial cystitis
- Overactive bladder
- Urinary incontinence
- Blockages and other problems with the urinary tract structure
- Undescended testicles
Different types of surgeries performed by urologists
Following surgeries and procedures are usually performed by a urologist.
Biopsies of the bladder, kidneys, or prostate
- A cystectomy, which involves removing the bladder, to treat cancer
- Extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy
- Kidney transplant
- Procedure to open a blockage
- Repair of damage due to injury
- Repair of urinary organs
- Sling procedure
- Transurethral resection of the prostate
- Transurethral needle ablation of the prostate
- Vasectomy to prevent pregnancy
Medical conditions treated by a urologist
Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection is a form of infection affecting primarily your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Women are at greater risk of developing this disease than men. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of urinary tract infection.
Symptoms of urinary tract infection
Symptoms include persistent urge to urinate, burning sensation when urinating, passing frequent, small amounts of urine, urine that appears cloudy, urine that appears red, bright pink, strong-smelling urine, pelvic pain in women.
Treatment of urinary tract infection
A urologist may prescribe medicines such as sulfamethoxazole, fosfomycin, nitrofurantoin, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, cephalexin, ceftriaxone, azithromycin and doxycycline.
Kidney stones refer to as small, hard mineral deposits that form inside your kidneys. These stones can form in urinary bladder as well. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of kidney stones.
Symptoms of kidney stones
Symptoms include severe pain in the side and back, pain that spreads to the lower abdomen and groin, pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity, pain on urination, red or brown urine, foul-smelling urine, nausea and vomiting, persistent need to urinate, urinating more often than usual, fever and chills if an infection is present, urinating small amounts of urine.
Treatment of kidney stones
A urologist will suggest drinking at least 3 litres of water a day to flush out your urinary system. Additionally, he may prescribe pain relievers such as ibuprofen if a small stone causes some discomfort. For larger stones, a urologist may recommend using sound waves to break up stones or surgery to remove very large stones in the kidney.
Urinary incontinence is a common and often embarrassing problem which refers to the loss of bladder control. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of urinary incontinence.
Symptoms of Urinary incontinence
Symptoms include a sudden, intense urge to urinate, involuntary loss of urine when you exert pressure on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising, constant dribbling of urine etc.
Treatment of Urinary incontinence
A urologist will prescribe medicines such as anticholinergics, mirabegron, alpha blockers and topical oestrogen. Additionally, he may suggest medical devices designed to treat women with incontinence including urethral insert and pessary.
Interstitial cystitis, also known as painful bladder syndrome, is a chronic condition which causes mild to intense bladder pressure, bladder pain and sometimes pelvic pain. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of interstitial cystitis.
Symptoms of Interstitial cystitis
Symptoms include pain in your pelvis or between the vagina and anus in women, pain between the scrotum and anus in men, chronic pelvic pain, urgent need to urinate, frequent urination, discomfort while the bladder fills and relief after urinating, pain during sexual intercourse.
Treatment of Interstitial cystitis
A urologist will prescribe oral medicines to improve the signs of interstitial cystitis including ibuprofen, amitriptyline, loratadine and pentosan polysulfate sodium. He may also suggest nerve stimulation techniques such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or sacral nerve stimulation.
Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis)
Kidney infection is a form of urinary tract infection that has travelled to the kidney from an infection in the bladder. A kidney infection can permanently damage your kidneys if left untreated. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of kidney infection.
Symptoms of Kidney infection
Symptoms include fever, back, side or groin pain, abdominal pain, frequent urination, strong, persistent urge to urinate, burning sensation or pain when urinating, pus or blood in your urine, urine that smells bad or is cloudy.
Treatment of Kidney infection
A urologist may prescribe antibiotics because that is generally the first line of treatment for kidney infections. In severe cases, you may be given antibiotics intravenously.
Hematuria (Blood in the urine)
Hematuria refers to a presence red blood cells in the urine. It is usually caused by urinary tract infection, kidney stones, kidney or bladder tumour, or traumatic injury to any part of the urinary tract. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of hematuria.
Symptoms of Hematuria
Symptoms include pink, red or cola-coloured urine.
Treatment of Hematuria
A urologist may prescribe antibiotics to clear a urinary tract infection, medication to shrink an enlarged prostate, or shock wave therapy to break up bladder or kidney stones.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), also known as enlarges prostate, is a urological condition mainly affecting old age men. If left untreated, this disease can block the flow of urine out of the bladder and cause bladder, urinary tract or kidney problems. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia
Symptoms include urgent need to urinate, increased frequency of urination at night, difficulty starting urination, weak urine stream, dribbling at the end of urination, straining while urinating and inability to completely empty the bladder.
Treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia
Medicines are commonly used to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia. A urologist may prescribe alpha blockers, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, combination drug therapy or tadalafil. In severe cases, a urologist will perform certain surgical procedures such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP), transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT) or transurethral needle ablation (TUNA).
Urethritis is a swelling of the urethra which is not similar to a urinary tract infection. The main cause of urethritis is usually a bacterial infection. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of urethritis.
Symptoms of urethritis
Symptoms include burning sensation while urinating, burning near the opening of the penis, presence of blood in the semen or urine, discharge from the penis, abnormal discharge from the vagina in women.
Treatment of urethritis
Treatment for urethritis involves a course of antibiotics or antiviral medicines including azithromycin, doxycycline, erythromycin, ofloxacin or levofloxacin.
Urinary retention refers to an inability to empty the bladder. It can be acute or chronic. It may be caused by an enlarged prostate or bladder stones, infections that cause swelling or irritation. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of urinary retention.
Symptoms of urinary retention
Symptoms include severe discomfort and pain, an urgent need to urinate but you simply can't, and bloated lower belly, mild but constant discomfort, difficulty starting a stream of urine, weak flow of urine, needing to go frequently, or feeling you still need to go after you've finished.
Treatment of urinary retention
A urologist may suggest catheterization, treating prostate enlargement, and surgical procedures for the treatment of urinary retention.
Acute Kidney Injury
Acute kidney injury refers to sudden damage to the kidneys that causes them to not work properly. The damage can be minor in nature of there is complete kidney failure. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of acute kidney injury.
Symptoms of acute kidney injury
Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, dehydration, confusion, high blood pressure, abdominal pain, slight backache and a build-up of fluid in the body.
Treatment of acute kidney injury
Treatment of acute kidney injury depends on the underlying cause and extent of illness. A urologist may advise stopping any medication that may be causing the situation along with treating underlying infections. In severe cases, dialysis may be needed.
A urethral stricture is a urological condition in which scarring narrows the tube that carries urine out of your body. It causes a blocked or reduced flow of urine which can lead to severe complications. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of urethral stricture.
Symptoms of urethral stricture
Symptoms include slowing of your urine stream, urine leakage or dribbling after urination, spraying of the urine stream, pain when urinating, increased urge to urinate or more frequent urination, discharge from the penis, pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen.
Treatment of urethral stricture
Currently, there are no medicines to treat urethral stricture disease. A urologist may recommend surgical procedures such as urethral dilations, internal urethrotomy or permanent urethral stents.
Overactive bladder is a urological condition in which there is a sudden feeling of needing to urinate which may be difficult to stop. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of overactive bladder.
Symptoms of overactive bladder
Symptoms include feel a sudden urge to urinate that's difficult to control, urge incontinence, urinate frequently, usually eight or more times in 24 hours, awaken two or more times in the night to urinate.
Treatment of overactive bladder
A urologist may prescribe medicines to relax the bladder including tolterodine, oxybutynin, oxybutynin gel, trospium, solifenacin, darifenacin, mirabegron and fesoterodine.
Vesicoureteral reflux refers to an abnormal backflow of urine from the bladder into the ureter and up to the kidney. Vesicoureteral reflux is usually diagnosed in infants and children. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of vesicoureteral reflux.
Symptoms of vesicoureteral reflux
Symptoms include strong, persistent urge to urinate, burning sensation when urinating, passing frequent, small amounts of urine, blood in the urine, fever, pain in your side or abdomen, or hesitancy to urinate or holding urine to avoid the burning sensation.
Treatment of vesicoureteral reflux
A urologist may prescribe antibiotics to to keep the infection from moving to the kidneys. In severe cases, he may suggest surgical procedures including open surgery, robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery or endoscopic surgery.
Urethral syndrome is a urological condition that affects the urethra, the tube that extends from your bladder to the outside of the body. Urethritis usually develops because of a bacteria or a virus. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of urethral syndrome.
Symptoms of Urethral syndrome
Symptoms include lower abdominal pain, a feeling of pressure in the abdomen, a sense of urgency to urinate, more frequent urination, trouble urinating, pain during urination or sex, blood in the urine.
Treatment of Urethral syndrome
A urologist may prescribe antibiotics, anaesthetics, antispasmodics, antidepressants and alpha-blockers for urethral syndrome treatment.
Cystinuria is an inherited lifelong condition in which stones made of the amino acid cystine form in the kidneys, bladder, and ureters. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of cystinuria.
Symptoms of Cystinuria
Symptoms include blood in the urine, severe pain in the side or the back, almost always on one side, nausea and vomiting, pain near the groin, pelvis, or abdomen.
Treatment of Cystinuria
A urologist may prescribe chelating agents to dissolve the cystine crystals. Pain medications may also be prescribed to control pain while passing stones. In severe cases, surgical procedures such as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) or percutaneous nephrostolithotomy may be suggested.
Gitelman syndrome is a rare inherited disease in which there is a specific defect in kidney function impairing the kidney’s ability to reabsorb salt. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of gitelman syndrome.
Symptoms of gitelman syndrome
Symptoms include Muscle weakness, spasms, cramps, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation, fever, excessive thirst, frequent need to urinate, etc.
Treatment of gitelman syndrome
There is no cure for Gitelman syndrome. A urologist may prescribe oral potassium and magnesium supplements along with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Bladder stones are hard masses of minerals that can form inside the bladder when it's not completely empty of urine. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of bladder stones.
Symptoms of bladder stones
Symptoms include severe lower abdominal pain, pain or difficulty when urinating, urinating more frequently (particularly at night), cloudy or dark-coloured urine, blood in the urine.
Treatment of bladder stones
Surgery is the only option to remove the stones from the bladder. A urologist may suggest a cystolitholapaxy, where a thin tube (cystoscope) with a camera at the end is used to find the bladder stones.
Nocturia is a urological condition in which you wake up during the night because you have to urinate. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of nocturia.
Symptoms of nocturia
Symptoms include excessive urination at night, usually more than once.
Treatment of nocturia
A urologist may prescribe anticholinergic medications to reduce symptoms of overactive bladder, diuretics that assist in regulating urine production and desmopressin to help the kidneys produce less urine.
Erectile dysfunction, often called impotence, is the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex. It may be because of an underlying medical condition. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of erectile dysfunction.
Symptoms of erectile dysfunction
Symptoms include trouble getting an erection, trouble keeping an erection, reduced sexual desire.
Treatment of erectile dysfunction
A urologist may prescribe oral medicines such as sildenafil, tadalafil, vardenafil and avanafil. Other medications include Self-injections, alprostadil urethral suppository, or testosterone replacement. Penis pumps, Penile implants or blood vessel surgery are also recommended in severe cases.
Premature ejaculation is a common sexual problem in which a man ejaculates sooner during sexual intercourse than he or his partner usually prefers. A urologist is a specialist with expertise in the management of premature ejaculation.
Symptoms of premature ejaculation
Symptoms include ejaculation that routinely occurs with little sexual stimulation and with little control, decreased sexual pleasure because of poor control over ejaculation, feelings of guilt, embarrassment or frustration.
Treatment of premature ejaculation
A urologist may prescribe anaesthetic creams and sprays that contain a numbing agent, such as benzocaine, lidocaine or prilocaine along with antidepressants, analgesics and phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors.