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Urology, also known as genitourinary surgery, is the branch of medicine that focuses on the surgical and medical diseases of the male and female urinary tract system and the male reproductive organs.  The organs under the domain of urology include the kidneys, adrenal glands, ureters, urinary bladder, urethra, and the male reproductive organs (testes, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate and penis).

Your kidneys are very important to your overall health.  They are our very own filtration system, filtering wastes from our bodies.  The kidneys are also responsible for regulating blood pressure and electrolyte balance.  There are many conditions that affect not only the kidneys, but also the bladder and the urinary tract.  Kidney stones, urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder incontinence, and bladder cancer.

Kidney stones: A solid piece of material which is formed in the kidneys from minerals in urine. Kidney stones typically leave the body in the urine stream, and a small stone may pass without causing symptoms. If stones grow to sufficient size (usually at least 3 millimeters (0.12 in)) they can cause blockage of the ureter.  Some stones may pass on their own but others may not.  If the stone becomes stuck in the ureter it may cause pain in the lower flank (back) or the groin.  The pain may come in waves lasting between 20-60 minutes.  Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fever, and blood in the urine.  If left untreated blockage of the ureter may cause decreased kidney function.

UTIs: Infection of the urinary tract, which includes the urethra, ureter, bladder, and kidneys.  Common symptoms of a UTI include fever, burning when urinating, a desire to urinate frequently, and cloudy urine.

Bladder Incontinence: Loss of bladder control due to the muscles being too weak to maintain the bladder seal.  Symptoms can be minor urine leakage or total loss of control of the bladder.

Bladder Cancer: Bladder cancer is a type of cancer that begins in your bladder — a balloon-shaped organ in your pelvic area that stores urine. Bladder cancer begins most often in the cells that line the inside of the bladder. Bladder cancer typically affects older adults, though it can occur at any age. The great majority of bladder cancers are diagnosed at an early stage — when bladder cancer is highly treatable. However, even early-stage bladder cancer is likely to recur. For this reason, bladder cancer survivors often undergo follow-up tests to look for bladder cancer recurrence for years after treatment.

Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in a man's prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer usually grows slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly. When detected early, prostate cancer has a better chance of successful treatment.

Some of these conditions may be able to be treated medically, meaning no surgical intervention is necessary, however some cannot.  Some of the common surgical procedures performed are: lithotripsy for kidney stones, this involves breaking up the stone with shock waves over the flank area. A cystoscopy is when a scope with a camera is placed  into the bladder to detect any abnormalities.  Laser vaporization of the prostate, entails laser energy being applied to the prostate instantly vaporizing and removing it.  If  surgical intervention is necessary for your condition, Sacred Heart Hospital has the capability and knowledge to provide you with excellent surgical urologic care.
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