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Knowledge is power. Read up on the most common conditions related to Urology to keep you well-informed.


Bladder control problems

Overactive bladder (OAB) affects men and women equally and is quite common. In fact, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has reported that approximately 13 million people in the United States suffer from OAB and other forms of incontinence.

Those who’ve experienced an overactive bladder may deal with interferences at work, in their daily routine and during intimacy.

For those with an overactive bladder, the layered, smooth muscle that surrounds the bladder contracts spastically, sometimes without a known cause. This results in sustained, high bladder pressure and the immediate need to urinate, also called urgency.

People with OAB frequently experience urgency at inconvenient and unpredictable times and sometimes can lose control before reaching a toilet.

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are common. They usually occur when bacteria enter the opening of the urethra and multiply in the urinary tract.

The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, called ureters, the bladder, and the tube that carries urine from the bladder, called the urethra.

A special connection of the ureters to the bladder helps prevent urine in the bladder from backing up into the kidneys, and the normal flow of urine through the urethra, when urinating, helps to eliminate bacteria from the uretha.

Millions of people in the United States, including men, women and children, develop a UTI each year. Women develop the condition more often than men. The condition is rare in boys and young men.

Twenty percent of women in the United States develop a UTI and 20 percent of those have a recurrence. Urinary tract infections in children are more common for ages two and younger.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones form when there are too many waste products in the blood to easily dissolve in the available urine. As a result, hardened mineral deposits form in the kidney.

Sometimes, stones pass out of the kidney, become lodged in the tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder, the ureters, and cause severe pain that begins in the lower back and may radiate to the groin. A lodged stone can block the flow of urine, causing pressure to build in the affected ureter and kidney, which results in severe pain and may damage the kidney and ureter.

The kidneys must maintain an adequate amount of water in the urine to dissolve all the removed waste products. If dehydration occurs, high levels of undissolved substances may form crystals that slowly build up into kidney stones.

Kidney stones are most prevalent in patients between the ages of 30 and 45, with men affected three times more often than women.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate gland, a small, walnut-sized structure that makes up part of a man’s reproductive system. The prostate wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, exceeded only by lung cancer. African American men have the highest incidence of prostate cancer.

Reports of diagnosed cases of prostate cancer have risen in recent years and mortality rates are declining, which may be due to increased screening and earlier treatment.

Benign prostate enlargement

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate gland, but is not cancerous.

The prostate enlarges in different ways. In one type of growth, cells multiply around the urethra and squeeze it. A second type of growth is middle-lobe prostate growth in which cells grow into the urethra and the bladder outlet area. This type of prostate growth typically requires surgery.

Treatment of BPH varies depending on the individual case. There is no cure for BPH.

Vasectomy

A vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure to cut and close off the tubes that deliver sperm from the testes. This is usually requested as a means of contraception. The procedure typically takes from 15 to 30 minutes and usually causes few complications and no change in sexual function.

Vasectomy reversals

Vasectomy reversal is an option for men who’ve had a vasectomy, but would like to restore fertility. As with vasectomy, a vasectomy reversal causes no significant physical changes to the scrotal area, and after a normal healing period, sexual relations may continue.

In many cases, vasectomy reversal is performed as an outpatient procedure in a hospital or outpatient surgical center.

Using microsurgical techniques, the cut ends of the vas deferens are reconnected, allowing the small tubes to carry sperm from the testicles, thus enabling sperm enriched semen to be ejaculated during orgasm.

Following vasectomy reversal, the chance of returning sperm to the semen is high, but this does not guarantee pregnancy. Other factors, including the potency of the sperm released in the seminal fluid, are just as important as the reconnection of the tubes of the vas deferens.

Kidney cancer

Early diagnosis of kidney cancer is important. As with most types of cancer, the earlier a tumor is discovered, the better a patient's chances for survival. Tumors discovered at an early stage often respond well to treatment. Survival rates in such cases may be high.

Tumors that have grown large or spread (metastasized) through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to other parts of the body are more difficult to treat.

Several types of cancer can develop in the kidneys. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common form, accounts for most cases. In RCC, cancerous malignant cells develop in the lining of the kidney's tubules and grow into a tumor.

In most cases, a single tumor develops, although more than one tumor can develop within one or both kidneys.

Testicular cancer

Testicular cancer develops in the testes, the male reproductive glands. The testicles are located in a membranous pouch below the penis and are suspended from the body by the spermatic cord. They produce male reproductive cells and testosterone.