Urology

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Steven C. Campbell, M.D., Ph.D.


Overview

Urology is the specialty of medicine that focuses on the urinary tracts of males and females, and on the reproductive system of males. Medical professionals specializing in the field of urology are called urologists and are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with urological disorders. The organs covered by urology include the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, urethra, and the male reproductive organs (testes, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate and penis).

In men, the urinary system overlaps with the reproductive system, and in women the urinary tract opens into the vulva. In both sexes, the urinary and reproductive tracts are close together, and disorders of one often affect the other. Urology combines management of medical (i.e., non-surgical) problems such as urinary infections, and surgical problems such as the correction of congenital abnormalities and the surgical management of cancers. Such abnormalities within the genital region are called genitourinary disorders.

Urology is closely related to, and in some cases overlaps with, the medical fields of nephrology, andrology, gynecology, proctology and oncology.

Branches of urology

As a discipline that involves the study of many organs and physiological systems, urology can be broken down into subfields. Many urologists, particularly those involved in research, choose an informal specialization in a particular field of urology.

  • Neurourology involves the study of nervous system control of the genitourinary system, and of conditions causing abnormal urination. Neurological diseases and disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injury can disrupt the lower urinary tract and result in conditions such as urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, urinary retention, and detrusor-sphincter dyssynergia. Less marked neurological abnormalities can cause urological disorders as well -- for example, abnormalities of the sensory nervous system are thought by many researchers to play a role in disorders of painful or frequent urination (e.g. interstitial cystitis).[1] Urodynamic studies play an important diagnostic role in neurourology; urologists often use diagnostic techniques such as flow cystometry or ambulatory urodynamic profiles to determine the best method of treatment for the patient. Medical therapy for nervous system disorders includes drugs that target the nervous system and neuromodulation.

Other subfields of urology include stone disease, sexual dysfunction and male infertility.

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ar:طب المسالك البولية و التناسلية ca:Urologia i andrologia da:Urologi de:Urologie eu:Urologia ko:비뇨기과 hr:Urologija id:Urologi it:Urologia he:אורולוגיה nl:Urologie no:Urologi fi:Urologia sv:Urologi




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