What is Urology?
Urology is the area of medicine specialised in the functions and disorders of the urinary tract system in both males and females. This system, which is where our bodies make and get rid of urine, is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra, as well as the male reproductive organs, making urology one of the most varied branches of surgery. Our Bristol based urology surgeons treat everything from prostate cancer to stress incontinence.
Being such a broad field, urology is broken down into further specialisms. Some of the principle sub-specialisms you may come across are:
- Endourology – treatment of prostate, bladder, kidney stones and other kidney conditions.
- Urological oncology – treatment of cancer affecting the urinary tract and male reproductive system.
- Andrology – urology and reproductive issues unique to men.
- Female urology – bladder problems and incontinence in women.
As well as being a broad field, urology is constantly improving thanks to the advancement of technology in areas such as key-hole techniques and robotic surgery – areas which our team of surgeons in Bristol are experts in. As a result, urology treatments are known to be some of the least invasive in surgery meaning minimal discomfort and quicker recovery times.
When should I see a Urology Specialist?
There are a range of reasons you may need to visit a urology specialist. Some of the urology conditions and symptoms we regularly investigate and treat here in Bristol are described below. These represent a fraction of what our urology team in Bristol can advise on and treat. If you have further questions on any urology related concern, do not hesitate to get in touch.
Urinary Incontinence – If you suffer the involuntary loss of urine, there are several surgical treatments which may be offered to you, depending on the specific cause. For example, Botox may be injected into the bladder wall to relax the muscles and reduce the need to urinate.
Haematuria (blood in urine) – A urology expert will be able to determine the cause of this worrying but normally harmless symptom, which is most likely to be a urinary tract infection (UTI). You may need to undergo a cystoscopy, a common procedure in urology where a thin tube with a camera on the end is inserted into the urethra and into the bladder.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) – As well as blood in urine, signs you have a UTI are pain or a burning sensation when urinating and needing to urinate more frequently. While it is usually diagnosed from such symptoms alone, your urology consultant may recommend a cystoscopy or an ultrasound scan to rule out other conditions. It can then normally be easily treated with a course of antibiotics.
Kidney Stones – While small kidney stones may pass unnoticed, they can be very painful and if large, they may need to be treated by a urology surgeon. There are two types of surgery. Ureterorenoscopy involves a long thin telescope being passed into the urethra, bladder and ureter so the stone can be removed by another instrument or laser. The alternative is percutaneous (keyhole) surgery, where a long telescope is passed through an incision in the back to the kidney so the stone can be pulled out.