For more information, please call 304.691.1900

llustration of the urinary tract

Urology is the branch of medicine concerned with the function and diseases of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs. A urologist is a physician who is trained to evaluate the genitourinary tract, which includes the kidneys, urinary bladder and genital structures in men and women, and the prostate and testicles in men.

The urinary system includes two kidneys, two ureters, the bladder, two sphincter muscles and the urethra. Your body takes nutrients from food and uses them to maintain all bodily functions, including energy and self-repair. After your body has taken what it needs from the food, waste products are left behind in the blood and in the bowel. Your organs, tubes, muscles and nerves work together to create, store and carry urine in order to keep the chemicals and water in your body balanced.

What Causes Problems in the Urinary Tract?

Problems in the urinary system can be caused by aging, illness or injury. As you get older, changes in the kidneys' structure cause them to lose some of their ability to remove wastes from the blood. Also, the muscles in your ureters, bladder and urethra tend to lose some of their strength. You may have more urinary infections because the bladder muscles do not tighten enough to empty your bladder completely. A decrease in strength of muscles of the sphincters and the pelvis can also cause incontinence, the unwanted leakage of urine. Illness or injury can also prevent the kidneys from filtering the blood completely or block the passage of urine.

When to See a Urologist

You should see a urologist when you are experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • discomfort while urinating
  • difficulty in completely emptying your bladder
  • incontinence, a loss of urinary control
  • hematuria, the appearance of blood in the urine
  • pain that appears to be related to one of the structures of the urinary tract
  • problems with sexual function
  • infertility, difficulties involved in conceiving a child

Examination & Evaluation

The urologist will review your symptoms and conduct an exam to find any areas of discomfort and tenderness or enlargement and swelling. You may be asked to provide a urine sample to test for evidence of an infection, blood, sugar or protein, which may be associated with diabetes or kidney conditions. You may have a blood test to evaluate the function of your kidneys and/or check for other conditions.

After your exam, the urologist may order imaging studies (ultrasound, CAT scan, MRI, etc.) to help evaluate the structures of your urinary tract and look for any abnormalities. Other tests may include a urodynamics study to evaluate the storage of urine in the bladder and the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra or a cystoscopy to examine the lining of your bladder.

After reviewing the results of your exam and testing, the urologist will recommend how your symptoms, conditions or abnormalities may be treated. These recommendations may include observation (wait and see), lifestyle or habit changes, medication and/or surgery.

Conditions that Urologists Often Treat

  • Cancer of the urethra
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Prostate cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Infertility

The physicians at Marshall Urology treat children and adults with problems related to the urinary tract. Their offices are located in the 20th Street Professional Building at 1115 20th Street in Huntington. For more information or to make an appointment, please call 304.691.1900.

Source: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

  • Last updated: 08/01/2014
  • Share |

Watch Video

View more videos