Urologic disease is any congenital or acquired dysfunction of the urinary system.
Kidney diseases are normally investigated and treated by nephrologists, while the specialty of urology deals with problems in the other organs. Gynecologists may deal with problems of incontinence in women.
Diseases of other bodily systems also have a direct effect on urogenital function. For instance, it has been shown that protein released by the kidneys in diabetes mellitus sensitises the kidney to the damaging effects of hypertension.
Pre-renal failure refers to impairment of supply of blood to the functional nephrons including renal artery stenosis. Intrinsic renal diseases are the classic diseases of the kidney including drug toxicity and nephritis. Post-renal failure is outlet obstruction after the kidney, such as a kidney stone or prostatic bladder outlet obstruction. Renal failure may require medication, dietary and lifestyle modification and dialysis.
Primary renal cell carcinomas as well as metastatic cancers can affect the kidney.
Non-renal urinary tract disease
The causes of diseases of the body are common to the urinary tract. Structural and or traumatic change can lead to hemorrhage, functional blockage or inflammation. Colonisation by bacteria, protozoa or fungi can cause infection. Uncontrolled cell growth can cause neoplasia. For example:
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs), interstitial cystitis
- incontinence (involuntary loss of urine), benign prostatic hyperplasia (where the prostate overgrows), prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate).
- Urinary retention, which is a common complication of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), though it can also be caused by other types of urinary tract obstruction, nerve dysfunction, tethered spinal cord syndrome, constipation, infection and certain medications.
- Transitional cell carcinoma (bladder cancer), renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer), and prostate cancer are examples of neoplasms affecting the urinary system.
- Urinary tract obstruction
The term "uropathy" refers to a disease of the urinary tract, while "nephropathy" refers to a disease of the kidney.
Biochemical blood tests determine the amount of typical markers of renal function in the blood serum, for instance serum urea and serum creatinine. Biochemistry can also be used to determine serum electrolytes. Special biochemical tests (arterial blood gas) can determine the amount of dissolved gases in the blood, indicating if pH imbalances are acute or chronic.
- A Full Ward Test, also known as dipstick urinalysis, involves the dipping of a biochemically active test strip into the urine specimen to determine levels of tell-tale chemicals in the urine.
- Urinalysis can also involve MC&S microscopy, culture and sensitivity
Urodynamic tests evaluate the storage of urine in the bladder and the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra. It may be performed in cases of incontinence or neurological problems affecting the urinary tract.
Ultrasound is commonly performed to investigate problems of the kidney and/or urinary tract.
- KUB is plain radiography of the urinary system, e.g. to identify kidney stones.
- An intravenous pyelogram studies the shape of the urinary system.
- CAT scans and MRI can also be useful in localising urinary tract pathology.
- A voiding cystogram is a functional study where contrast "dye" is injected through a catheter into the bladder. Under x-ray the radiologist asks the patient to void (usually young children) and will watch the contrast exiting the body on the x-ray monitor. This examines the child's bladder and lower urinary tract. Typically looking for vesicoureteral reflux, involving urine backflow up into the kidneys.
- Baba, T; Murabayashi, S; Tomiyama, T; Takebe, K (1990). "Uncontrolled hypertension is associated with a rapid progression of nephropathy in type 2 diabetic patients with proteinuria and preserved renal function". The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine. 161 (4): 311–8. doi:10.1620/tjem.161.311. PMID 2256104.