What is Urology?
Urology is the surgical specialty that essentially focuses on the disorders or diseases associated with the urinary tracts of males and females, and the male reproductive system. Medical professionals who specialise in this field are called Urologists and are trained to effectively diagnose, treat, and manage patients suffering from related disorders. The various organs covered by urology include – kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, urethra, and male reproductive organs namely – the, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate and penis.
Urology involves the management of problems such as urinary tract stones, infections and benign prostatic enlargement, as well as complicated surgical problems such as the surgical management of different types of cancers and correction of congenital defects. Moreover, it is closely related to other medical fields including Oncology, Nephrology, Gynaecology, Gastroenterology, and Endocrinology. It is a discipline that combines the study of different organs and physiological systems, comprising different sub-fields.
When to see a urologist?
You may consult a urologist if you face issues such as:
- Painful urination, straining or difficulty in passing urine, poor flow, frequency or urgency and incomplete voiding
- Abdominal pain radiating to the groin with or without nausea or fever
- Blood in the urine or Hematuria, which could be an early sign of a bladder or kidney cancer
- Urinary tract infection, kidney stones and bladder infections
- An increase in PSA levels or a change in PSA, the most sensitive indicator of prostate cancer
- Any defect or abnormality of the kidney revealed by an X-ray
- A testicular mass or continuous pain in scrotum
- Male infertility problems such as low sperm count and sperm abnormalities
- Erectile dysfunction or ejaculatory problems
What causes kidney stones?
Factors that could increase the potential risk of developing kidney stones include:
- People who live in regions that have predominantly warm climates and those prone to excessive sweating
- Consuming food rich in high protein, sodium and sugar
- Gastric bypass surgery, inflammatory bowel disease or chronic diarrhoea can bring about changes in the digestive process, which could in turn affect the assimilation of calcium and water
- Other medical conditions such as Renal tubular acidosis, Cystinuria, and Hyperparathyroidism
- High uric acid levels
- Recurrent Urinary tract infections
- Family history of stones
- Men are more vulnerable to developing kidney stones when compared to women
- Certain medications
How much water should I consume in a day to prevent the formation of kidney stones?
Adequate hydration does have a role in preventing stones; however, many patients, especially the elderly, land up with increased urinary frequency, urgency, nighttime frequency, incontinence, disturbed sleep, and daytime sleepiness, resulting in falls.
Water requirements are based on ambient temperature and activity level.
To maintain good hydration status: Heed your thirst and check your urine colour.
Should patients with kidney stones avoid foods containing seeds?
Foods containing seeds like tomato, guava, and lady finger need not be avoided by patients with kidney stones as they do not increase the potential for stone formation.
Their diet needs to be altered depending on the type of kidney stone.