Urology is a separate medical specialization that deals with diagnosing and treating diseases of the urinary and genital organs. Urology treats both men and women but is mainly responsible for male patients.
Urologists treat organs of the genitourinary system, namely:
- Urinary tract: ureters, bladder and urethra;
- Testicles, prostate and penis (in men).
The human urological system is vital. Firstly, the kidneys filter toxins from the blood and form urine. Then, urine is excreted through the ureters, bladder and urethra.
Common urological diseases are:
- Inflammations (pyelonephritis, glomerulonephritis, cystitis, prostatitis);
- Stones in the kidneys and bladder;
- Kidney failure;
- Tumours (kidney cancer, bladder cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia);
- Impotence, phimosis (narrowing of the foreskin), male infertility.
Bacteria and genital infections usually cause urological inflammation; stone diseases can be caused by genetic factors and dietary or metabolic disorders.
Urological diseases are typically serious, as they can cause severe complications, such as kidney failure, encephalopathy, heart failure, sepsis, and others.
Common urological symptoms
There is a wide range of urological signs:
- Pain is a leading symptom; it can be in the lower abdomen, the lower back, in the perineum;
- Urination issues: painful, difficult, frequent, urinary retention or incontinence;
- Blood in the urine;
- Discomfort, redness, and lump in the area of male reproductive organs;
- Increased body temperature and swelling.
A distinctive sign of the stone disease is renal colic - a sharp, incredibly severe pain caused by a stone movement along the urinary tract. With genital infections, rash and fever are disturbing. Typical symptoms of prostate diseases are painful inability to urinate, impotence, and erectile dysfunction.
Doctors diagnose urological diseases based on taking a medical history, physical examination, blood and urine tests and imaging. Laboratory tests are mandatory and include the following:
- Blood tests show signs of inflammation.
- A specific PSA test (prostate-specific antigen) helps diagnose prostate cancer.
- Urinalysis reveals blood in the urine and an excess of bacteria.
- Spermogram is done to prepare children or find out the cause of infertility.
Endoscopy involves studying urological organs using a thin tube with a camera.
Ultrasound of the urogenital organ is the most common method. It shows organs' location, size and shape of stones, tumours, and cysts.
Additional imaging methods are the following:
- X-ray methods (urography and cystography) with and without contrast reveal the structure of organs, congenital abnormalities, trauma or inflammation.
- Renal angiography uses X-rays to examine kidney vessels (arteries and veins). Doctors may look for an aneurysm, stenosis (narrowing), or vessel blockage.
- Computer or magnetic resonance tomographies are more accurate and informative procedures. Typically, urologists prescribe these techniques to assess the stage and extent of tumours and show vascular disorders.
The puncture mainly clarifies tumour malignancy. Then, the doctor takes a small piece of tissue (kidney, bladder, prostate) and examines it under a microscope.
How are urology problems treated?
Depending on the disease severity, urologists prescribe medication or reserve surgical solutions.
Drug therapy involves the use of various medicines to reduce symptoms:
- Antibiotics relieve bacterial infections;
- Antispasmodics relieve pain when urinating or with renal colic;
- Blood pressure-lowering drugs are helpful in the development of renal hypertension.
- Certain drugs facilitate urination in benign prostatic hyperplasia (alpha-blockers).
- Diuretics relieve the body of excess fluid and swelling.
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is a suitable alternative to the surgical removal of a kidney stone. ESWL removes kidney stones that do not pass on their own. The shock waves break the stones into small pieces, easily excreted with urine. Surgery is recommended to remove huge stones.
Transurethral resection involves inserting a cystoscope (thin tube) into the urethra, which cuts away diseased tissue and bumps and cauterizes the wound. It is a minimally invasive medical procedure and has lower risks.
Robotic laparoscopic surgery uses da Vinci technology. The mechanical device removes prostate cancer, corrects ureteral defects, and restores urination.
Laser therapy is widespread and uses a high-energy laser to remove overgrowth tissue. Immediately after the procedure, the symptoms are relieved. Laser ablation vaporizes excess tissue to enlarge the ducts.
In severe cases, urologists remove the entire organ or part of it (nephrectomy, prostatectomy, cystectomy.). Usually, doctors perform such operations on advanced cancer.
Reconstructive (plastic) surgery restores organs after injuries, surgeries, and malformations.
Organ transplantation is the replacement of damaged urinary organs with healthy ones. With a successful transplant, patients enjoy a near-optimal quality of life.
What is the advantage of urology abroad?
Medical tourism's rapid development and popularity are associated with specific benefits of urological treatment abroad:
- Large selection of medical centres. In various countries, several specialized urological clinics meet world standards of medical care.
- Timeliness. Rapid diagnosis is essential to start treatment as soon as possible. The presence of high-precision equipment and special equipment for low-traumatic operations on the territory of one hospital saves necessary time.
- Advanced equipment. The latest imported devices for confirming the diagnosis, robotic da Vinci technology and modern rehabilitation methods are widely available in advanced urological clinics.
- Individual therapy approaches. Highly qualified foreign urologists know that each patient and their illness is unique. Therefore, doctors make treatment plans according to individual sensitivity and reactions of the body, as well as comorbidities and patient preferences.
What is modern urological treatment available?
Minimally invasive surgeries such as transurethral resection and endoscopic surgery are widely used for their many advantages. Robotic DaVinci surgery is also a modern approach for urological diseases. In cases of organ loss, urologists recommend transplantation.
Why can urology abroad be different?
Urological clinics abroad use the latest treatment methods using robotic surgery and low-traumatic endoscopic operations. The possibility of plastic defect correction and fast postoperative rehabilitation are also the reasons why patients choose treatment abroad.
Is non-invasive urology treatment effective?
Yes. A non-invasive urological method is shock wave therapy. The success rate is high and ranges from 70% to 90%, depending on the disease severity.
How to select a good urology clinic?
Contact AiroMedical, and the patient manager will help you choose a good clinic for urology treatment. We cooperate with the best hospitals in different countries.
Why do patients travel abroad for urology services?
Patients prefer to travel abroad for urological care for many reasons, ranging from international treatment protocols to high service and cost savings.
What are the best clinics for Urology?
Who are the best doctors for Urology?
Prof. Dr. med. Jurgen Gschwend from University Hospital Rechts der Isar Munich
Prof. Dr. Torremade Barreda Josep from Teknon Medical Centre Barcelona
Prof. Dr. Luis Garcia Aparicio, Ph.D. from Teknon Medical Centre Barcelona
Prof. Dr. med. Martin Kriegmair from Urological Clinic Munich-Planegg
Prof. Dr. med. Laszlo Kovacs from Urological Clinic Munich-Planegg