For men and women who experience issues with urinating or have problems with their reproductive organs, primary care physicians often refer them to urologists in Chicago. These doctors specialize in treating conditions that affect the urinary tract and adrenal glands.
To diagnose a patient, they use tests to check for abnormalities in the urine, including urodynamic testing, which measures how fast the bladder fills and empties. They can also perform circumcisions for medical or cultural reasons and vasectomy, a form of male contraception.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) happen when germs enter the urethra and travel to your bladder. The symptoms include:
- A strong urge to urinate.
- Pain or burning when peeing.
- Leakage of small amounts of urine.
Doctors can diagnose UTIs by testing a urine sample for white blood cells, bacteria, and chemicals such as nitrates. They might also do a cystoscopy, which involves inserting a tube-like camera into your urethra and bladder. Other tests include a complete blood count and a urine culture.
The kidneys regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells, and balance the body’s calcium, phosphate, and other mineral levels. As a result, kidney disease can lead to dangerous levels of fluid and waste in the body.
Your urologist will check for kidney damage by looking for proteins in your urine, like albumin, and by performing blood tests, such as the GFR (glomerular filtration rate). They may also recommend kidney scans or renal ultrasounds. The ultrasound shows the size and shape of your kidneys and looks for any problems with the flow of urine.
Urinary Tract Cancer
A layer of cells called the urothelium lines the kidneys and upper urinary tract. Tumors can develop in this tissue. They can grow in the kidney or the urethra, where they can cause pain and blockage.
The most common complaint among patients with urothelial cancer is painless macroscopic hematuria. Frequently, this is accompanied by lower urinary symptoms and flank pain due to ureteric obstruction.
A urologist may limit testing to urine cytology and CT urography for low-risk patients. For those at high risk, a complete urologic workup is warranted.
Urinary Tract Stones
People with long-term tubes in their kidneys or bladders or with neurologic conditions (paralysis, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida) are at higher risk of getting stones. In addition, cystine stones form in people with an inherited metabolic disorder (cystinuria).
Large or obstructing stones can cause intense pain that starts on one side of the belly (renal colic), spreads across the lower abdomen, and moves to the testis or vulva.
X-rays and ultrasounds can help find the location of kidney or ureteral stones. Urologists in Chicago may also use a cystoscope or a holmium laser to break up a rock in the renal pelvis or upper part of a ureter into pieces that can be removed with a ureteroscope or passed in the urine.
Cancerous cells grow out of control in the lining of your bladder, a hollow organ in your lower abdomen that stores urine. Blood in your urine is one symptom.
A cystoscope can check for abnormalities like tumors or stones in your bladder. It can also take a tissue sample for biopsy. Noninvasive tumors only grow on or near the surface of your bladder lining. They include papillary carcinoma and urothelial neoplasms of low malignant potential (PUNLMP). This stage is called nonmuscle-invasive bladder cancer.
The kidneys, ureters, and urethra are lined with urothelium cells. This lining expands when the bladder is full and contracts when it is empty. Cancer can form in these cells if they are exposed to carcinogens for a long time.
Clinical and experimental data indicate that urothelial carcinoma develops along two distinct pathways. First, low-grade noninvasive papillary tumors display activating mutations of the HRAS gene and the fibroblast growth factor receptor three genes. In contrast, high-grade muscle-invasive tumors exhibit structural and functional defects in the p53 and retinoblastoma protein (RB) tumor-suppressor pathways.
Men with prostate cancer, the most common type of cancer in men, often experience urinary symptoms. Prostate cancer is a tumor in the walnut-shaped prostate gland that produces seminal fluid and nourishes sperm.
Doctors evaluate a prostate cancer biopsy sample to determine its Gleason score, from 1 through 10. A low score indicates that the cancer has not spread and may not cause problems. A high score means the cancer is more likely to spread.
Urinary incontinence causes accidental urine leakage, usually when coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting heavy objects. It’s also called stress or urge incontinence. It can interfere with work, social activities, and sexual life.
Your doctor can help you learn to manage urinary incontinence. Tips include scheduling your voiding on a schedule, emptying your bladder before physical activity, and practicing Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. In addition, try a pessary — a plastic bladder support insert.