Urology involves diagnosis and treatment of many disorders of the male and female urinary tracts and male reproductive organs.

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Common diseases of the urinary system

Some of the most common conditions affecting both men and women include:

For men specifically, common conditions urologists treat include:

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Urinary system disorders: common signs and symptoms

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Common signs and symptoms of urinary disorders include:

  • Abdominal, pelvic, or lower back pain or discomfort.
  • Blood in the urine.
  • Changes in the urine.
  • Difficulty producing urine.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Leaking of urine.
  • Urgent need to urinate.

Treatments for urinary system disorders


Types of medication include:

  • Antibiotics for infections.
  • Drugs that reduce urinary incontinence.
  • Phosphodiesterase 5 (PDE5) inhibitors for erectile dysfunction.
  • Chemotherapy drugs for cancer.
  • Hormone treatment for prostate cancer.
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A urologist might perform surgery to:

  • Break up or remove kidney stones.
  • Remove a tumor or the entire bladder, prostate or other parts, in cases of cancer.
  • Relieve strictures in the urethra, caused by scar tissue.
  • Relieve stress incontinence.
  • Remove part of a kidney (nephrectomy).
  • Repair trauma.
  • Transplant a kidney.

Surgery can be:

  • Open surgery.
  • Laparoscopic, or minimally invasive “keyhole” surgery.
  • Laser therapy to treat BPH, cancer and kidney stones, among others.

Urologic conditions and treatments: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When should someone visit a urologist?

For men

Men should see a urologist if they are experiencing any of the following conditions:

  • Cancer of the kidneys, bladder, testicles, penis or prostate.
  • Concerns regarding the testicles, penis or prostate.
  • Hormone imbalance such as low testosterone.
  • Issues when urinating such as pain or the presence of blood.
  • Kidney stones or kidney pain in general.
  • Low sperm count.
  • Sudden changes in smell, color or odor of urine.
  • Urinary leakage or problems with urine flow.

For women

Female patients are encouraged to see a urologist for the following conditions:

  • Bladder issues, like overactive bladder (OAB).
  • Cancer of the kidneys or bladder.
  • Issues when urinating, such as pain or the presence of blood.
  • Kidney stones or kidney pain in general.
  • Low sex drive.
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections.
  • Sudden changes in color or odor of urine.
  • Urinary leakage or problems with urine flow.
I'm a woman. Should I see a urologist or a gynecologist?

Generally speaking, women should visit a urologist for any issues with their urinary tract or bladder, like urinary tract infections and bladder infections. Visit your gynecologist for any issues with their reproductive organs, including fertility and hormone issues, sexually transmitted diseases and more.

I think I have a kidney stone. What are the symptoms?

When you’re trying to pass a kidney stone, your body will give you definite signs when it’s time to see a urologist. The most notable symptom of kidney stones is pain, which can be some of the most intense pain a human can experience.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s time to see your urologist:

  • Blood in your urine.
  • Cloudy, red or brown foul-smelling urine.
  • Difficulty passing urine.
  • Fever and chills.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Pain or burning while urinating.
  • Sharp pain in your back and side below your ribs.
Do you need a referral for a urologist?

Usually not. On occasion your primary health care provider will refer you to a urologist, but most of the time you can make an appointment directly without needing a referral.

What can I expect at my first visit with a urologist?

At your first visit, you can expect to fill out paperwork, review your full medical history, undergo a physical exam, provide a urine sample and participate in diagnostic tests to help determine the cause and best treatment for your condition.