Urology is the branch of medicine that focuses on surgical and medical diseases of the genito-urinary disorders. The organs under its domain include the kidneys, adrenal glands, uterus, urinary bladder, urethra, and the male reproductive organs. With prostate cancer being the most common cancer among men, and urinary tract infections being the second most common type of infection in the human body, keeping an eye on your urological health is important.

What are urological treatments?

Urological treatments are extremely wide ranging, and can be both surgical and non-surgical. Common open surgery procedures within the field of urology include the removal of the bladder, kidney or prostate to treat cancer, kidney stone removal, formation of a stoma to divert urine into a bag, bladder reconstruction after removal, vasectomy, and circumcision. Furthermore, urology was the first surgical speciality to use minimally invasive techniques such as endoscopy and key-hole surgery. Urologists often use a small instrument known as a cystoscope during treatment to examine the bladder and urethra. Urologists also perform scope-guided procedures to treat certain conditions, and will sometimes prescribe antibiotics for bacterial infections.

People across the globe visit urologists on a daily basis because of a range of conditions and symptoms. While endourology focuses on prostate, bladder and kidney conditions, for example, and uses key-hole techniques to treat them, urological oncology treats cancer of the prostate, bladder, kidney, testicles and penis. Functional urology, on the other hand, seeks to investigate and treat bladder symptoms and incontinence, as well as neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and spinal injury. The sub-speciality andrology focuses largely on treating male fertility and sexual health problems, while reconstructive urology seeks to repair and restore the lower urinary tract, and particularly the urethra.

What does urology involve?

Many surgical treatments carried out by urologists are done so using minimally invasive techniques (laparoscopy or endourology, robotic-assisted surgery, etc), so it is often the case that you will be able to leave the hospital on the same day that you have your surgery.

If you have a urinary tract infection or a bacterial infection, you may be prescribed antibiotic medication, should over the counter creams or treatments prove ineffective, or should your symptoms last longer than a week. Other treatments for urological problems include therapy for nervous system disorders such as clean intermittent self-catheterisation of the bladder, anticholinergic drugs, injections of Botulinum toxin into the bladder and less commonly used therapies such as sacral neuromodulation, often used to treat neurological diseases and disorders affecting the nervous system.

What should I do if I need a urologist?

While urological problems often cannot be helped, there are plenty of simple things you can do to remain as healthy as possible. Drinking water when you feel thirsty and avoiding particularly salty foods are great ways to remain hydrated, and urinating and cleaning yourself before and after sex reduces the risk of bacteria travelling up the urinary tract and causing infection. If, however, you run into medical difficulties while abroad or need some advice, TripMedic is on hand to find you a qualified professional close to you who speaks your language.

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