MOST COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT UROLOGY
Q: What is urology?
A: Urology (not to be confused with neurology) is that specialized field of medicine dealing with the diseases of the kidney, ureter, bladder and urethra, in both male and female patients, and especially the prostate gland in the male patient.
Q: As you stated, urology deals with diseases in both sexes, but are there age limitations?
A: There are no age limitations; indeed, urologists care for clinical problems from in-utero to the elderly. The patient mix, in terms of sexes, also reflects the general population.
Q: Specifically, can you list some of the diseases that a urologist (or, as they say, "the kidney doctor") deals with?
A: We treat cancers of those body parts I mentioned above; kidney and bladder stones; inability to urinate; inability to control urine (or urinary leakage or incontinence) as is often the case with enlarged prostates in males and prolapses (bladder drop or "pelvic drop") in females. Urologists also treat inability to achieve erection (or impotence), blood in the urine (hematuria), STD's and urinary tract infections and bedwetting, especially in children.
Q: The diseases you mention seem to be mostly "urinary" problems; but what symptoms would the patient actually complain about?
A: Dull or severe pain in the side (flank or groin) can mean kidney stones, which, like cancers of the kidney, bladder or prostate, can also show as hematuria. Painful, frequent urination can indicate infections; generally feeling weak and tired and losing weight should also be checked out.
Q: Doesn't your last answer also describe diseases of other body parts not covered by urology?
A: That is true, but I must emphasize that urology is a highly interrelated field. Sometimes, patients come in complaining of impotence and are found for the first time to have diabetes (mellitus), hypertension, etc. A diseased kidney and that of the adrenal gland can also cause hypertension; an advance prostate cancer can cause back pain and bone fractures. These symptoms may actually be the "tips of the iceberg" that are pointers to serious urologic illnesses.
Q: Dr. Gomih, does the treatment of urologic disease always involve surgery (operations)?
A: No, not at all; the urologist must think and act "med/surg". As you can well imagine, there are a number of cases managed purely in the office by straightforward medication. While hospitalization may be required for major surgical procedures, the urologist performs a number of outpatient, sometimes non-surgical / endoscopic procedures too. In-office diagnostic and other minor procedures like vasectomies are also available.