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Common Urologic Conditions

Urology is a surgical specialty that concentrates on diseases of the urinary tract in both women and men, and on diseases of the reproductive system in men.  

The treatment of cancer is a major part of urologic surgery, including kidney, ureteral, and bladder cancer surgery in both men and women.  In men, the detection, evaluation, and treatment of prostate cancer is an important part of a urologist’s practice, especially since recent recommendations for prostate cancer screening have become more complex and controversial.  Testis cancer, while rare, is serious but very treatable condition usually seen in younger men.

Benign (non-cancerous) conditions that urologists treat include urinary tract infections, kidney stones, trauma to any organ of the genitourinary system, urethral strictures, incontinence or leakage of urine.  Infections or inflammation of the prostate and testis are frequently seen conditions in males of a variety of ages, and are also in the urologist’s realm.  

Symptoms that might prompt a primary care provider to refer a patient to a urologist include hematuria (blood in the urine), painful urination, difficulty urinating, and pain in a variety of areas that might suggest a urologic origin.  For instance, prostatitis (inflammation or infection of the prostate) might present as pain in the lower abdomen, the lower back, rectum, or between the legs.  Kidney stone pain might cause severe pain in the mid-back, on the side or “flank”, the lower abdomen, or groin area, depending on the location of the stone that is trying to pass.  Pain in the testis is usually a sign of an infection or inflammatory condition.  While cancer can in some cases cause pain, usually it is painless in urologic conditions.

As well as treating adults, urologists are trained to evaluate and treat children of all ages.  A urologist may be consulted if abnormal findings of the kidney or bladder are found on a prenatal ultrasound before a child is even born – and on the other end of the age spectrum, a urologist might be called on to treat an early testis cancer in a teenage boy or bladder infections in a teenage girl.  Common surgeries performed by a general urologist include circumcisions, circumcision revisions in boys who develop adhesions or other problems later on in childhood, surgically bringing undescended testes down into the scrotum, and repairing hydroceles and hernias on young boys.  

Surgery for female stress incontinence may be performed by urogynecologists, though urologists are trained in the implantation of sacral nerve stimulators which provides additional valuable treatment options for both women and men who have severe urge incontinence that doesn’t respond to medication.

As noted, a broad variety of conditions require urologic attention.  A primary care provider is a patient’s best resource in deciding to see a urologist.  If a patient’s insurance does not require a primary care referral, patients may also make appointments directly with a urologist if direct attention is needed.

Dr. Anderson is a urologist with Barton Urology. He received his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma, College of Medicine.  To make an appointment, contact your primary care physician or call (530) 543-5400.  

Barton Urology 
2169 South Street, South Lake Tahoe, CA
Monday – Friday - 8am -5pm