Glossary - Genitourinary and Kidney Disorders

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Analgesic - any drug intended to alleviate pain.


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Biopsy - a procedure in which tissue samples are removed (with a needle or during surgery) from the body for examination under a microscope; to determine if cancer or other abnormal cells are present.

Bladder - a triangle-shaped, hollow organ located in the lower abdomen that holds urine.


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Circumcision - surgical procedure to remove the skin covering the end of the penis, called the foreskin.

Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) - a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.

Cryptorchidism (also called undescended testes) - a condition seen in newborns whereby one or both of the male testes has not passed down into the scrotal sac.

Cystoscopy (also called cystourethroscopy) - an examination in which a scope, a flexible tube and viewing device, is inserted through the urethra to examine the bladder and urinary tract for structural abnormalities or obstructions, such as tumors or stones.

Cystourethrogram (also called a voiding cystogram) - a specific X-ray that examines the urinary tract. A catheter (hollow tube) is placed in the urethra (tube that drains urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) and the bladder is filled with a liquid dye. X-ray images will be taken as the bladder fills and empties. The images will show if there is any reverse flow of urine into the ureters and kidneys.


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Dialysis - a medical procedure to remove wastes and additional fluid from the blood after the kidneys have stopped functioning.


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Electroencephalogram (EEG) - a procedure that records the brain's continuous electrical activity by means of electrodes attached to the scalp.

Enuresis - involuntary discharge of urine usually during sleep at night; bedwetting beyond the age when bladder control should have been established.

Epispadias - occurs when the urethral opening is in an abnormal location. In males, the opening is usually on the topside of the penis and not the tip.

Exstrophy of the bladder - the bladder is essentially inside out and exposed on the outside of the abdomen. Because the bladder and other structures are exposed to the outside of the body, urine constantly trickles onto the skin causing local irritation.


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Glomerulonephritis - a type of glomerular kidney disease in which the kidneys' filters become inflamed and scarred, and slowly lose their ability to remove wastes and excess fluid from the blood to make urine.

Glomerulosclerosis - the term used to describe scarring that occurs within the kidneys in the small balls of tiny blood vessels called the glomeruli. The glomeruli assist the kidneys in filtering urine from the blood.


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Hematuria - the presence of red blood cells in the urine.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome - a rare kidney disorder that mostly affects children under the age of 10. It is often characterized by damage to the lining of blood vessel walls, destruction of red blood cells, and/or kidney failure.

Horseshoe kidney - as the kidneys of the fetus arise from the pelvic area they abnormally fuse together at the lower end or base. By fusing, they form a "U" shape, which gives it the name "horseshoe."

Hydronephrosis - a condition that occurs as a result of urine accumulation in the upper urinary tract. This usually occurs from a blockage somewhere along the urinary tract.


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Inguinal hernia - when a section of intestine protrudes through a weakness in the abdominal muscles in the groin area.

Intravenous pyelogram (IVP ) - a series of X-rays of the kidney, ureters, and bladder with the injection of a contrast dye into the vein to detect tumors, abnormalities, kidney stones, or any obstructions, and to assess renal blood flow.


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Kidney stone - a solid piece of material that forms from crystallization of excreted substances in the urine.

Kidney transplantation - a procedure that places a healthy kidney from one person into a recipient's body.

Kidneys - a pair of bean-shaped organs located below the ribs toward the middle of the back.


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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

Megaureter - an expanded or widened ureter that does not function normally. The size of a megaureter is usually greater than 7 millimeters in diameter.

Micropenis - a normally structured penis that is below the normal size range for an infant.


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Nephrectomy - surgery to remove the kidney; the most common treatment for kidney cancer.

Nephrology - the medical specialty concerned with diseases of the kidneys.

Nephrotic syndrome - a condition characterized by high levels of protein in the urine, low levels of protein in the blood, tissue swelling, and high cholesterol.

Neurogenic bladder (also called neuropathic bladder) - a bladder disorder that can be caused by a tumor or other condition of the nervous system.


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Orchiopexy - a surgical repair that involves moving an unlowered testicle into the sac that holds the testicles (scrotum).

Overflow incontinence - leakage that occurs when the quantity of urine produced exceeds the bladder's capacity to hold it.


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Paraphimosis - occurs when the foreskin is retracted behind the corona (or crown) of the penis and cannot be returned to the unretracted position.

Phimosis - a constriction of the opening of the foreskin so that it cannot be drawn back over the tip of the penis.

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) - a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts filled with fluid in the kidneys.

Posterior urethral valves - an abnormality of the urethra where the urethral valves (small leaflets of tissue) have a narrow, slit-like opening that partially impedes urine outflow. Reverse flow occurs and can affect all of the urinary tract organs including the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys.

Priapism - inflammation of the penis.

Proteinuria - large amounts of protein in the urine.

Prune belly syndrome - a triad of symptoms that include multiple urinary tract abnormalities. The common abnormalities include absence of abdominal muscles, undescended testes, and abnormalities of the upper urinary tract.


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Renal angiography (also called renal arteriography) - a series of X-rays of the renal blood vessels with the injection of a contrast dye into a catheter, which is placed into the blood vessels of the kidney, to detect any signs of blockage or abnormalities affecting the blood supply to the kidneys.

Renal ultrasound - a noninvasive test in which a transducer is passed over the kidney producing sound waves which bounce off of the kidney, transmitting a picture of the organ on a video screen. The test is used to determine the size and shape of the kidney, and to detect a mass, kidney stone, cyst, or other obstruction or abnormalities.


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Sphincter muscles - circular muscles that help keep urine from leaking by closing tightly like a rubber band around the opening of the bladder.


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Testicular torsion - a twisting of the testicles and the spermatic cord (the structure extending from the groin to the testes that contains nerves, ducts and blood vessels).


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Urea - the nitrogen part of urine produced from the breakdown of protein.

Ureterocele - the portion of the ureter closest to the bladder becomes enlarged because the ureter opening is very tiny and obstructs urine outflow; urine backs up in the ureter tube.

Ureteroscope - an optical device which is inserted into the urethra and passed up through the bladder to the ureter; to inspect the opening of the ureters.

Ureters - two narrow tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

Urethra - narrow channel through which urine passes from the bladder out of the body.

Urethritis - infection limited to the urethra.

Urinalysis - laboratory examination of urine for various cells and chemicals, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, infection, or excessive protein.

Urinary incontinence - loss of bladder control.

Urinary tract infection - an infection that occurs in the urinary tract; often caused by bacteria such as Escherichia coli. A urinary tract infection often causes frequent urination, pain, burning when urinating, and blood in the urine.

Urologist - a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of kidney and urinary tract disorders in both sexes and with the genital tract or reproductive system in the male. 

Urology - the branch of medicine concerned with the urinary tract in both genders, and with the genital tract or reproductive system in the male.

Urogenital - refers to the urinary and reproductive systems.


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Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) - the abnormal flow of urine from the bladder back into the ureters; often as a result of a urinary tract infection or birth defect.


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