Glossary

Some common terms used in urology.

ADENOCARCINOMA:
A cancerous tumour developing from the glandular component of any organ (particularly the prostate or kidney)

ANALGESIC:
A drug used to relieve pain

ANGIOMYOLIPOMA:
A benign tumour of the kidney which arises from blood vessels and fat; it may, if it grows large enough, rupture and cause bleeding into or around the kidney

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY:
A drug which reduces inflammation and helps to relieve pain; often used to treat prostatitis & the pain of kidney stones

AZOOSPERMIA:
The complete absence of sperms in ejaculated semen; one cause of male-factor infertility. Usually due to failure of production of sperms by the testis or to obstruction of the tubing along which sperms normally pass

BALANITIS:
Inflammation of the foreskin or the tip of the penis

BLADDER:
The midline, lower abdominal organ which stores urine prior to its expulsion via the urethra

BPH:
Benign prostatic hyperplasia; benign enlargement of the prostate gland, invariably seen with increasing age

BRACHYTHERAPY:
A type of radiotherapy where radioactive seeds are implanted directly into an organ, usually the prostate gland

BXO:
Balanitis xerotica obliterans; a scarring disease of the foreskin, of unknown cause, which results in a tight foreskin

CALCIUM OXALATE:
The commonest constituent of kidney stones and the type of stone which is most prone to recur

CALCULUS:
A stone, usually in the kidney or ureter, but may also occur on the prostate or bladder

CALYX:
The outermost part of the collecting systemt of the kidney where urine is first released for excretion

CATHETER:
A rubberised or silicone tube passed into a hollow organ (usually the bladder) to drain its contents

CHEMOTHERAPY:
The use of drugs to treat cancer

CHORDEE:
A deformity of the penis which results in a bending on erection

CYSTITIS:
Inflammation of the internal lining of the bladder

CIRCUMCISION:
Surgical removal of the foreskin, usually performed for phimosis

CT:
Computerised tomography; a form of X-ray where slices are taken through the body to produce images at different levels

CYSTECTOMY:
Surgical removal of the bladdder, usually for invasive cancer

CYSTOCELE:
Prolapse of the bladder into the vagina

CYSTOGRAM:
An X-ray of the bladder where dye is inserted into the bladder using a catheter

CYSTOSCOPY:
Inspection of the bladder using a telescope (either flexible or rigid) with an attached light source to illuminate the interior of the bladder

CYTOLOGY:
The study of individual cells, usually in the urine, to identify malignancy or other disorders

DILATATION:
Stretching or widening of an opening, usually the urethra or neck of the bladder

DIVERTICULUM:
An abnormal pouch leading off the cavity of a hollow organ; most commonly seen in the bladder

DRE:
Digital rectal examination; usually to feel the prostate gland

DYSURIA:
Painful passage of urine

EMBOLISATION:
Blocking the artery to an organ by introducing foam, coils or gel under X-ray control using a small catheter placed in the artery

ENURESIS:
Incontinence of urine at night usually considered synonymous with bedwetting

EPIDIDYMIS:
The sperm-carrying mechanism lying behind the testis which carries sperms from the testis to the vas deferens during ejaculation

EPIDIDYMITIS:
Inflammation/infection of the epididymis, often involving the testis as well (epididymo-orchitits)

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION:
Impotence; the inability to obtain or maintain an erection sufficient for penetration and the satisfaction of both sexual partners

ESWL:
Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy; shockwaves generated in water, focussed and fired through the body to fragment stones in the kidney or ureter

EXTRAVASATION:
Leakage of urine or surgical irrigation fluid outside the urinary tract

EXSTROPHY:
A congenital condition where the bladder remains on the surface of the lower abdomen open to the outside

FREQUENCY:
Passing urine too often, usually during the day

HAEMATOSPERMIA:
Blood in the semen during ejaculation

HAEMATURIA:
Blood in the urine

HYDROCELE:
An abnormal collection of fluid in the naturally-occurring sac which surrounds the testicle

HESITANCY:
Having to wait an abnormally long time for the flow of urine to start

IMMUNOTHERAPY:
Treatment of cancer by stimulating the natural immune response

INCONTINENCE:
Involuntary leakage of urine

IVU:
Intravenous urogram; an X-ray of the kidneys, ureters and bladder performed using an injection of dye into a vein in the arm

KIDNEY:
One of two paired organs (normally) which lie at the back of the abdomen, in front of the lower ribs, and filter the blood to produce urine

LASER:
Light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation; an energy source for performing some types of urological surgery

LAPAROSCOPE:
A telescope with a light source and camera attached which is inserted into the abdominal cavity (through a small incision) to perform ‘keyhole’ surgery

LITHOTRIPSY:
Wearing away of a stone; usually synonymous with ESWL

LITHOLAPAXY:
Crushing of a stone, usually in the bladder, to reduce it to fragments small enough to be passed spontaneously or removed through an endoscope

LYMPHADENECTOMY:
Surgical removal of lymph nodes to determine whether they are involved with cancer

METASTASIS:
A secondary tumour (remote from the original cancer) which has arisen by spread through the blood, the lymph system or by direct invasion

MRI:
Magnetic resonance imaging; a means of producing cross-sectional images of the body to characterise tissues by the way the electrons in the tissue move in response to a strong magnetic field

NEPHRON:
The microscopic filtering unit in the kidney which filters water and waste products from the blood

NOCTURIA:
Abnormal passage of urine at night

PHIMOSIS:
Tightness of the foreskin, either due to a scarring disease or as a result of a congenital abnormality

PARAPHIMOSIS:
Retraction of a tight foreskin which becomes “stuck” due to an inability to return it to its original position covering the head of the penis

POLYURIA:
Over-production of urine, usually at night; often occurs in the elderly due to poor water handling ability with increasing age

PROSTATE GLAND:
A chestnut-sized organ lying at the bottom of the bladder which produces chemicals to nourish sperms and facilitate their transport to the female uterus

PROSTATITIS:
Infection or inflammation of the prostate gland

PROSTHESIS:
An artifical implant used to replace any part of the body (e.g. a testicle)

PSA:
Prostate-specific antigen; a chemical released into the bloodstream by the prostate gland which may be raised in men with prostate cancer

SEMINAL VESICLE:
A sac lying behind the prostate gland which stores seminal fluid and sperms in preparation for ejaculation

TESTOSTERONE:
The main male hormone produced mainly by the testicles (and by the adrenal gands)

TNM:
A staging system for cancer which describes the extent of the primary tumour (T), the lymph nodes (N) and metastases (M)

TRANSITIONAL CELL CARCINOMA:
A malignant (cancerous) tumour arising from the internal lining of the urinary tract

TUR:
Transurethral resection, usually of the prostate gland (TURP) or of a tumour in the bladder (TURBT)

ULTRASOUND:
High-frequency sound waves used to reflect off tissues to determine their nature

URETER:
The thin, muscular tube which propels urine down from the kidneys to the bladder

URETEROSCOPY:
Inspection of the ureter (and/or kidney) using a telescope (either flexible or rigid) with an attached light source passed into the bladder and up the ureter towards the kidney

URETHRA:
The tube through which urine passes to the outside of the body from the bladder

URGENCY:
A sudden, irresistible desire to pass urine

VARICOCELE:
An abnormal collection of varicose veins above the testicle, usually on the left side

VAS DEFERENS:
A muscular tube which carries sperm from the epididymis into the urethra during ejaculation of semen

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