Glossary

Ambiguous genitalia 
Condition in which a genetic male may have genitals with female characteristics, or a genetic female may have genitals with male characteristics.

Analgesic
Any drug intended to alleviate pain.

Anus
The opening at the end of the digestive tract where bowel contents leave the body.

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. It is held in place by ligaments that are attached to other organs and the pelvic bones. The bladder's walls relax and expand to store urine and contract and flatten to empty urine through the urethra.

Bladder augmentation
A surgical procedure in which intestine or other organs are used to make the bladder bigger, usually in cases of spina bifida and severe neurogenic bladder. 

CAT scan
Also called CT scan. This stands for computerized axial tomography. This enables urologists and radiologists to see cross-sectional images (x-rays) of a patient’s body.

Calculus
See urolithiasis. 

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

Cystitis
A bladder infection.

Cystoscopy
The use of a small scope to look inside the urethral and bladder for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Chordee
This is an abnormal bend to the penis which may cause difficulties with intercourse or urination. This anomaly is sometimes only apparent during erections. Males with chordee also sometimes have hypospadias.

Cryptorchidism
At least one testicle absent from scrotum. The 'missing' testicle may not exist, or it could be located elsewhere, such as the abdomen. See orchidopexy and undescended testicle.

DSD
Disorders of sexual differentiation. See also ambiguous genitalia

DMSA
This nuclear imaging study determines kidney function and scarring. Radiation is extremely minimal and is extremely safe.

Diverticulum
The outpouching of the bladder, usually due to an area of muscular weakness within the bladder. May be inconsequential or may require surgery. 

Encopresis
Involuntary and uncontrollable bowel movements.

Enuresis
Also known as bedwetting.

Epididymis
A long, very thin tube that is located near each testicle. The epididymis is the tube through which sperm cells leave the testicles as they move toward the ejaculatory ducts where they mix with semen.

Epididymo-orchitis
Infection or inflammation of the testicle and surrounding structures. This can be painful, requires antibiotics, and may take days to weeks to improve. 

Epispadias
This is the condition in which the urine hole (meatus) is located on the top of the penis, rather than the tip.

ESWL
This stands for extra-corporeal shock wave lithotripsy. This is a method of fragmenting stones in the urinary tract by invisible shock waves. There is no incision and no scopes are used. 

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.

Hematuria
The presence of blood in urine. This may be microscopic or gross (urine is pink or red). 

Hernia
A communication between the abdomen and scrotum that enables intestine or other abdominal structures to track into the scrotum.

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.'

Hydrocele
Fluid around the testicle(s) in the scrotum. This may be due to a communication between the abdominal cavity and the scrotum which may cause fluid to accumulate in the scrotum. 

Hydronephrosis
A condition in which one or both kidneys is/are swollen with urine. This may be an inconsequential finding on a radiographic test, or it may be indicative of obstruction. Many different pathologic and physiologic processes may be associated with hydronephrosis.

Hypospadias
This is the condition in which the urine hole (meatus) is located on the underside of the penis. It may be located toward the tip (distal) or toward the scrotum (proximal). 

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. This is used to detect tumors, abnormalities, kidney stones, or any obstructions and to assess renal blood flow. 

Kidneys
A pair of bean-shaped organs located below the ribs toward the middle of the back. Their function is to remove liquid waste from the blood in the form of urine, keep a stable balance of salts and other substances in the blood and produce erythropoietin, a hormone that aids the formation of red blood cells, and renin, a hormone important for the regulation of blood pressure. 

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.  

Laparoscopy
Surgical technique which utilizes scopes and cameras to minimize incision length.

Lithotripsy
A method of breaking up a stone in the urinary tract. Frequently used interchangeably with ESWL. 

MAG-3
This nuclear imaging study determines kidney function as well as the presence or absence of an obstruction. Radiation is extremely minimal and is extremely safe.

Meatal stenosis
The narrowing of the meatus, which may cause pain or difficulty in directing urine stream.

Meatotomy
A minor procedure performed to correct meatal stenosis.

Meatus
The urethral opening or 'pee hole.' 

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.

MRI
Magnetic Resonance Imaging. An imaging technique that entails no radiation exposure. However, sedation may be necessary for young children. 

MRU
Magnetic Resonance Urogram. A specific type of MRI which gives a urologist anatomic detail about the urinary tract. Sedation may be necessary for young children, but there is no radiation exposure.

Multicystic dysplastic kidney (MCDK)
Condition in which entire kidney consists of cysts. These kidneys have no function and should shrink to a minimal size early in childhood. 

Neurogenic bladder
Condition in which the nerves leading to, or within the urinary bladder cause this organ to malfunction.

Nephrectomy
Surgical removal of a kidney.

Nephrostomy tube
Also called percutaneous nephrostomy tube. Small tube placed into the kidney through the back in order to drain urine.

Nerves in the bladder
These nerves alert a person when it is time to urinate, or empty the bladder.

Orchidopexy
A surgical procedure that relocates testicle from groin or abdomen into scrotum.

Orchiectomy
Surgical removal of a testicle. 

Paraphimosis
This occurs after the foreskin has been retracted, but cannot be pulled back over the head of the penis to cover this structure. This is a painful condition and requires immediate attention.

Penis
The external urinary and reproductive organ of the male. The penis is made up of two parts, the shaft and the glans. The glans is the tip of the penis, while the shaft is the main part of the penis and contains the tube (urethra) that drains the bladder. All boys are born with a foreskin, or a covering over the tip of the penis. Circumcision, which some parents or patients chose to have done, means that this covering of skin is removed. Other boys are not circumcised and may have skin that covers the tip of the penis. 

Phimosis
This is when the penile foreskin cannot be pulled back adequately in a boy. Some degree of phimosis may be normal, especially in young boys.

Posterior urethral valves
A condition in which leaflets of urethral tissue cause a blockage in the urethra. This condition requires surgical correction early in life.

Priapism
A sustained and usually painful erection lasting more than four hours. In children, sickle cell diseases is the most common cause of priapism.

Prostate gland
The sex gland in men. It is about the size of a walnut, and surrounds the neck of the bladder and urethra. It is partly muscular and partly glandular, with ducts opening into the prostatic portion of the urethra. It is made up of three lobes: a center lobe with one lobe on each side. The prostate gland secretes a slightly alkaline fluid that forms part of the seminal fluid, a fluid that carries sperm.

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.

Pyelonephritis
Infection of the kidney, usually including fevers.

Pyeloplasty
Surgical procedure used to correct blockage between kidney and ureter.

Rectum
The lower end of the large intestine, leading to the anus. 

Reflux
Also called vesicoureteral reflux, or VUR. This is when urine backs up from the bladder into one or both ureters. This is very different from 'acid reflux' or GERD, which involve the flow of stomach contents into the esophagus.

Retrograde pyelogram (“RPG”)
An X-ray test performed by a urologist that gives valuable anatomic and functional detail about the ureter(s) and kidney(s).

Robotic surgery
A technique in which the surgeon controls robotic instruments to perform the surgical procedure.

Scrotum
The bag of skin that holds and helps protect the testicles. The testicles make sperm, and to do this, the temperature of the testicles needs to be slightly cooler than the rest of the body. The temperature in the scrotum is slightly lower than the rest of the body.

Seminal vesicles
The sac-like glands that lie behind the bladder and release a fluid that forms part of semen.

Skin bridge
This in the condition in which a bridge of skin forms between the penile shaft and the penile head after a circumcision.

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

Stent
There are many kinds of stents used by many different medical and surgical specialists. The stents that urologists place are used to aid in urinary drainage from the kidney to the bladder. These stents are always temporary, and must never be left in place for more than a few months.

Testes (testicles)
The testes are two small organs that are found inside the scrotum. The testes are responsible for making sperm and producing a hormone called testosterone. Testosterone is an important hormone during male development and maturation (puberty)-for developing muscles, deepening the voice, and growing body hair.

Testicular torsion ('torsion')
This is the condition in which the blood supply to the testicle twists, usually resulting in acute and severe pain. This condition requires immediate attention, or testicular loss is virtually certain.

UDS
Urodynamic study. This test is performed by a urologist to determine causes of abnormal voiding patterns, and to determine whether a patient’s kidneys are at risk for damage from voiding dysfunction.

Ultrasound
An imaging technique for visualizing kidney, bladder, testicles and other anatomy. There is no radiation—this procedure is completely safe. 

Undescended testicle
A testicle that has not descended into the scrotum, as is supposed to occur by 6 months of age. This may require orchidopexy.

UPJO
Uretero-pelvic junction obstruction. A congenital condition in which a blockage exists between the kidney and the ureter. This may require pyeloplasty.

Ureter
The tube that drains urine from the kidney to the bladder. Muscles in the ureter walls continually tighten and relax forcing urine downward, away from the kidneys. If urine backs up, or is allowed to stand still, a kidney infection can develop. About every 10 to 15 seconds, small amounts of urine are emptied into the bladder from the ureters. Each kidney has its own ureter, so most individuals have a left and right ureter. 

Ureterocele
An abnormal connection of the ureter into the bladder which may cause obstruction and require surgical correction.

Ureteral reimplant
A surgical procedure used to treat UVJO or urinary reflux.

Ureteroscopy
A procedure in which a small scope is advanced through the urethra and into the ureter in order to diagnose or treat a disorder, especially a ureteral or kidney stone.

Urethra
The tube that allows urine to pass outside the body. The brain signals the bladder muscles to tighten, which squeezes urine out of the bladder. At the same time, the brain signals the sphincter muscles to relax to let urine exit the bladder through the urethra. When all the signals occur in the correct order, normal urination occurs.

Urolithiasis
A condition in which stones (calculi) exist in the urinary tract. They may or may not cause obstruction or pain, and may be located in the kidney, ureter, bladder, or urethra.

Urologist
A physician specializing in surgical and non-surgical diseases of the male and female urinary and reproductive tracts.

UVJO
Uretero-vesical junction obstruction. A congenital condition in which a blockage exists between the ureter and bladder. This may require a ureteral reimplant. 

Varicocele
A dilated group of veins draining the testicle, usually located on the left side. This can be associated with infertility, testicular growth retardation, and rarely a dull pain. See image below:

Vas deferens
A tube that carries the sperm between the epididymis and the ejaculatory ducts at the prostatic urethra.

VCUG
Also known as voiding cystourethrogram. This is a test performed by a radiologist which checks for urinary reflux and other bladder anomalies. It is an x-ray that requires that a urethral catheter be placed temporarily. 

Vesicoureteral reflux
Also known as reflux or VUR. This is when urine backs up from the bladder into one or both ureters. This is very different from 'acid reflux' or GERD, which involve the flow of stomach contents into the esophagus.

Void
To urinate.

Voiding dysfunction
Abnormal or pathologic storage or elimination of urine.