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The Urologic Diseases Dictionary A - D


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acute (uh-KYOOT):

refers to conditions that happen suddenly and last a short time. Acute is the opposite of chronic, or long lasting.


see antidiuretic hormone.

albuminuria (al-BYOO-min-YOO-ree-uh):

a condition in which the urine has more than normal amounts of a protein called albumin. Albuminuria may be a sign of kidney disease.

amino acids (uh-MEE-noh) (ASS-idz):

the basic building blocks of proteins. The body produces many amino acids and others come from food, which the body breaks down for use by the cells. See protein.

antibiotic (AN-tee-by-OT-ik):

a medicine that kills bacteria.

antidiuretic hormone (ADH) (AN-tee-DY-yoo-RET-ik) (HOR-mohn):

a natural body chemical that slows down the production of urine. Some children who wet the bed regularly may lack normal amounts of antidiuretic hormone. Also called vasopressin.

anuria (an-YOO-ree-uh):

A condition in which the body stops making urine.

artificial bladder (AR-tuh-FIH-shuhl) (BLAD-ur):

a bladder grown in a laboratory and transplanted into a patient’s pelvis to replace a diseased bladder. The term is also occasionally used to describe a bladder substitute.

artificial urinary sphincter (AUS) (AR-tuh-FIH-shuhl) (YOOR-ih-NAIR-ee) (SFINGK-tur):

an implanted device for men that keeps the urethra closed until the wearer is ready to urinate. The device consists of a cuff that fits around the urethra, a small balloon reservoir placed in the abdomen, and a pump placed in the scrotum.

Drawing of an artificial urinary sphincter to treat male urinary incontinence. Labels point to a pump in the scrotum, a cuff around the urethra, and a pressure-regulating balloon inside the bladder. An inset shows a close-up of the cuff around the urethra.
 Artificial urinary sphincter


see artificial urinary sphincter.

autoimmune disease (AW-toh-ih-MYOON) (dih-ZEEZ):

a disorder of the body’s immune system in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys body tissue it believes to be foreign.


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bacteria (bak-TIHR-ee-uh):

tiny organisms that cause infection or disease.

bacteriuria (bak-TIHR-ee-YOO-ree-uh):

a condition in which the urine contains bacteria.

balloon dilation (buh-LOON) (dy-LAY-shuhn):

a treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostate enlargement. A tiny balloon is inflated inside the urethra to make it wider so urine can flow more freely from the bladder.

benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) (bee-NYN) (pross-TAT-ik) (hy-pur-PLAY-zhee-uh):

an enlarged prostate not caused by cancer. BPH can cause problems with urination because the prostate squeezes the urethra at the opening of the bladder.

biofeedback (BY-oh-FEED-bak):

a way of training a patient to control muscles such as the bladder control muscles with the use of electronic devices that monitor muscle and nerve impulses. The electronic devices convert nerve impulses into sound or visual signals so the patient knows when he or she is performing the correct action.

biopsy (BY-op-see):

a procedure in which a tiny piece of tissue, such as from the kidney or bladder, is removed for examination with a microscope.

bladder (BLAD-ur):

the balloon-shaped organ inside the pelvis that holds urine.

Front-view diagram of a female bladder with strong pelvic muscles keeping the urethra closed. The bladder is shown in cross section to reveal urine in the bladder. Labels point to the bladder neck, strong pelvic muscles, urethral sphincter, and urethra.

bladder control (BLAD-ur) (kon-TROHL):

See continence.

bladder outlet obstruction (BOO) (BLAD-ur) (OUT-let) (ob-STRUHK-shuhn):

any blockage at the urethra or the opening of the bladder.

bladder substitute (BLAD-ur) (SUHB-stih-toot):

a urinary diversion in which urine is stored in an internal pouch made from the patient’s bowel. The pouch is connected to the patient’s urethra rather than a stoma. Also called a neobladder. See continent cutaneous reservoir.

Drawing of a male figure with the urinary tract and colon visible within the abdomen. A substitute bladder has been created above the location of a normal bladder. An artificial urethra connects the artificial bladder to the natural urethra so the patient can urinate through the penis. Labels point to the bladder substitute and the urethra.
 Bladder substitute

bladder training (BLAD-ur) (TRAYN-ing):

a strategy for making the bladder able to hold more urine for longer periods of time using timed voiding and Kegel exercises.

blood urea nitrogen (BUN) (bluhd) (yoo-REE-uh) (NY-troh-jen):

a waste product in the blood that comes from the breakdown of protein. The kidneys filter blood to remove urea. As kidney function decreases, the BUN level increases.


see bladder outlet obstruction.


see benign prostatic hyperplasia.

bulking agent (BUHLK-ing) (AY-jent):

a substance injected into the urethra around the opening of the bladder to treat stress urinary incontinence. Bulking agents include collagen, silicon, and Teflon.

Drawing of a bladder and upper urethra. A needle inserted through the urethra delivers collagen to the tissue around the bladder opening. Labels point to the injected collagen, urethra, probe to guide needle placement, and injection needle.
 Injection of collagen as a bulking agent


see blood urea nitrogen.


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calcium (KAL-see-uhm):

a mineral the body needs for strong bones and teeth. Calcium may form stones in the kidney.

calcium oxalate stone (KAL-see-uhm) (OK-suh-layt) (stohn):

a kidney stone made from calcium and oxalate.

catheter (KATH-uh-ter):

a thin, flexible tube inserted through the urethra to the bladder to drain urine. Placement of the catheter is called catheterization.

Side-view drawing of the male urinary tract with a catheter inserted through the urethra to the bladder. Labels identify the catheter, urethra, and bladder.

chronic (KRON-ik):

refers to disorders that last a long time, often years. Chronic kidney disease may develop over many years and lead to end-stage renal disease. Chronic is the opposite of acute, or brief.

chronic prostatitis (KRON-ik) (PROSS-tuh-TY-tiss):

inflammation of the prostate gland that develops slowly and lasts a long time.

clean catch urine specimen (kleen) (kach) (YOOR-in) (SPESS-uh-muhn):

a urine sample obtained after the area around the opening of the urethra has been cleaned. A clean catch specimen is taken in the middle of the urine stream so any remaining bacteria are flushed away. See midstream urine collection.

collagen (KOL-luh-jen):

a threadlike protein in humans and animals, sometimes used as a bulking agent to treat urinary incontinence.

continence (KON-tih-nenss):

the ability to control the timing of urination or a bowel movement.

continent cutaneous reservoir (KON-tih-nent) (kyoo-TAY-nee-uhss) (REZ-ur-vwar):

a urinary diversion in which urine is stored in an internal pouch made from a portion of the patient’s bowel. Urine is removed by inserting a catheter through the stoma to drain the urine. Different kinds of continent cutaneous reservoirs include the Indiana pouch and the Kock pouch.

Drawing of a female figure with the urinary tract and colon visible within the abdomen. A pouch called a continent cutaneous reservoir has been created inside the body to hold urine, which is emptied through a hole in the skin called a stoma. Labels point to the internal pouch and stoma.
 Continent cutaneous reservoir

cryptorchidism (krip-TOR-kih-dizm):

undescended testicles. In most boys, the testicles descend from the abdomen into the scrotum during fetal development. This condition is rare.

cyst (sist):

an abnormal sac containing gas, fluid, or a semisolid material. Cysts may form in the kidneys or in other parts of the body.

cystine stone (SISS-teen) (stohn):

a rare form of kidney stone consisting of the amino acid cystine.

cystinuria (SISS-tih-NYOO-ree-uh):

a condition in which urine contains high levels of the amino acid cystine. If cystine does not dissolve in the urine, it can build up to form kidney stones.

cystitis (sis-TY-tiss):

inflammation of the bladder, causing pain and a burning feeling in the pelvis or urethra.

cystocele (SISS-toh-seel):

a fallen bladder. A bladder that falls or sags from its normal position down to the pelvic floor can result in either urinary leakage or urinary retention.

cystometrogram (SISS-toh-MET-roh-gram):

a line graph that records urinary bladder pressure at various volumes.

cystoplasty (SISS-toh-PLASS-tee):

surgery to reconstruct a damaged urinary bladder.

cystoscope (SISS-toh-skohp):

a tubelike instrument used to look inside the urethra and bladder. The procedure is called cystoscopy.

cystourethrogram (SISS-toh-yoo-REETH-roh-gram):

an x-ray image of the urinary tract taken during urination.


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see desmopressin.

desmopressin (DESS-moh-PRESS-in):

a synthetic form of antidiuretic hormone used to treat enuresis and diabetes insipidus. Also called DDAVP.

detrusor muscle (dee-TROO-sor) (MUHSS-uhl):

a muscle that pushes a liquid or substance out of an organ. The muscle in the bladder wall is a detrusor muscle.

diabetes (DY-uh-BEE-teez):

a condition characterized by high blood glucose, resulting from the body’s inability to use blood glucose for energy. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes insulin, and therefore glucose cannot enter the cells to be used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, either the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body is unable to use insulin correctly.

diabetes insipidus (DY-uh-BEE-teez) (in-SIH-puh-duhss):

a condition characterized by frequent and heavy urination, excessive thirst, and an overall feeling of weakness. This condition may be caused by a defect in the pituitary gland or the kidney. In diabetes insipidus, blood glucose levels are normal. See nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.

digital rectal examination (DRE) (DIH-juh-tuhl) (REK-tuhl) (ek-ZAM-ih-NAY-shuhn):

a procedure in which the examiner inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the patient’s rectum to feel the prostate, ovaries, or other internal organs.

diuretic (DY-yoo-RET-ik):

an oral medicine that lowers blood pressure by aiding the kidneys in removing fluid from the blood.


see digital rectal examination.

dysfunctional voiding (diss-FUHNK-shuhn-uhl) (VOYD-ing):

a person’s inability to relax the appropriate muscles when trying to urinate or the inability to control spasms and leakage when trying to hold urine in the bladder. This condition is most common in children. Dysfunctional voiding may be caused by nerve damage, but it is often the result of poor voiding habits, such as delaying a trip to the bathroom because the child is engaged in an enjoyable activity.
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Page last updated September 9, 2010


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