• acute: refers to conditions that happen suddenly and last a short time. Acute is the opposite of chronic, or long lasting.
  • albuminuria: 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: 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: a medicine that kills bacteria.
  • antidiuretic hormone (ADH): 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: A condition in which the body stops making urine.
  • artificial bladder: 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): 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.
  • autoimmune disease: a disorder of the body’s immune system in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys body tissue it believes to be foreign.


  • bacteria: tiny organisms that cause infection or disease.
  • bacteriuria: a condition in which the urine contains bacteria.
  • balloon dilation: 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): 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: 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: a procedure in which a tiny piece of tissue, such as from the kidney or bladder, is removed for examination with a microscope.
  • bladder: the balloon-shaped organ inside the pelvis that holds urine.
    • Urology Glossary Terms

  • bladder outlet obstruction (BOO): any blockage at the urethra or the opening of the bladder.
  • bladder substitute: 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.
    • Urology Glossary Terms

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


  • calcium: a mineral the body needs for strong bones and teeth. Calcium may form stones in the kidney.
  • calcium oxalate stone: a kidney stone made from calcium and oxalate.
  • catheter: a thin, flexible tube inserted through the urethra to the bladder to drain urine. Placement of the catheter is called catheterization.
  • chronic: 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: inflammation of the prostate gland that develops slowly and lasts a long time.
  • clean catch urine specimen: 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: a threadlike protein in humans and animals, sometimes used as a bulking agent to treat urinary incontinence.
  • continence: bladder control or bowel control. the ability to control the timing of urination or a bowel movement.
  • continent cutaneous reservoir: 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.
    • Urology Glossary Terms

  • cryptorchidism: undescended testicles. In most boys, the testicles descend from the abdomen into the scrotum during fetal development. This condition is rare.
  • cyst: 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: a rare form of kidney stone consisting of the amino acid cystine.
  • cystinuria: 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: inflammation of the bladder, causing pain and a burning feeling in the pelvis or urethra.
  • cystocele: 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: a line graph that records urinary bladder pressure at various volumes.
  • cystoplasty: surgery to reconstruct a damaged urinary bladder.
  • cystoscope: a tubelike instrument used to look inside the urethra and bladder. The procedure is called cystoscopy.
  • cystourethrogram: an x-ray image of the urinary tract taken during urination.


  • DDAVP: see desmopressin.
  • desmopressin: a synthetic form of antidiuretic hormone used to treat enuresis and diabetes insipidus. Also called DDAVP.
  • detrusor muscle: a muscle that pushes a liquid or substance out of an organ. The muscle in the bladder wall is a detrusor muscle.
  • diabetes: 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: 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): 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: an oral medicine that lowers blood pressure by aiding the kidneys in removing fluid from the blood.
  • DRE: see digital rectal examination.
  • dysfunctional voiding: 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.


  • ectopic kidney: a birth defect in which a kidney is in an abnormal position.
  • ED: see erectile dysfunction.
  • ejaculation: the sudden release of semen through the penis during sexual climax.
  • electrical stimulation: the use of a mild electrical current applied to the nerves that control the bladder to treat urinary and fecal incontinence.
  • end-stage renal disease (ESRD): total and permanent kidney failure. When the kidneys fail, the body retains fluid. Harmful wastes build up. A person with ESRD needs treatment to replace the work of the failed kidneys.
  • endoscope: any tubelike instrument used to look inside the body. Endoscopes used for urologic exams include the cystoscope and the ureteroscope.
  • enuresis: urinary incontinence not caused by a physical disorder. The term enuresis is usually used as a synonym for bedwetting, although the term can also be used to describe daytime incontinence. Daytime incontinence is called diurnal enuresis. Bedwetting, or nighttime incontinence, is called nocturnal enuresis.
  • erectile dysfunction (ED): the inability to get or maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse. Also called impotence.
  • erection: enlargement and hardening of the penis caused by increased blood flow into the penis and decreased blood flow out of it as a result of sexual excitement.
  • ESRD: see end-stage renal disease.
  • ESWL: see extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy.
  • extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL): a nonsurgical procedure using shock waves to break up kidney stones.


  • frequency: see urinary frequency.
  • functional incontinence: incontinence caused by physical disability, external obstacles, or problems in thinking or communicating that prevent a person from reaching a toilet in time.


  • genitals: sex organs, including the penis and testicles in men and the vagina, vulva, and uterus in women.
  • glucose: one of the simplest forms of sugar.


  • hematuria: blood in the urine, which can be a sign of a kidney stone or other urinary problem.
  • hormone: a natural chemical produced in one part of the body and released into the blood to trigger or regulate particular body functions. Antidiuretic hormone tells the kidneys to slow down urine production.
  • hydronephrosis: backup and buildup of extra urine within the kidney and renal pelvis, usually because something is blocking urine from flowing into or out of the bladder.
    • Urology Glossary Terms

  • hydroureter: backup and buildup of extra urine within the ureter, usually because something is blocking urine from flowing into or out of the bladder.
  • hypercalciuria: abnormally large amounts of calcium in the urine, leading to kidney stones.
  • hyperoxaluria: unusually large amounts of oxalate in the urine, leading to kidney stones.
  • hyperplaysia: growth of cells that do not lead to cancer in an organ or other tissues. See benign prostatic hyperplasia.
  • hypospadias: A birth defect in which the opening of the urethra, called the urinary meatus, is on the underside of the penis instead of at the tip.


  • IC: see intermittent catheterization and interstitial cystitis.
  • ileal conduit: a kind of urostomy in which a section of the bowel is surgically removed from the digestive tract and repositioned to serve as a passage for urine from the kidneys and ureters to a stoma.
    • Urology Glossary Terms

  • immune system: the body's system for protecting itself from viruses and bacteria or any foreign substances.
  • immunosuppressant: a drug given to stop the natural responses of the body’s immune system. Immunosuppressants are given to prevent organ rejection in people who have received a transplant—for example, a kidney transplant—and to people with certain autoimmune diseases, such as lupus.
  • impotence: see erectile dysfunction.
  • incontinence: loss of bladder or bowel control; the accidental loss of urine or stool.
  • Indiana pouch: see continent cutaneous reservoir.
  • indwelling urinary catheter: a catheter placed in the bladder and urethra to release and collect urine over long periods of time.
    • Urology Glossary Terms

  • inflammation: swelling and redness that results from injury to tissue.
  • insulin: a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy.
  • intermittent catheterization (IC): short-term use of a catheter to release and collect urine. The catheter is removed as soon as the bladder is completely empty.
  • interstitial cystitis (IC): a disorder that causes the bladder wall to become swollen and irritated, leading to scarring and stiffening of the bladder, decreased bladder capacity, and, in rare cases, ulcers in the bladder lining. IC is also called painful bladder syndrome.
  • intravenous pyelogram: an x ray of the urinary tract. A dye is injected into a vein in the patient’s arm, travels through the body to the kidneys, and makes urine visible on the x ray and to show any blockage in the urinary tract.
  • irrigation: flushing the bladder or a continent cutaneous reservoir using a stream of water delivered through a catheter.


  • Kegel exercises: tightening and relaxing the muscles that hold urine in the bladder and hold the bladder in its proper position. These exercises can improve a person's ability to hold in urine. Also called pelvic muscle exercises.
  • kidney: one of the two bean-shaped organs that filter wastes from the blood. The kidneys are located near the middle of the back, one on each side of the spine. They create urine, which is delivered to the bladder through tubes called ureters.
  • kidney stone: a stone that develops from crystals that form in urine and build up on the inner surfaces of the kidney, in the renal pelvis, or in the ureters. Kidney stones include calcium oxalate stones, cystine stones, struvite stones, and uric acid stones. See nephrolithiasis.
  • Kock pouch: see continent cutaneous reservoir.


  • lithotripsy: a method of breaking up kidney stones using shock waves or other means.
  • lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS): urinary symptoms—such as urinary frequency and urgency, difficulty starting a stream, and incomplete voiding—that suggest urinary problems, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia, urinary tract infection, or kidney stones.
  • LUTS: see lower urinary tract symptoms.


  • megaureter: see hydroureter.
  • micturition: the act of urinating.
  • midstream urine collection: a method used to obtain a clean catch urine specimen. The patient starts a stream of urine into the toilet, and then catches the urine in a sample cup as the stream continues.
  • mixed urinary incontinence: a combination of different types of incontinence, usually stress urinary incontinence and urge urinary incontinence.


  • needle ablation: see TUNA under transurethral.
  • neobladder: see bladder substitute.
  • nephrectomy: surgical removal of a kidney.
  • nephritis: inflammation of the kidneys.
  • nephrogenic diabetes insipidus: constant thirst and frequent urination because the kidney tubules cannot respond to antidiuretic hormone. The result is an increase in urine formation and excessive urine flow.
  • nephrolithiasis: the condition of having kidney stones.
  • nephron: a tiny part of the kidneys. Each kidney is made up of about 1 million nephrons, which are the working units of the kidneys, removing wastes and extra fluids from the blood.
    • Urology Glossary Terms

  • nephrotic syndrome: a collection of symptoms that indicate kidney damage. Symptoms include high levels of protein in the urine, lack of protein in the blood, and high blood cholesterol.
  • nephropathy: disease of the kidneys.
  • neurogenic bladder: loss of bladder control caused by damage to the nerves controlling the bladder.
  • nocturia: frequent urination at night.
  • nuclear scan: a test of the structure, blood flow, and function of the kidneys. The doctor injects a mildly radioactive solution into a patient's arm vein and uses x rays to monitor its progress through the kidneys.


  • OAB: see overactive bladder.
  • overactive bladder (OAB): a condition in which the patient experiences at least two of the following conditions:1) urinary urgency, 2) urge urinary incontinence, and/or 3) urinary frequency—defined for this condition as urination eight or more times a day or more than twice at night.
  • overflow urinary incontinence: unexpected leakage of small amounts of urine because of a full bladder.
  • oxalate: a chemical that combines with calcium in urine to form calcium oxalate stones, the most common type of kidney stone.


  • painful bladder syndrome (PBS): see interstitial cystitis.
  • pancreas: an organ that makes insulin and enzymes for digestion. The pancreas is located behind the lower part of the stomach and is about the size of a hand.
  • PBS: see painful bladder syndrome and interstitial cystitis.
  • pelvic floor muscles: muscles that support the bladder, bowel, and uterus.
  • pelvic muscle exercises (PME): see Kegel exercises.
  • pelvic organ prolapse (POP): sinking of the bladder, bowel, and uterus out of their normal positions.
  • pelvis: the bowl-shaped bone that supports the spine and holds up the digestive, urinary, and reproductive organs. The legs connect to the body at the pelvis.
  • penis: the male organ used for urination and sex.
  • percutaneous nephrolithotomy: a method for removing kidney stones via surgery through a small incision in the back.
  • pessary: a specially designed object worn in the vagina to hold the bladder, rectum, or uterus in its correct position and prevent leakage of urine. Pessaries come in many shapes and sizes.
  • Peyronie's disease:  a plaque, or hardened area, that forms on the penis, preventing that area from stretching. During erection, the penis bends in the direction of the plaque, or the plaque may lead to indentation and shortening of the penis.
  • pituitary gland: a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain that regulates the body’s balance of hormones.
  • PME: see pelvic muscle exercises.
  • polyuria: overproduction of urine by the kidneys, resulting in excessive urination.
  • POP: see pelvic organ prolapse.
  • posterior urethral valves (PUV): a birth defect in boys in which an abnormal fold of tissue in the urethra keeps urine from flowing freely out of the bladder.
  • postvoid residual (PVR): urine that remains in the bladder after urination.
  • priapism: a persistent, often painful erection of the penis not caused by sexual desire.
  • prostate: in men, a walnut-shaped gland that surrounds the urethra at the neck of the bladder. The prostate supplies fluid that goes into semen.
  • prostatectomy: removal of the entire prostate gland.
  • prostate-specific antigen (PSA): a protein made only by the prostate gland. High levels of PSA in the blood may be a sign of prostate cancer.
  • prostatitis: inflammation of the prostate gland. Chronic prostatitis means the prostate gets inflamed repeatedly. The most common form of prostatitis is not associated with any known infecting organism.
  • protein:
    1. one of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide protein include meat, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, dairy products, eggs, and dried beans.
    2. proteins are also used in the body for cell structure, fighting infection, and other functions. After the body’s cells use protein, it is broken down into waste products containing nitrogen that must be removed by the kidneys. The blood absorbs amino acids and uses them to build and mend cells.
  • proteinuria: a condition in which the urine contains large amounts of protein, a sign that the kidneys are not functioning properly.
  • PSA: see prostate-specific antigen.
  • pus: thick yellow or white fluid containing white blood cells and other tissues.
  • PUV: see posterior urethral valves.
  • PVP: see transurethral.
  • PVR: see postvoid residual.
  • pyelogram: an x ray using injected dye that shows the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
  • pyelonephritis: an infection of the kidneys, usually caused by a germ that has traveled up through the urethra, bladder, and ureters from outside the body.
  • pyuria: pus in the urine, often a sign of a urinary tract infection or other condition.


  • renal: of or relating to the kidneys. A renal disease is a disease of the kidneys. Renal failure means the kidneys have stopped working properly.
  • renal pelvis: the area where urine formed by the kidneys is collected and excreted before it travels to the ureters and bladder.
  • reflux: see vesicoureteral reflux.
  • retention: see urinary retention.


  • sling procedure: a surgical procedure to treat female stress urinary incontinence in which a strip of material is wrapped around the urethra for support.
  • sphincter: a round muscle that opens and closes to let fluid or other matter pass into or out of an organ. Sphincter muscles keep the bladder closed until it is time to urinate.
  • stent: a small tube placed inside a passage, such as the urethra or a blood vessel, to keep that passage open.
  • stoma: a surgically created opening in the abdomen that allows passage of urine or stool. Urinary stomas must be covered at all times by a pouch that collects urine.
  • stone: see kidney stone.
  • stool: the solid waste that passes through the rectum as a bowel movement. Stool is undigested food, bacteria, mucus, and dead cells. Also called feces.
  • stress test: a simple test in which the patient coughs to see if the internal stress of that action causes urine to leak from the bladder.
  • stress urinary incontinence: leakage of urine caused by actions-such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, running, or lifting-that place pressure on the bladder from inside the body. Stress urinary incontinence can result from either a cystocele or weak sphincter muscles.
  • stricture: narrowing of a bodily passage, such as a ureter or the urethra.
  • struvite stone: a type of kidney stone caused by infection.


  • testicles: the two male glands below the penis that make sperm.
  • timed voiding or toileting: the practice of urinating or taking someone to the bathroom at set times to increase the bladder’s capacity to hold more urine for longer periods of time.
  • transient incontinence: incontinence that lasts a short time. Transient incontinence is usually caused by a temporary condition, such as a urinary tract infection.
  • transurethral: through the urethra. Several transurethral procedures are treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia:

    1) PVP (photoselective vaporization of the prostate): destruction of excess prostate tissue interfering with the exit of urine from the body by using a controlled laser beam inside the prostate.

    2) TUIP (transurethral incision of the prostate): widening of the urethra by making a few small cuts in the bladder neck—where the urethra joins the bladder—and in the prostate gland itself.

    3) TUMT (transurethral microwave thermotherapy): procedure that destroys excess prostate tissue interfering with the exit of urine from the body by using a probe in the urethra to deliver microwaves.
    • Urology Glossary Terms

    4) TUNA (transurethral needle ablation): technique that destroys excess prostate tissue with electromagnetically generated heat by using a needlelike device in the urethra.

    5) TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate): removal of the excess prostate tissue using an instrument with an electrical loop.
    • Urology Glossary Terms
  • TUIP: see transurethral.
  • TUMT: see transurethral.
  • TUNA: see transurethral.
  • TURP: see transurethral.


  • UI: see urinary incontinence.
  • ultrasound: a technique that bounces safe, painless sound waves off organs to create an image of their structure.
  • UPJ: see ureteropelvic junction.
  • urea: a waste product found in the blood that results from the normal breakdown of protein in the liver. Urea is normally removed from the blood by the kidneys and then excreted in the urine.
  • ureterocele: a birth defect in which a ureter swells where it empties into the bladder, often blocking the flow of urine from the kidney.
    • Urology Glossary Terms
  • ureteropelvic junction (UPJ): the point where a ureter joins the kidney.
  • ureteropelvic junction obstruction: blockage of urine at the ureteropelvic junction, causing the kidney to swell.
    • Urology Glossary Terms
  • ureteroscope: a tool for examining the bladder and ureters and for removing kidney stones through the urethra. The procedure is called a ureteroscopy.
  • ureterostomy: a form of urostomy in which the ureters are directly connected to the stoma.
  • ureters: tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
  • urethra: the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
  • urethral obstruction: a blockage in the urethra. A kidney stone is the most common cause.
  • urethritis: inflammation of the urethra.
  • urge urinary incontinence (urj): urinary leakage when the bladder contracts unexpectedly.
  • uric acid stone: a kidney stone that may result from a diet high in animal protein. When the body breaks down this protein, uric acid levels rise and can form stones.
  • urinalysis: a test of a urine sample that can reveal many problems of the urinary tract and other body systems. The sample may be observed for color, cloudiness, concentration; signs of drug use; chemical composition, including glucose; the presence of protein, blood cells, or bacteria; or other signs of disease.
  • urinary calculi: see kidney stones.
  • urinary diversion: a way to release urine from the body when the bladder does not function properly. Urinary diversions include urostomy, continent cutaneous reservoir, and bladder substitute, or neobladder.
  • urinary frequency: urination eight or more times a day.
  • urinary incontinence (UI): loss of bladder control; the accidental loss of urine.
  • urinary retention: the inability to empty the bladder completely.
  • urinary tract: the system that takes wastes from the blood and carries them out of the body in the form of urine. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, renal pelvises, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
  • urinary tract infection (UTI): An illness caused by harmful bacteria growing in the urinary tract.
  • urinary urgency: inability to delay urination.
  • urinate: to release urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
  • urine: liquid waste product filtered from the blood by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and expelled from the body through the urethra by the act of voiding or urinating. See urinate and void.
  • urodynamic tests: tests that measure the bladder’s ability to hold and release urine.
  • uroflow test: measurement of the rate at which urine flows out of the body. A lower than normal rate can indicate blockage.
  • urogynecologist: a doctor who is trained in urology and gynecology and specializes in female urinary problems.
  • urolithiasis: the condition of having stones in the urinary tract.
  • urologist: a doctor who specializes in urinary problems.
  • urostomy: an opening through the skin into the urinary tract to allow urine to drain when voiding through the urethra is not possible.
    • Urology Glossary Terms
  • uterus: female organ, located in the pelvis, where a baby develops before birth. Also called a womb.
  • UTI: see urinary tract infection.


  • vagina: the tube in a woman's body that runs beside the urethra and connects the womb, or uterus, to the outside of the body. Sometimes called the birth canal.
  • vasopressin: see antidiuretic hormone.
  • VCUG: see voiding cystourethrogram.
  • vesicoureteral reflux: an abnormal condition in which urine backs up into the ureters and occasionally into the kidneys, raising the risk of infection.
  • void: to urinate; to empty the bladder.
  • voiding cystourethrogram: an x-ray image of the bladder and urethra taken during voiding. The bladder and urethra are filled with a special fluid to make the urethra clearly visible.
  • vulva: the outer part of the female genitals.

Reference: National Institutes of Health (NIH)


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