Glossary

Absorbent Products: Pads and garments, disposable or reusable, worn to absorb leaked urine. Absorbent products include shields, undergarment pads, combination pad-pant systems, diaper-like garments, and bed pads.

Artificial Sphincter: Sometimes complicated cases of incontinence require implantation of a device known as an artificial urinary sphincter. People who might benefit from this treatment include those who are incontinent after surgery for prostate cancer or stress incontinence, trauma victims and people with congenital defects in the urinary system. The artificial sphincter has three components, including a pump, balloon reservoir, and a cuff that encircles the urethra and prevents urine from leaking out. The cuff is connected to the pump, which is surgically implanted in the scrotum (in men) or labia (in women). The pump can be activated (usually by squeezing or pressing a button) to deflate the cuff and and permit the bladder to empty. After a brief interval, the cuff refills itself and the urethra is again closed. Because the artificial sphincter is an implant, it is subject to the risks common to implants, such as infection, erosion (breaking down of tissue) and mechanical malfunction. Yet with appropriate pre-surgical evaluation, operative techniques, and postoperative follow-up, many problems can be avoided and incontinent patients can experience an improved quality of life with this device.

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): The new forms of fertility treatment incorporate many methods of sperm retrieval and preparation. Once the sperm have been processed to ensure optimal fertilizing potential, they are used in a variety of procedures that aid the process of conception. These procedures include artificial insemination (AI) in vitro fertilization (IVF), and sperm microinjection techniques.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: A condition in which the prostate becomes enlarged as part of the aging process.

Benign Tumor: A tumor that is not cancerous.

Bilateral: A term describing a condition that affects both sides of the body or two paired organs, such as kidneys.

Biofeedback: A procedure that uses electrodes to help people gain awareness and control of their pelvic muscles.

Bladder: A hollow muscular balloon-shaped organ that stores urine until it is excreted from the body.

Bladder Instillation (Also called a bladder wash or bath.): The bladder is filled with a solution that is held for varying periods of time, from a few seconds to 15 minutes, before being drained though a catheter.

Bladder Training: A behavioral technique that teaches the patient to resist or inhibit the urge to urinate, and to urinate according to a schedule rather than urinating at the urge.

Catheter: A tube passed through the body for draining fluids or injecting them into body cavities. It may be made of elastic, elastic web, rubber, glass, metal, or plastic.

Chancre: A hard, syphilitic primary ulcer, the first sign of syphilis, appearing approximately 2 to 3 weeks after infection. The ulcer begins as a painless lesion or papule that ulcerates. Occurs generally singly, but sometimes may be multiple.

Cystocele: A herniation of bladder into the vagina.

Cyst: A lump filled with either fluid or soft material, occurring in any organ or tissue; may occur for a number of reasons, but is usually harmless unless its presence disrupts organ or tissue function.

Cystectomy: Surgical removal of the bladder.

Cystometrogram: A bladder function test to determine nerve and muscle function as well as obstruction. A small catheter is inserted into the bladder at the time of the test.

Cystoscopy: A flexible scope is inserted into the urethra and then into the bladder to determine abnormalities in the bladder and lower urinary tract.

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

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): A procedure in which the physician inserts a gloved finder into the rectum to examine the rectum and the prostate gland for signs of cancer.

Diuretic: A drug that increases the amount of water in the urine, removing excess water from the body; used in treating high blood pressure and fluid retention.

Enterocele: Herniation of small bowel into the vagina.

Estrogen: Hormones responsible for the development of female sex characteristics; produced by the ovary.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL): Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy uses highly focused impulses projected from outside the body to pulverize kidney stones.

Hematuria: The presence of red blood cells (RBCs) in the urine.

Hormonal Therapy: Involves the use of anti-androgens. An androgen is a male hormone needed for the production of testosterone. By depriving the cancer cells of the testosterone they need for growth, tumors regress in size and cellular activity. Side effects include gynecomastia, the enlargement of breast tissue, hot flashes, and loss of libido (desire to have sex). Some long term hormonal therapy is associated with the loss of muscle mass, osteoporosis, and malaise (loss of energy.)

Hydrocele: A painless swelling of the scrotum caused by a collection of fluid around the testicle; commonly occurs in middle-aged men.

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.

Hyperplasia: Excessive growth of normal cells of an organ.

Impotence (Also called erectile dysfunction): The inability to achieve or maintain an erection.

Interstitial Cystitis: A complex, chronic disorder characterized by an inflamed or irritated bladder wall.

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.

Intrinsic Sphincter Deficiency (ISD): Weakening of the urethra sphincter muscles. As a result of this weakening the sphincter does not function normally regardless of the position of the bladder neck or urethra. This condition is a common cause of stress urinary incontinence.

Irritable Bladder: Involuntary contractions of muscles in the bladder, which can cause lack of control of urination.

Kegel Exercises: Exercises to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, which leads to more control and prevents leakage.

Kidney: One of a pair of organs located at the back of the abdominal cavity. Kidneys make urine through blood filtration.

Kidney Stone: A hard mass composed of substances from the urine that form in the kidneys.

Lithotripsy: A procedure done to break up stones in the urinary tract using ultrasonic shock waves, so that the fragments can be easily passed from the body.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radio frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

Metastasis: The spreading of a cancerous tumor to another part of the body.

Microwave (Targis): A catheter is placed within the bladder and positioned within the prostate, then the antenna emits microwaves. This procedure increases the passageway allowing for easier urination.

Nephrectomy: Removal of an entire kidney.

Orchiectomy: The surgical removal of one or both of the testicles.

Orchitis: Inflammation of a testicle.

Overactive Bladder: A condition characterized by involuntary bladder muscle contractions during the bladder filling phase which the patient cannot suppress.

Overflow UI: Leakage of small amounts of urine from a bladder that is always full.

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCN): Percutaneous means “through the skin.” In PCN, the surgeon or urologist makes a 1-cm incision under local anesthesia in the patient's back, though which an instrument called a nephroscope is passed directly into the kidney and, if necessary, the ureter. Small stones may be manually extracted. Large ones may be broken up with ultrasonic, electohydraulic, or laser-tipped probes before they can be extracted. A tube may be inserted into the kidney for drainage.

Pelvic Muscle Exercises: Pelvic muscle exercises are intended to improve pelvic muscle tone and prevent leakage for sufferers of Stress Urinary Incontinence. Also called Kegel exercises. (See biofeedback)

Periurethral Bulking Injections: A surgical procedure in which injected implants are used to “bulk up” the area around the neck of the bladder allowing it to resist increases in abdominal pressure which can push down on the bladder and cause leakage.

Pessary: A device placed in the vagina to hold the bladder in place or to treat a prolapsed uterus.

Peyronic's Disease: A plaque, or hard lump, that forms on the erection tissue of the penis. The plaque often begins as an inflammation that may develop into a fibrous tissue.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD): A genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts filled with fluid in the kidneys.

Post-void Residual (PVR) Volume: A diagnostic test which measures how much urine remains in the bladder after urination. Specific measurements of PVR volume can be accomplished by catheterization, pelvic ultrasound, radiography, or radioisotope studies.

Priapism: Persistent erection of the penis, especially when due to disease and not sexual desire.

Proctodynia: Pain in the prostate gland.

Prostate: A muscular, walnut-sized gland that surrounds part of the urethra. It secretes seminal fluid, a milky substance that combines with sperm (produced in the testicles) to form semen.

Prostatectomy: Surgical removal of the prostate.

Suprapubic/Retropubic Prostatectomy: This involves the removal of obstructing prostatic tissue through a suprapubic incision (a cut below the belly button). The Prostate is not wholly removed. Suprapubic Prostatectomy requires incising the bladder to remove the obstructing tissue while a Retropubic approach involves incising the Prostatic capsule to remove the obstructing tissue. Both approaches utilize an abdominal incision.

Radical Retropubic Prostatectomy: Removal of prostate through an abdominal incision. The prostate is completely removed. The advantage is that the lymph nodes can be sampled at the time of the operation and the nerve-sparing procedure is easier to do via this operation.

Perineal Prostatectomy: A Perineal incision is utilized. The advantages are: less blood loss, easier visualization of the bladder/urethral anastomosis, and decreased recovery time because the incision does not involve muscle or any other vital tissue.

Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test: A blood test used to help detect prostate cancer by measuring a substance called prostate-specific antigen produced by the prostate.

Prostatic Stent: Inserted through a cystoscope, it is a wire device that expands after placement thus pushing prostate tissue away from the passageway allowing for easier urination.

Prostatism: Any condition of the prostate that causes interference with the flow of urine from the bladder.

Prostatron: Also called TUMT or Transurethral Microwave Thermotherapy. A catheter is placed within the bladder and positioned within the prostate, then the antenna emits microwaves. This procedure increases the passageway allowing for easier urination.

Pubovaginal Sling: A surgical procedure in which a man-made or cadaveric piece of material is placed under the bladder neck to support and immobilize. This technique improves sphincter function and decreases bladder neck movement, improving continence.

Pyelonephritis: Inflammation of the kidney, due to a bacterial infection.

Pyuria: The presence of pus in the urine; usually an indication of kidney or urinary tract infection.

Rectocele: A herniation of rectum into the vagina.

Scrotum: The bag of skin that holds the testicles.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD): Infections that are most commonly spread through sexual intercourse or genital contact.

Sling Procedures: Surgical methods for treating urinary incontinence involving the placement of a sling, made either of tissue obtained from the person undergoing the sling procedure or a synthetic material. The sling is anchored to retropubic and/or abdominal structures.

Stress Urinary Incontinence: Urinary Incontinence: The involuntary loss of urine during period of increased abdominal pressure. Such events include laughing sneezing, coughing, or lifting heavy objects.

Testosterone: The sex hormone that stimulates development of male sex characteristics and bone and muscle growth; produced by the testicles and in small amounts by the ovaries.

Transrectal Ultrasound of the Prostate: A test using sound wave echoes to create an image of an organ or gland to visually inspect for abnormal conditions like gland enlargement, nodules, penetration of tumor through capsule of the gland and/or invasion of seminal vesicles. It may also be used for guidance of needle biopsies of the prostate gland and guiding the nitrogen probes in cryosurgery.

Transurethral Surgery: Surgery in which no external incision is needed. For prostate transurethral surgery, the surgeon reaches the prostate by inserting an instrument through the urethra. See below for different types of transurethral surgery.

Transurethral hyperthermia: An investigative procedure that uses heat, usually provided by microwaves, to shrink the prostate.

Transurethral Incision of the Prostate (TUIP): A procedure that widens the urethra by making some small cuts in the bladder neck, where the urethra joins the bladder, and in the prostate gland itself.

Transurethral Laser Incision of the Prostate (TULIP): The use of laser through the urethra that melts the tissue.

Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP): A surgical procedure by which portions of the prostate gland are removed through the penis.

Ureters: Two narrow tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

Urethra: Narrow channel through which the urine passes from the bladder out of the body.

Urge Incontinence: The inability to hold urine long enough to reach a restroom. It is found in people who have conditions such as diabetes, stroke, dementia, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis, but may be an indication of other diseases or conditions that would also warrant medical attention.

Urodynamics: is the investigation of functional disorders of the lower urinary tract. By this we mean the bladder and the urethra. Symptoms are particularly unreliable in the study of the lower urinary tracts of the purpose of urodynamics is to confirm objectively the pathology that a person's symptoms would suggest.

Video cystoscopy: When a patient has a urinary problem, the doctor may use a cystoscope to see the inside of the bladder and urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. The cystoscope has lenses like a telescope or microscope. These lenses let the doctor focus on the inner surfaces of the urinary tract. Some cystoscopes use optical fibers (flexible glass fibers) that carry an image from the tip of the instrument to a viewing piece at the other end. The cystosocope is as thin as a pencil and has a light at the tip. Many cystoscopes have extra tubes to guide other instruments for procedures to treat urinary problems.