Genitourinary disorders


Genitourinary disorders are illnesses that occur when the urinary organs and genital organs are not functioning properly. These disorders may be the result of aging, illness, or injury.
There are many organs involved in urination, including two kidneys, two ureters, the bladder, two sphincter muscles, and the urethra.
The kidneys, a pair of organs located on the left and right side of the abdomen, are an essential component of the urinary tract. The kidneys are responsible for removing toxins, chemicals, and waste products from the blood.
Urine then leaves the kidneys and travels down two tubes called ureters. The muscles in the ureter walls constantly tighten and relax to bring urine into the bladder. Small amounts of urine enter the bladder approximately every 10-15 seconds.
The bladder is a hollow muscular organ. The bladder stretches until it is full with urine. Healthy adults can hold up to 16 ounces (two cups) of urine in their bladders for two to five hours. Muscles, called sphincters, prevent urine from leaking out of the bladder.
When the bladder is full, nerves send a message to the brain, which then causes the patient to feel the urge to urinate.
During urination, the brain signals the muscles in the bladder to contract and the sphincter muscles to relax. This causes urine to empty out of the bladder.
Examples of genitourinary disorders include interstitial cystitis, neurogenic bladder, kidney stones, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), prolapsed uterus, urinary incontinence, and urinary tract infection (UTI). In addition to causing urinary problems, many of these conditions may also affect the reproductive organs including the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and vagina in women and the testicles, epididymis (tubular organ where sperm collect after leaving the testis), prostate gland, and penis in males.
Treatment of genitourinary disorders depends on the specific type and severity of the disorder. If left untreated, some disorders, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), may lead to infertility. Therefore, patients who have symptoms of genitourinary disorders should visit their healthcare providers as soon as possible.

Related Terms

Bladder disorders, bladder infection, bladder irrigation, epidiymitis, frequency-urgency-dysuria syndrome, neurogenic bladder, orchitis, painful bladder syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease, PID, underactive bladder, urethral inflammation, urethritis, urine acidification, urinary retention, urinary tract defects, urinary tract infection, UTI.

common types and causes of genitourinary disorders

Interstitial cystitis: Interstitial cystitis, also called painful bladder syndrome or frequency-urgency-dysuria syndrome, is a long-term inflammatory condition that causes frequent urination and bladder pain.
In healthy individuals, the bladder will expand until it is full. Once this happens, the brain receives a message from the pelvic nerves, which causes patients to feel the urge to urinate. Patients with interstitial cystitis feel the urge to urinate more often than they should.
Although interstitial cystitis can affect anyone, it is most common among women.
The exact cause of interstitial cystitis remains unknown. Most experts believe that patients are born with a leaky epithelium, which is the protective lining of the bladder. If toxic or harmful substances enter the bladder through the epithelium, it may cause irritation and lead to cystitis.
It has also been suggested that the interstitial cystitis is the result of inheritance, infections, allergic reactions, or autoimmunity. Autoimmunity occurs when the immune system, which normally fights against disease and infection, mistakenly attacks body cells. However, further research is needed to verify these theories.
Neurogenic bladder: A neurogenic bladder occurs when the pelvic nerves do not function properly. This may lead to either an overactive or underactive bladder.
There are many potentially causes of a neurogenic bladder. Some of the most common causes include diabetes, infections, tumors, heavy metal poisoning, vaginal childbirth, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and brain or spinal cord injuries. Some patients are born with genetic nerve problems that cause the condition.
Kidney stones (renal calculi): Kidney stones, also called renal calculi, urolithiasis, or nephrolithiasis, usually develop when the urine becomes too concentrated (urine acidification). As a result, minerals and other substances in the urine form hard crystals in the kidneys. Over time, these crystals may combine to form a small, hard mass or stone. There are four types of kidney stones that can develop: calcium stones (calcium oxalate stones), struvite stones, uric acid stones, and cystine stones.
Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stones, accounting for 80% of cases. Calcium stones develop when there are high levels of calcium (hypercalcemia) and oxalate in the blood. Patients who consume excessive amounts of vitamin D or have overactive thyroids may have high levels of calcium in the blood. Patients who consume large amounts of oxalic acid or undergo intestinal bypass surgery may have high levels of oxalate in the blood.
Struvite stones are usually caused by chronic urinary tract infections. The bacteria that cause these infections release enzymes that increase the amount of ammonia in the urine. This excess ammonia may form large, sharp stones that may damage the kidneys.
Uric acid stones form when there is excess uric acid in the urine. Uric acid is a byproduct of protein metabolism. These stones are usually caused by a cancer treatment called chemotherapy. It may also develop in patients who eat high-protein diets. Some patients are genetically predisposed to develop uric acid stones.
Cystine stones develop in patients who have an inherited disorder called cystinuria. This disorder causes the kidneys to release too many amino acids. The excess amino acids then form stones.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female reproductive organs that causes pain and swelling. If left untreated, PID may lead to long-term pelvic pain. It may also result in infertility or complications during pregnancy.
PID usually develops when a sexually transmitted bacteria enters the uterus and reproduces in the upper genital tract. The most common bacteria that causes PID also causes the sexually transmitted disease (STDS) gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Prolapsed uterus: If the uterus collapses into the vaginal canal, the condition is called a prolapsed uterus.
There are many causes of a prolapsed uterus. Weakened pelvic muscles caused by aging may lead to a prolapsed uterus. Vaginal childbirth and medical conditions, such as such as chronic cough, straining from constipation, pelvic tumors, or an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, may also cause the condition.
Urinary incontinence: Urinary incontinence describes the inability to control the bladder. The bladder spontaneously empties all or some of the urine.
Incontinence is a symptom of an underlying illness. Incontinence may be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause.
Most children, especially those younger than seven years old, experience nighttime incontinence, also called bedwetting or nocturnal enuresis. This may happen because the child's bladder is still developing and it cannot hold all of the urine that is produced during sleep. Very young children may be unable to recognize when they have full bladders. This is because the nerves that control the bladder take a long time to develop. Adults may also wet the bed. Other causes of bedwetting in children and adults may include stress, urinary tract infections, sleep apnea, diabetes, and chronic constipation.
In addition, alcohol, caffeine, dehydration, over-hydration, bladder irritation, medications (such as sleeping pills, antidepressants, or diuretics), urinary tract infections (UTIs), and constipation may lead to temporary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence may also be a long-term symptom of an underlying medical condition. For instance, pregnant women may experience incontinence because their bodies are going through hormonal and weight changes. Vaginal childbirth may damage the pelvic nerves and supportive tissues and muscles that are involved in bladder control. Aging is also associated with urinary incontinence because the bladder muscles become weaker over time. Also, elderly women produce less estrogen, a hormone that helps keep the lining of the bladder and urethra healthy. Other medical conditions, including inflamed prostate gland (prostatitis), enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, bladder stones, neurological disorders (such as Parkinson's Disease or multiple sclerosis), and tumors that block the urinary tract may lead to urinary incontinence.
Urinary tract infections (UTI): A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system. UTIs may affect any part of the urinary tract including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. However, most infections involve the lower tract, which includes the urethra and the bladder.
Infections may cause swelling, especially of the urethra (urethritis), bladder (cystitis), epidiymis (epidiymitis), or one or both testicles (orchitis). When a UTI causes cystitis, the condition is sometimes called honeymoon cystitis. If bleeding occurs with an inflamed bladder, the condition is called hemorrhagic cystitis.
Infections typically develop when bacteria or viruses enter the urinary system through the urethra. Once inside the bladder, the disease-causing microorganism begins multiplying.
Females are more likely to develop UTIs than males. This is because the female's urethra is much closer to the anus than the male's. The anus harbors many disease-causing organisms that may cause UTIs.
Patients with UTIs typically experience a full recovery with treatment. However, if the patient does not receive treatment, the infection may spread to the kidneys where it can cause permanent damage.