Urology deals with health conditions involving the organs of the urinary tract (kidney, ureter, urinary bladder, and urethra). It also covers issues in the male reproductive system (penis, testes, prostate, scrotum, etc.).
Urology for Children
Like many medical specialties, urology has a subfield that caters specifically to children and adolescents. This is called pediatric urology.
Although human beings across age groups function in similar ways, children’s bodies will still work differently compared to those of adults’. Hence, if a child has issues relating to the urinary tract, genitals, and groin, these are best handled by a pediatric urologist.
Compared to a normal urologist, a pediatric urologist is trained to examine and provide solutions for problems that are unique to children. Additionally, they have the expertise to diagnose conditions even though a child can’t fully articulate the feeling accompanying urinary tract problems.
If you’re from New York you can visit this site to consult pediatric urologists with years of experience working with both parents and children. Thus, you can be sure that they’re qualified to diagnose and prescribe the right treatment plans for your child.
When Should Your Child See a Pediatric Urologist?
Your child’s pediatrician may not always have all the answers to your child’s condition. Fortunately, they know who can help based on what they’re able to observe. They’ll usually refer patients to a pediatric urologist when they recognize symptoms of the following:
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
UTI is the most common health condition that pediatric urologists deal with. This occurs when bacteria are able to infect the urethra. UTI occurs more frequently in girls than in boys. The most common signs include:
- Pain during urination
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty in urinating
- Urine discoloration (pink, red, brown, or bloody)
Recurrent UTIs can usually be solved with the help of a pediatric urologist. Treatment courses will be different depending on the cause of the UTI.
- Bedwetting (Urinary Incontinence)
Wetting the bed during daytime and nighttime is quite common in children whose bladders are just starting to develop. This is usually a normal phenomenon, and some children just tend to develop bladder control at a later time compared to their peers.
However, if you feel like your child is wetting the bed more than what seems normal, a pediatric urologist may be able to help you out.
- Genital or Urinary Tract Abnormalities
Sometimes, a child’s urinary tract or genitals fails to develop normally. In such cases, a pediatric urologist may need to perform a surgery to correct the problem.
- Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR)
This condition occurs when the urine goes back to the ureters and kidneys instead of flowing out into the urethra. Although this is commonly seen in young children and infants, some older children may deal with this as well. Causes of VUR include:
- Ureter that failed to develop correctly
- Urinary tract blockage
VUR needs to be treated right away because this could lead to infections that may eventually damage your child’s kidneys.
- Inguinal Hernia
This happens when a portion of the child’s intestine pushes through their weak abdominal muscles. It’s usually made obvious by a bulge in the skin.
Inguinal hernia is generally seen in newborn infants. While it’s more commonly associated with boys, girls can have it as well.
- Kidney Stones
Just like in adults, pediatric kidney stones occur when there’s too much concentration of certain minerals and chemicals in the urine. These minerals turn into solid crystals, which may eventually turn into large stones that block the urinary tract.
Small stones usually don’t have any symptoms, and they largely go undetected unless it becomes a problem. Large ones are made obvious by pains or infections. The different types of kidney stones are:
- Calcium Stones
- Cystine Stones
- Struvite Stones
- Uric Acid Stones
Determining the type of stone is important for identifying the right stone elimination method.
Procedures Done by a Pediatric Urologist
Listed below are some of the procedures that pediatric urologists are qualified to perform:
- Blood tests
- Renal scan (kidney scan)
- Cystoscopy (bladder and ureter examination)
- Cystometrogram (measurement of bladder pressure)
- Ultrasound (for blockage detection in the urinary tract)
- Voiding cystourethrogram (aka VCUG; observes the urinary tract at different stages of urination
Lithotripsy: This treatment involves the use of shock waves to break the patient’s kidney stones. The goal is to grind the stones into small pieces such that it can pass through the urinary tract without any problems. If this method doesn’t work, surgery will be required to eliminate kidney stones.
Surgery: Aside from kidney stone removal, surgery may sometimes be needed to solve conditions relating to sex development or to remove growths in the genitals or urinary tract. Should there be a need for other forms of therapy, the pediatric urologist will usually team up with other experts to come up with the most appropriate treatment.
This is not a complete list by any means, but these are the most common things that pediatric urologists have to do.
Things to Consider Before Going to a Pediatric Urologist
- Reasons for Going
If you’ve gone to your GP and they recommended that you send your child to a pediatric urologist, ask them why they’ve arrived at that decision. Additionally, ask about what you can do at the moment while you’re waiting to be scheduled.
This makes it easier for you to explain to the pediatric urologist why you’re setting up an appointment with them. This may also give them an instant idea why your GP chose to refer them to you.
- Necessary Tests
Some symptoms may require tests so pediatric urologists can make a clear diagnosis. Hence, make sure that you bring all the relevant test results of your child to the doctor’s appointment.
Conclusion: A Pediatric Urologist May Be the Answer to Your Child’s Pains
Pediatric urologists generally spend most of their training time trying to solve children’s urologic issues. Hence, they’ve learned what it takes to help children feel comfortable, especially when it concerns sensitive parts of the body. Their equipment and treatment plans are also specifically designed for children so you can be sure that your child will be getting the best care possible.