What is Pediatric Urology?
Pediatric urology is a surgical subspecialty of medicine dealing with the disorders of children's genitourinary systems. Pediatric urologists provide care for both boys and girls ranging from birth to early adult age. The most common problems are those involving disorders of urination, reproductive organs and testes.
How common are the problems?
Most people are unaware of the common urological problems of children. This is because they are not often discussed outside the family. Most people have heard of urinary tract infections, but do not know that these infections are associated with anatomical abnormalities in approximately 30% of all children who have them, and even a higher percentage in boys. Among the genital defects, abnormalities of the penis are the most common followed by undescended testicles. In the operating room at a children's hospital, urological cases are fourth in the total number of cases, following ENT (ear, nose and throat), general surgery, and orthopedics.
The most common condition seen by pediatric urologists is a urinary tract infection, which occurs more frequently in girls than in boys. An estimated 1-2 percent of children develop a UTI, characterized by blood in the urine, an unusual odor to the urine, or a change in urinary patterns. Other common conditions include:
Antenatal hydronephrosis – a fluid-filled enlargement of the kidney prior to birth, typically diagnosed with prenatal ultrasound.
Hernia – a protrusion of all or part of an organ or tissue through a weakened area.
Hydrocele – an accumulation of fluid that can occur in the scrotal sac.
Hydronephrosis – swelling of the kidneys caused by obstruction in the urinary tract.
Hypospadias – a congenital condition, usually diagnosed during infancy, in which the opening
of the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the body) is on the underside of the penis rather than at the tip
Neurogenic bladder – a disorder resulting from interference in the normal nerve pathways that send signals to the bladder regarding urination
Nnocturnal enuresis – bedwetting beyond the age at which a child would be expected to remain dry – believed to be caused by a developmental delay in the bladder and usually something the child outgrows
Spina bifida – a neural tube defect in which the tissue surrounding the spinal cord fails to close properly during fetal development
Undescended testes – a condition in which at least one testicle fails move into the scrotal sac as the male fetus develops (in most cases, this is resolved on its own in the first year of life)
Ureteropelvic junction obstruction – blockage of the flow of urine in the area where the ureter meets the kidney
Vesicoureteral reflux – a condition in which urine from the bladder backs up into the ureter, often diagnosed during prenatal ultrasound or after a urinary tract infection