Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Common Urologic Terms


Azoospermia: The absence of sperm in the semen.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): A benign enlargement of the prostate gland.

Brachytherapy: A type of radiation therapy in which radioactive materials are placed in direct contact with the tissue being treated.

Chronic Prostatitis: Inflammation of the prostate gland, developing slowly and lasting a long time.

Cryosurgery: A surgical technique that utilizes freezing tissue to remove unwanted portions.

Cryptorchidism: A developmental defect characterized by failure of the testes to descend into the scrotum.

Cryotherapy: The therapeutic use of cold to reduce discomfort.

Cystitis: Inflammation of the bladder often marked by painful urination.

Cystocele: A condition where the bladder herniates into the vaginal canal. This usually results in stress incontinence.

Cystectomy: Surgical removal of the bladder.

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

Cystogram: X-ray of the bladder obtained by placing a catheter into the bladder and then filling the bladder with contrast material.

Enuresis: Involuntary discharge of urine.

Erectile Dysfunction: A consistent inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL): A procedure that uses sound waves delivered inside a water bath to pulverize kidney stones painlessly inside the body.

Hematuria: Blood in the urine.

Hydrocele: An accumulation of serous fluid in a sac-like cavity adjacent to the testicle.

Hydronephrosis: Dilation of the collecting system of the kidney because of an obstruction.

Hypospadias: A congenital abnormality in which the urethra opens on the underside of the penis.

Impotence: A consistent inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse.

Incontinence: Loss of bladder control.

Interstitial Cystitis: A chronic inflammatory condition of the bladder. Symptoms include difficulty urinating, pain on urination, urinary urgency, and increased frequency of urination.

Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP): An x-ray of the urinary tract where dye is injected to make urine visible on the x-ray and show any blockage in the urinary tract.

Kegel Exercises: An exercise to improve a woman's ability to hold in her urine by tightening and then relaxing the muscles that hold urine in the bladder.

Kidneys: The two bean-shaped organs that filter wastes from the blood. The kidneys are located near the middle of the back. They send urine to the bladder through tubes called ureters.

Kidney Stone: A stone that develops from crystals that form in the urine and build up on the inner surfaces of the kidney, in the renal pelvis, or in the ureters.

Laparoscopy: Surgery using a laparoscope to visualize an internal organ through a small incision. Generally less invasive than traditional surgeries.

Lithotripsy: A procedure to break up kidney stones using ultrasonic shock waves.

Nephrectomy: Removal of an entire kidney.

Nephrolithiasis: Kidney stones.

Neurogenic Bladder: Loss of bladder control caused by damage to the nerves controlling the bladder.

Orchiectomy: Removal of a testicle

Peyronie's Disease: A plaque (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.

Priapism: Persistent abnormal erection of the penis, usually without desire and accompanied by pain and tenderness.

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.

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.

Prostatectomy: The surgical removal of the prostate gland.

Prostatitis: Inflammation of the prostate gland.

Proteinuria: The presence of protein in the urine, indicating that the kidneys may not be working properly.

Pubovaginal Sling: A surgical procedure 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.

Pyuria: Pus in the urine.

Pyelonephritis: An infection of the kidneys, usually caused by a germ that has traveled up through the urethra, bladder, and ureter(s) from outside the body.

Radical Perineal Prostatectomy: Removal of the entire prostate gland and the seminal vesicles through a perineal incision.

Renal Calculi: A kidney stone.

Renal Pelvis: Funnel shaped structure collecting urine from the kidney and delivering it to the ureter.

Seminal Vesicle: A paired accessory sex gland in the male located above the prostate and behind the bladder.

Stress Urinary Incontinence: (SUI) Leakage of urine caused by actions such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, running, or lifting that places pressure on the bladder from inside the body. Stress urinary incontinence can result from either a fallen bladder or weak sphincter muscle.

Ureter: The tube which drains urine from the kidney to the bladder.

Ureteropelvic Junction (UPJ): Where the ureter joins the renal pelvis.

Ureteropelvic Junction (UPJ) Obstruction: A condition where blockage occurs at the junction where the ureter attaches to the kidney.

Urethra: The channel which conducts urine from the bladder to the outside.

Ureteral Calculi: A kidney stone which has dropped down into the ureter.

Ureterocele: A sacular dilation of the terminal portion of the ureter.

Urinalysis: A study of the urine by chemical and microscopic techniques to determine any abnormal findings.

Urinary Incontinence: Involuntary loss of urine.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Infection caused by bacteria that invade the urinary system and multiply.

Urodynamics: Diagnostic tests to examine bladder and urethral sphincter function.

Urolithiasis: Stones in the urinary system.

Varicocele: Dilation (enlargement) of the veins along the spermatic cord (vas deferens).

Vas Deferens: The excretory duct of the testis that conveys sperm.

Vasectomy: A surgical sterilization performed in males where a segment of the vas deferens is removed.

Vasovasostomy: Vasectomy reversal.

Vesicovaginal Fistula: An abnormal passage between the bladder and the vagina.