Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice

By Thomas F. Cash; Thomas Pruzinsky | Go to book overview

41
Body Image and Urological Disorders

STEVEN M. TOVIAN

Urology is the branch of medicine concerned with the urinary tract in both genders and with the male genital/reproductive system. The term "urogenital" refers to the urinary and genital organs. The urinary system includes those organs primarily responsible for cleaning and filtering excess fluid and waste material from the blood, including the kidneys, ureter, bladder, and urethra. The male urogenital tract includes the testes, penis, prostate gland, and efferent and ejaculatory ducts. Urinary system problems include kidney failure, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, prostate enlargement, and bladder control problems such as urinary incontinence (leakage of urine) resulting from decreased muscle strength of the sphincters around the bladder and pelvic area and from disease or injury. Some urological diseases include cancers of the bladder, penis, prostate, kidney, and testicle; male erectile dysfunctions (e.g., priapism, epididymitis); prostate enlargement (e.g., hyperplasia, prostatitis); kidney stones; and sexually transmitted diseases.

According to National Kidney Foundation estimates, kidney and urinary tract diseases are a major cause of illness and death in the United States and affect nearly 20 million Americans. More than 13 million people in the United States experience urinary incontinence (UI), with women twice as likely to develop it as men. UI may be chronic or temporary and result from underlying pathological, anatomical, or physiological conditions within the urinary system or elsewhere in the body. Symptoms can range from the discomfort of slight urine loss to severe, frequent wetting. Incontinence is not an inevitable result of aging, and though common in older people, does occur in the young. It is often caused by specific changes in bladder structure and function that may result from disease, medications, and/or trauma or

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