Urological symptoms can occur in the kidneys, bladder, prostate, testes, urethra and lower abdomen. Some symptoms may be mild, others severe and painful.
These can include:
- Pain in the kidney or loin
- Urinary symptoms such as hesitancy, frequency, urgency, passing urine at night, dribbling, urinary retention, blood in urine, burning sensations or strong odour
- Prostate pain
- Testicular pain, testicular lump, scrotal swelling, infertility
- Penile discharge, penile lumps, tight foreskin, erection problems
- Raised PSA
These can relate to both holding and passing urine. Symptoms related to holding urine include:
- Passing urine frequently (frequency)
- Having to pass urine in a hurry (urgency)
- Having to get up at night to pass urine (nocturia)
- Leaking urine (incontinence)
These symptoms are most commonly caused by a so-called overactive bladder, but can be caused by other problems, including urine infection, stones in the bladder, or tumours in the bladder. Nocturia can also be caused by a variety of other medical problems not related to the urinary tract, including heart conditions and kidney disease.
Symptoms related to passing urine include:
- Difficulty starting to pass urine (hesitancy)
- Passing urine slowly (poor stream)
- Passing urine in fits and starts (intermittency)
- Having to push or strain to pass urine (straining)
- Dribbling urine after passing urine (terminal dribbling)
- A feeling that the bladder is not empty after passing urine (incomplete emptying)
These symptoms are more common in men than in women and may be caused either by some form of blockage to drainage of the bladder, or when the bladder is not contracting strongly enough (poor bladder contractility). A blockage to drainage of the bladder in men is usually related to gradual enlargement of the prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH), but it may also occur if there is a narrowing in the water pipe (urethra) called a stricture, and sometimes in some men with prostate cancer. These symptoms can occur in women, and are then much more often due to poor bladder contractility, rather than a blockage to drainage of the bladder.
Generic Urological Symptoms
Blood in the urine (visible), Blood in the urine (invisible)
Visible blood in the urine can be caused by urine infection, an enlarged prostate gland (BPH), stones in the kidneys or bladder, kidney disease (such as nephritis), tumours in the kidneys, bladder or prostate, as well as many other occasional causes.
A trace of blood can be found in the urine by testing it either with a dipstick (a testing stick used to detect blood, sugar, and infection), or by examining urine under a microscope. A trace of blood in the urine can be caused by the same problems as visible blood in the urine, but the chance of a serious cause is less than if the blood in the urine is visible.
Pain in the kidney or loin area can have many different causes. The onset and type of pain are useful clues to the origin of the pain. Sudden onset loin pain may be caused by a stone in the urinary tract, blockage to the kidney by a blood clot or cancer, blockage to the outflow tract of the kidney (pelviureteric junction obstruction) and infection. There may also be disease to other organs in a similar region to the kidney, such as the major vessels in your body (the aorta), infection such as pneumonia or malaria or gynaecological disease such as a twisted ovarian cyst. Pain from elsewhere may also be referred to the loin area, such as spinal disease (eg prolapsed disc) or testicular disease (eg from sudden twisting of the testicle). Slow onset chronic pain may also be caused by cancer, infection and stone disease in the urinary tract. There maybe other non-urological causes for chronic loin pain such as cancer in the bowels or degenerative changes in the spine.
Difficulty emptying the bladder
A poor urinary flow can result in a long time to empty your bladder. Your urologist will determine if this because your bladder does not empty well (poor contractility) or because there is a blockage to the water pipe (the urethra). Causes for male urethral blockage include benign (non-cancerous) growth of the prostate and tightening of the urethra because of scar tissue (a urethral stricture). Causes in females include pelvic organ prolapse (a lump maybe palpable in the vagina) or a cystic pouch in the urethra (a urethral diverticulum).