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    Source: National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse(NKUDIC)

    The following information is not copyrighted. The Clearinghouse encourages users of this publication to duplicate and distribute as desired.



    acute (uh-KYOOT):

    Acute often means urgent. An acute disease happens suddenly. It lasts a short time. Acute is the opposite of chronic, or long lasting.

    albuminuria (AL-byoo-mih-NOO-ree-uh):

    More than normal amounts of a protein called albumin in the urine. Albuminuria may be a sign of kidney disease.

    antidiuretic (AN-tee-DY-uh-RET-ik) hormone (ADH):

    A natural body chemical that slows down the production of urine. Some children who wet their beds regularly may lack normal amounts of antidiuretic hormone. Also called vasopressin.

    anuria (uh-NYOO-ree-uh):

    A condition in which the body stops making urine.


    balloon dilation (dy-LAY-shun):

    A treatment for benign prostatic hyperplasia or prostate enlargement. A tiny balloon is inflated inside the urethra to make it wider sourine can flow more freely from the bladder.

    benign (be-NINE) prostatic (prah-STAT-ik) hyperplasia (HY-per-PLAY-sha) (BPH):

    An enlarged prostate not caused by cancer. BPH can cause problems with urination because the prostate squeezes the urethra at the opening of the bladder.

    biopsy (BY-op-see):

    A procedure in which a tiny piece of a body part, such as the kidney or bladder, is removed for examination under a microscope.

    bladder (BLAD-ur):

    The balloon-shaped organ inside the pelvis that holds urine.

    bladder control:

    See continence. 

    blood urea (yoo-REE-uh) nitrogen (NY-truh-jen) (BUN):

    A waste product in the blood that comes from the breakdown of food protein. The kidneys filter blood to remove urea. As kidney function decreases, the BUN level increases.


    calcium (KAL-see-um):

    A mineral that the body needs for strong bones and teeth. Calcium may form stones in the kidney.

    catheter (KATH-uh-ter):

    A tube that is inserted through the urethra to the bladder to drain urine.

    chronic (KRAH-nik):

    Lasting a long time. Chronic diseases develop slowly. Chronic kidney disease may develop over many years and lead to end-stage renal disease.

    chronic prostatitis (PRAH-stah-TY-tis):

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

    collagen (KAHL-uh-jen):

    The major protein found in tissues, cartilage, and bones.

    collagen Injection

    Used to treat stress urinary incontinence.

    continence (KON-tih-nents):

    The ability to control the timing of urination or a bowel movement.

    cystine (SIS-teen) stone:

    A rare form of kidney stone consisting of the amino acid cystine.

    cystinuria (SIS-tih-NOO-ree-uh):

    A condition in which urine contains high levels of the amino acid cystine. If cystine does not dissolve in the urine, it can build up to form kidney stones.

    cystitis (sis-TY-tis):

    Inflammation of the bladder, causing pain and a burning feeling in the pelvis or urethra.

    cystocele (SIS-toh-seel):

    Fallen bladder. When the bladder falls or sags from its normal position down to the pelvic floor, it can cause either urinary leakage or urinary retention.

    cystometrogram (SIS-toh-MET-roh-gram):

    A line graph that records urinary bladder pressure at various volumes.

    cystoscope (SIS-toh-scope):

    A tube-like instrument used to look inside the bladder. The procedure is called cystoscopy (sis-TAH-skuh-pee).




    A synthetic form of antidiuretic hormone used to treat enuresis and diabetes insipidus.

    diabetes (dy-uh-BEE-teez) insipidus (in-SIP-ih-dus):

    A disease of the pituitary gland or kidney. The signs of diabetes insipidus are a need to drink and urinate often and a feeling of weakness. However, blood glucose (sugar) levels are normal. (See also nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.)

    diabetes (dy-uh-BEE-teez) mellitus (MELL-ih-tus):

    A condition characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) resulting from the body's inability to use glucose efficiently. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin; in type 2 diabetes, the body is resistant to the effects of available insulin.



    enuresis (EN-yoo-REE-sis):

    Urinary incontinence not caused by a physical disorder.

    erectile (ee-REK-tile) dysfunction (dis-FUNK-shun):

    The inability to get or maintain an erection for satisfactory sexual intercourse. Also called impotence.

    erection (ee-REK-shun):

    Enlargement and hardening of the penis caused by increased blood flow into the penis and decreased blood flow out of it as a result of sexual excitement.

    extracorporeal (EKS-truh-kor-POR-ee-ul) shockwave lithotripsy (LITH-oh-TRIP-see) (ESWL):

    A nonsurgical procedure using shock waves to break up kidney stones.



    genitals (JEN-ih-tuls):

    Sex organs, including the penis and testicles in men and the vagina and vulva in women.



    hematuria (HEE-muh-TOOR-ee-uh):

    Blood in the urine, which can be a sign of a kidney stone or other urinary problem.

    hormone (HOR-mone):

    A natural chemical produced in one part of the body and released into the blood to trigger or regulate particular functions of the body.Antidiuretic hormone tells the kidneys to slow down urine production.

    hydronephrosis (HY-droh-nef-ROH-sis):

    Swelling at the top of the ureter, usually because something is blocking the urine from flowing into or out of the bladder.

    hypercalciuria (HY-per-kal-see-YOO-ree-uh):

    Abnormally large amounts of calcium in the urine.

    hyperoxaluria (HY-per-ox-uh-LOO-ree-uh):

    Unusually large amounts of oxalate in the urine, leading to kidney stones.

    hypospadias (HY-poh-SPAY-dee-us):

    A birth defect in which the opening of the urethra, called the urinary meatus, is on the underside of the penis instead of at the tip.



    immune (im-YOON) system:

    The body's system for protecting itself from viruses and bacteria or any "foreign" substances.

    immunosuppressant (im-YOON-oh-suh-PRESS-unt):

    A drug given to suppress the natural responses of the body's immune system. Immunosuppressants are given to transplant patients to prevent organ rejection and to patients with autoimmune diseases like lupus.

    impotence (IM-puh-tents):

    See erectile dysfunction.

    incontinence (in-KON-tih-nents):

    Loss of bladder or bowel control; the accidental loss of urine or feces.

    interstitial (IN-ter-STISH-ul) cystitis (sis-TY-tis) (IC):

    A disorder that causes the bladder wall to become swollen and irritated, leading to scarring and stiffening of the bladder, decreased bladder capacity, and, in rare cases, ulcers in the bladder lining. IC is also known as painful bladder syndrome.

    intravenous (IN-truh-VEE-nus) pyelogram (PY-loh-gram):

    An x-ray of the urinary tract. A dye is injected to make urine visible on the x-ray and show any blockage in the urinary tract.


    Kegel (KEE-gul) exercises:

    Tightening and relaxing the muscles that hold urine in the bladder and hold the bladder in its proper position. These exercises can improve a woman's ability to hold in her urine.

    kidney stone:

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

    kidneys (KID-neez):

    The two bean-shaped organs that filter wastes from the blood. The kidneys are located near the middle of the back. They create urine, which is delivered to the bladder through tubes called ureters.



    lithotripsy (LITH-oh-TRIP-see):

    A method of breaking up kidney stones using shock waves or other means.



    nephrogenic (NEF-roh-JEN-ik) diabetes (DY-uh-BEE-teez) insipidus (in-SIP-ih-dus):

    Constant thirst and frequent urination because the kidney tubules cannot respond to antidiuretic hormone. The result is an increase in urine formation and excessive urine flow.

    nephrolithiasis (NEF-roh-lih-THY-uh-sis):

    The medical term for kidney stones.

    nephrotic (nef-RAH-tik) syndrome:

    A collection of symptoms that indicate kidney damage. Symptoms include high levels of protein in the urine, lack of protein in the blood, and high blood cholesterol.

    neurogenic (NEW-roh-JEN-ik) bladder:

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

    nuclear (NEW-klee-ur) scan:

    A test of the structure, blood flow, and function of the kidneys. The doctor injects a mildly radioactive solution into an arm vein and uses x-rays to monitor its progress through the kidneys.



    overactive bladder:

    A condition in which the patient experiences at least two of the following conditions:

    • urinary urgency
    • urge incontinence
    • urinary frequency—defined for this condition as urination more than seven times a day or more than twice at night.

    oxalate (AHK-suh-late):

    A chemical that combines with calcium in urine to form the most common type of kidney stone (calcium oxalate stone).



    painful bladder syndrome:

    See interstitial cystitis.

    pelvic (PELL-vik) floor muscles:

    Muscles that support the bladder.


    pelvis (PELL-vis):

    The bowl-shaped bone that supports the spine and holds up the digestive, urinary, and reproductive organs. The legs connect to the body at the pelvis.

    penis (PEE-nis):

    The male organ used for urination and sex.

    percutaneous (PER-kyoo-TAY-nee-us) nephrolithotomy (NEF-roh-lih-THAH-tuh-mee):

    A method for removing kidney stones via keyhole surgery through the back.

    pessary (PESS-uh-ree):

    A specially designed object worn in the vagina to hold the bladder in its correct position and prevent leakage of urine. Pessaries come in many shapes and sizes.

    Peyronie's (pay-ROH-neez) 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.

    prostate (PRAH-state):

    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 (AN-tih-jen) (PSA):

    A protein made only by the prostate gland. High levels of PSA in the blood may be a sign of prostate cancer.

    prostatitis (PRAH-stuh-TY-tis):

    Inflammation of the prostate gland. Chronic prostatitis means the prostate gets inflamed over and over again. The most common form of prostatitis is not associated with any known infecting organism.

    proteinuria (PRO-tee-NOOR-ee-uh):

    A condition in which the urine contains large amounts of protein, a sign that the kidneys are not functioning properly.

    pyelonephritis (PY-loh-nef-RY-tis):

    An infection of the kidneys, usually caused by a germ that has traveled up through the urethra, bladder, and ureters from outside the body.



    sphincter (SFINK-tur):

    A round muscle that opens and closes to let fluid or other matter pass into or out of an organ. Sphincter muscles keep the bladder closed until it is time to urinate.

    stress urinary (YOOR-ih-NEHR-ee) incontinence (in-KON-tih-nents):

    Leakage of urine caused by actions—such as coughing, laughing, sneezing, running, or lifting—that place pressure on the bladder from inside the body. Stress urinary incontinence can result from either a cystocele (fallen bladder) or weak sphincter muscles.

    struvite (STROO-vite) stone:

    A type of kidney stone caused by infection.



    transurethral (TRANZ-yoo-REE-thrul):

    Through the urethra. Several transurethral procedures are treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia:

    • TUIP (transurethral incision of the prostate): widens the urethra by making a few small cuts in the bladder neck, where the urethra joins the bladder, and in the prostate gland itself.
    • TUMT (transurethral microwave thermotherapy): destroys excess prostate tissue interfering with the exit of urine from the body by using a probe in the urethra to deliver microwaves.
    • TUNA (transurethral needle ablation): destroys excess prostate tissue with electromagnetically generated heat by using a needle-like device in the urethra.
    • TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate): removes the excess prostate tissue by using an instrument with an electrical loop.



    A technique that bounces safe, painless sound waves off organs to create an image of their structure.

    urea (yoo-REE-uh):

    A waste product found in the blood and caused by the breakdown of protein in the liver. Urea is normally removed from the blood by the kidneys and then excreted in the urine.

    ureteroscope (yoo-REE-tur-uh-scope):

    A tool for examining the bladder and ureters and for removing kidney stones through the urethra.


    ureteroscopy (you-ree-tur-AH-skoh-pee):

    The procedure employing a ureteroscope.

    ureters (YOOR-uh-turs):

    Tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

    urethra (yoo-REE-thrah):

    The tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

    urethral (yoo-REE-thrahl) obstruction:

    A blockage in the urethra. A kidney stone is the most common cause.

    urethritis (yoo-ree-THRY-tis):

    Inflammation of the urethra.

    urge urinary incontinence:

    Urinary leakage when the bladder contracts unexpectedly by itself.

    uric (YOOR-ik) acid stone:

    kidney stone that may result from a diet high in animal protein.

    urinalysis (yoor-in-AL-ih-sis):

    A test of a urine sample that can reveal many problems of the urinary tract and other body systems. The sample may be observed for color; cloudiness; concentration; signs of drug use; chemical composition, including glucose; the presence of protein, blood cells, or germs; or other signs of disease.

    urinary (YOOR-ih-NEHR-ee) frequency:

    Urination eight or more times a day.

    urinary tract:

    The system that takes wastes from the blood and carries them out of the body in the form of urine. The urinary tract includes the kidneysuretersbladder, andurethra.

    urinary tract infection (UTI):

    An illness caused by harmful bacteria growing in the urinary tract.

    urinary urgency:

    Inability to delay urination.

    urinate (YOOR-ih-nate):

    To release urine from the bladder to the outside.

    urine (YOOR-in):

    Liquid waste product filtered from the blood by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and expelled from the body through the urethra by the act of voiding or urinating.

    urodynamic (YOOR-oh-dy-NAM-ik) tests:

    Measures of the bladder's ability to hold and release urine.

    uroflow test:

    Measurement of the rate at which urine flows out of the body. A lower than normal rate can indicate obstruction.

    urolithiasis (YOOR-oh-lih-THY-uh-sis):

    Stones in the urinary tract.

    urostomy (yoor-OSS-toh-mee):

    An opening through the skin into the urinary tract to allow urine to drain when voiding through the urethra is not possible.



    vagina (vah-JY-nah):

    The tube in a woman's body that runs beside the urethra and connects the womb (uterus) to the outside of the body. Sometimes called the birth canal.


    See antidiuretic hormone.

    vesicoureteral (VESS-ih-koh-yoo-REE-ter-ul) reflux:

    An abnormal condition in which urine backs up into the ureters and occasionally into the kidneys, raising the risk of infection.


    To urinate, empty the bladder.

    voiding cystourethrogram (SIS-toh-yoo-REE-throh-gram) (VCUG):

    An x-ray image of the bladder and urethra made during voiding. The bladder and urethra are filled with a special fluid to make the urethra clearly visible.