What are common diseases of the Urinary System?

There are a variety of diseases that attack the bladder and kidneys. Both are organs, which help remove toxins from the body in healthy individuals. Yet they are both susceptible to infection and cancer. Here’s an explanation of some diseases of the urinary system.

The Urinary System

The urinary system is your body’s natural sewage system. It consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and canal. The kidneys filter waste from the blood into urine and also produce certain hormones that help regulate blood pressure and blood oxygen levels. The two tubes are called the ureters to connect your kidneys to your bladder. Your bladder stores urine until you are ready to release it. Finally, the urethra carries urine from your bladder out of your body.

Common diseases of the urinary system

You’re probably familiar with one of the most common diseases of the urinary system, which is cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, 1 in every 7 men and 1 in every 8 women will develop bladder cancer.

Many diseases can affect the urinary system, but here are a few of the most common:

Urologic Cancer:

Urologic cancer starts in any organ of the urinary system. While it is not unusual for cancer to occur at any age, it is more common in older adults. Men are more likely than women to develop urologic cancers and African-American men have the highest risk for prostate cancer.

Symptoms may include abdominal or pelvic pain, frequent urination, blood in the urine or semen and pain during urination or ejaculation.

Treatment for urologic cancer depends on the stage, location and type of cancer but typically includes surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy as well as hormone therapy or biological therapy which uses drugs made from living organisms to attack cancer cells.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs):

Urinary tract infections (also known as UTIs) are bacterial infections that occur in any part of the urinary system.

Symptoms include pain or burning during urination, frequent urination, and cloudy urine. It depends on where the infection occurs but may include fever, chills or pain in the lower abdomen or low back.

Treatment includes antibiotics or a procedure to clean out the bladder using a catheter or other device.

Kidney disease or renal disease:

Kidney disease or renal disease is damage to the kidneys caused by a variety of conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure.

Symptoms include decreasing urine production, fatigue, swelling in hands and feet, elevated blood pressure and anaemia.

Treatment includes medication to control blood pressure and reduce protein in the urine, increasing water intake to flush out waste products from the kidney filtering units, cutting back on salt intake, dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Interstitial Cystitis:

Interstitial cystitis is a chronic inflammation of the bladder wall that can cause pelvic pain and an urgent need to urinate. It affects more women than men.

Treatment usually involves dietary changes and medications to relieve pain or treat underlying conditions such as depression or anxiety.

Lupus:

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect many different parts of the body, including the kidneys and bladder.

Symptoms include inflamed or discoloured urine, difficulty urinating, cramps or pain while urinating, and frequent urination.

Treatment consists of anti-inflammatory medications to reduce symptoms and limit flare-ups.

Kidney stones:

Minerals in the urine crystallize in your kidneys and form into stones that can cause a lot of pain when they pass out of your body in your urine (also called passing a kidney stone).

Symptoms include Sharp, stabbing pain on one side of your lower back and abdomen, along with nausea and vomiting.

Treatment may include drinking lots of water to help pass small stones naturally or having medications or surgery to remove large stones.

Kidney infections:

A kidney infection occurs when bacteria from another part of the body spreads to the kidneys and causes an infection.

Symptoms include pain in your back or side below your ribs, frequent urination (often with a strong, uncomfortable urge), bloody or cloudy urine, fever or chills.

Treatment usually involves antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection.

Prostate enlargement:

As men age, their prostate gland begins to grow larger and presses on the urethra, making it difficult to urinate.

Treatment usually involves medication or surgery depending on severity.

Kidney failure:

Kidney failure can occur as a result of many conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and even genetics. It occurs when your kidneys stop working at all or partially.

Symptoms include frequent urination, swelling in the hands, feet, and ankles, and anaemia.

Treatment usually involves dialysis, which cleans your blood for you when your kidneys can’t do it on their own.

Bladder cancer:

Bladder cancer occurs when cells in the urinary system mutate and start spreading rapidly to other parts of the body.

Symptoms include blood or blood clots in urine, frequent urination, pain while urinating, or back pain.

Treatment usually involves a range from surgery to chemotherapy.

Renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer):

Kidney cancer is caused by tumours growing in one or both kidneys, which can cause fluid build-up in the lungs or abdomen, as well as weight loss, fatigue, and pain in the side.

Symptoms include swollen hands and/or feet, weight loss for no reason, fever for no reason, and more.

Treatment usually involves surgery to remove the kidney tumour.

Few different diseases that can affect the kidneys

There are a few different diseases that can affect the kidneys, but in general, they have similar symptoms:

  • All kidney problems can cause swelling in the body, due to the kidney’s inability to remove excess fluid from the blood.
  • When the kidneys don’t work properly, protein is secreted into the urine. This can lead to anaemia, which causes tiredness and weakness.
  • The risk of developing high blood pressure is increased by 30% when you have kidney disease.
  • If left untreated, kidney disease can be fatal.