By Dr. Boyd Winslow
It’s surprising to many that children might require the services of a urologist. The common impression of a urological patient is the man with an enlarged prostate gland or the adult with painful kidney stones. The reality, however, is that a wide array of urological conditions affect the urinary tracts and genital systems of infants, children and adolescents.
Because a child’s anatomy differs from an adult’s anatomy, and because some urological conditions are specific to children, optimal treatment for these young patients requires the expertise of a pediatric urologist. These specialists have extensive training in surgery, general urology and pediatric urology, and can confidently manage the diagnostic evaluation, clinical care and sometimes demanding surgical procedures a child often needs.
Certain childhood urological disorders are congenital-mandating immediate care for a newborn, or even the fetus, in certain circumstances. Many pediatric urology referrals come from obstetricians seeking guidance. Other abnormalities with which a child is born can be managed by a pediatric urologist after birth. These include kidney obstructions, bladder obstructions, and abnormalities of genital and urinary system formation. Some abnormalities, like undescended testicles and hypospadias, are common, while others, like bladder exstrophy, are rare.
Additionally, pediatric urologists treat problems that are not congenital, but are acquired at some point during childhood. Conditions can range from toilet-training and bedwetting problems to circumcision complications, urinary infections and even testicular cancer.
Clearly, having a child become ill and require medical or surgical treatment is a stressful experience for parents and children alike. Working with a specialist physician who not only understands the medical complexities, but also possesses a pediatric bedside manner, can be a great comfort. Urologic conditions can be sensitive problems for children. They may be in pain. They may feel they are not in control of their bodies. They may feel embarrassed. A pediatric urologist will recognize these concerns and can assuage the fears of a young patient. And for parents, there’s the reassurance that the practitioner delivering care has devoted his or her career to making children’s lives better.
If you would like more information regarding pediatric urology and urological conditions affecting children, please contact Children’s Urology of Virginia at 804.272.2411 or at www.childrensurologyofvirginia.com.