What is pediatric urology?
Pediatric urology refers to the diagnosis and treatment of children’s urinary genital problems. Ergo, a pediatric urologist refers to a surgeon who diagnoses, treats and manages urological conditions in kids. It is common for kids to experience numerous urinary problems than adults and the necessary precautions and measures should be taken to minimize the risks. If your child is experiencing any genital disease including the ureter, bladder, and kidneys, you should consider taking him/her to a pediatric urologist.
Pediatric urologists are supposed to dedicate at least 75% of their urological practice to helping infants, adolescents, and children. These professionals are highly trained and experienced to offer reliable services to patients. Congenital problems (usually present at birth) are the common problems urologists encounter. Here are some of the training pediatric urologists undergo:
- 4 years of medical school (at least)
- Surgical residency (1-2 years)
- Residency training in general urology (at least 4 years)
- Additional fellowship training in pediatric urology (1-3 years)
Congenital problems are birth defects that affect the urethra, bladder or reproductive systems. Common examples include deformities of the urethra, ureters or kidney, undescended testicles or ureteropelvic junction obstruction.
Ureteropelvic junction obstruction is a condition that arises when the connection between the kidney and the ureter is blocked/obstructed thus making it hard for the patient to pass urine. The severity of these conditions can vary with some being life-threatening especially in young kids. Hence, getting the necessary help from a professional is highly recommended. In most cases, pediatric urologists rely on surgery (even at a young age) to fix the problem. The surgery helps most children develop normally and boost their esteem. If your child is experiencing any form of genital disorder or illness, seek professional help fast.
Non-congenital conditions occur as the child is growing up and they can be due to several reasons like infections. Chronic urinary tract infections are more prevalent in girls than boys i.e. 6% girls and 5% boys statistically. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause serious kidney damage and infections in kids and hence they should be treated fast. Also, the specialist should find out what causes these infections to prevent them from reoccurring.
A bladder fistula is another common problem that occurs when the bladder connects to the skin or any other organ in a way it shouldn’t. A bladder fistula is treated using routine surgery because it is not a serious problem. A pediatric urologist can treat kidney failure, cysts, and urinary tract cancer because they are all classified under pediatric urology.
How to choose a doctor
Choosing the right urologist is not easy because there are certain factors you should consider. For instance, since children feel uncomfortable dealing with a doctor, you should choose a pediatric urologist who has experience working with kids. If the urologist specializes in working with kids, that’s a bonus because he will help your kid deal with any discomfort or embarrassment while still reassuring you that he will relate well with your kid.
As a rule of thumb, if you have any close friends who have visited an experienced urologist lately, you should consider getting recommendations from them. Alternatively, you can on your pediatrician’s referral or check review websites to get a doctor who has a good reputation in your area.