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The Cook Children's urology/genitourinary team specializes in providing advanced care for newborns, infants, children, teens, and young adults with acquired or congenital urologic and genitourinary ailments. We treat a wide variety of conditions, some of them very rare.
Depending on the type of disease or disorder your child is diagnosed with, they may come to us for a single treatment or, if they require a lifetime of attention, become part of our GREAT Kids family. Our Urology/Genitourinary Center doctors specialize in pediatric conditions. That means they are not only experts in even the most rare conditions and treatments, they also understand the unique requirements for treating those conditions in developing bodies. To help you and your child better understand genitourinary issues, we've provided information on some of the most common conditions we see. Learn how we diagnose them, what causes them, who gets them, and–most importantly, how our specialists treat them.
Ambiguous genitalia is often a sign of one of several conditions categorized as a disorder of sex development – often referred to as a DSD.
Bladder Exstrophy and Epispadias
Bladder exstrophy is congenital defect where the bladder pokes outside the belly. The bladder also forms inside out and is open to the abdominal wall. The condition can affect parts of the lower urinary tract, which is called epispadias.
Cloacal exstrophy is a severe birth defect of the lower abdominal organs. A baby with cloacal exstrophy is born with several abdominal structures outside of the body, including the bladder and part of the large intestine.
Concealed/Buried Penis and Chordee
Penile chordee is curvature of the penis that can affect a boy's ability to point his urine stream or in some cases can cause difficulty with sexual function later in life.
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, or CAH, is an inherited genetic disorder that affects the adrenal glands and can affect the production of three hormones – cortisol, aldosterone and androgen.
Hydronephrosis is a condition in which a baby's urine doesn't flow like it should through the urinary system. Urine can back up into the kidneys and cause swelling. Ultrasounds can reveal hydronephrosis before birth. Sometimes doctors discover it after birth.
Hypospadias happens in boys when the urethra (the tube where urine leaves the body) opens on the underside of the penis instead of the tip.
Neurogenic bladder means that a child doesn’t have full bladder control because of a brain, spinal cord or nerve problem caused by issues such as spina bifida, spinal cord injuries, and certain tumors and infections.
Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin from the penis and the procedure can be done in our office in most cases. The decision to circumcise your son is a personal and family decision.
Penile adhesions occur when part of the penis skin is stuck to the head of the penis. They are present in all uncircumcised boys and usually separate naturally over time.
Phimosis is when the top of the foreskin of the penis becomes progressively tighter and cannot be retracted over the head of the penis.
Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
Many children get urinary tract infections (UTIs), but some kids get UTIs repeatedly; these are called recurrent UTIs. If not treated, UTIs can cause complication. That's why it's important your child's doctor monitors and evaluates UTIs if they seem to happen often with your child.
Renal Stones (Kidney Stones)
Renal stones – more commonly called kidney stones – develop when a collection of minerals normally found in the urine form a small “stone” in the urinary tract. The stone – actually a crystal – can cause pain, block urine flow and, in rare cases, cause long-term kidney problems if it is not recognized and treated promptly.
Some babies are born with a neural tube defect called spina bifida. A baby has spina bifida when the bones of the spine – the vertebrae – don't form properly around the spinal cord. The result can be a mild or severe form of the condition.
Testicular torsion occurs when the spermatic cord twists, cutting off blood supply to the testicle. Testicular torsion can occur in boys of any age. It can be caused by injury to the testicle, vigorous activity and sleep.
Urinary incontinence is when a child loses bladder control, causing urinary accidents. It can range from minor leakage to completely emptying the bladder. Children can experience daytime incontinence, nighttime incontinence or both.
Undescended Testicle (Cryptorchidism)
Boys' testicles develop in the abdomen prior to birth and typically descend to their normal position in the scrotum before birth. When a testicle cannot be found in the scrotum, it is considered undescended.
UPJ (Ureteropelvic Junction) Obstruction
UPJ obstruction is when the ureter, a tube which carries urine from the kidney to the bladder, is blocked at the point it connects to the kidney. This causes urine to back up in the kidney leading to hydronephrosis.
A varicocele is a dilation of the veins leading to the testicle and they usually become noticeable during puberty.
Vesicoureteral reflux, or VUR, is the backward flow of urine from the bladder into the kidneys. VUR carries bacteria present in the urine in the bladder to the kidneys. This can lead to infection, scarring and damage to the kidney. This backward flow can put pressure on the kidney, which also can contribute to kidney damage.
If your child has been diagnosed, you probably have lots of questions. We can help. If you would like to schedule an appointment, refer a patient or speak to our staff, please call our offices.