AUA Summit - What is Urology?
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What is Urology?

Urology is a part of health care that deals with a lot of different body parts. This includes body parts that form the Urinary System and Male Reproductive System. If you have a problem with a body part in these two systems, you may need to see a urologist.

The Urinary System

Many of your body parts work with each other to form the Urinary System. Urine is taken out of the body if these parts work with each other in the right order. This allows normal urination to happen. For both men and women, the main parts of the system are Kidneys, Ureters, Bladder and Urethra. Urine is produced in the kidneys. It flows through tubes called ureters, and into the bladder. Urine leaves the body through the urethra.

How the Kidneys Work

The kidneys are fist-size organs that make urine. They are found on both sides of the spine behind the liver, stomach, pancreas and bowels. Healthy kidneys work like clockwork to turn extra water and waste into urine.

How the Ureters Work

Urine flows out of the kidneys and into the ureters. Ureters are thin tubes of muscle that connect the kidneys to the bladder. Ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

How the Bladder Works

The bladder is a hollow, balloon-shaped organ. It is mostly made of muscle. It stores urine until you are ready to go to the bathroom to release it. The bladder helps you urinate. The brain tells it to tighten and force the urine out.

How the Urethra Works

Urine leaves the body through a hollow tube connected to the bladder. This tube is called a urethra.

The Male Reproductive System

Many body parts work with each other to form the Male Reproductive System. The purpose is for each part to work in the right order so a male can have sex. During sex, you may be able to fertilize a woman's ovum (egg) and make a baby. Not all men are able to have sex, even if their Male Reproductive System works right.

How the Testicles Work

The testicles (also known as testes) are two golf ball size glands held in a sac (scrotum) below the penis. The testicles have a firm, slightly spongy feel. At the top and outside edge is a rubbery, tube-like structure called the epididymis. The firmness of the teste should be the same throughout. The size of the testicles should be about the same.

The testicles make male hormones. The most common hormone is testosterone, which controls the sex drive (libido). It also triggers the development of male traits, such as facial hair. The testicles also make sperm, the male reproductive cells, which travel through a group of tube-like structures to the epididymis. Sperm cells are then carried from the testicles by the vas deferens to the seminal vesicles, where they are mixed with fluid from the prostate gland.

How the Prostate Works

The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland inside the male body. The prostate sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate's main job is to help make fluid for semen to help protect and energize the sperm as they travel to the female egg.

How the Urethra Works

During ejaculation the sperm cells, seminal vesicle fluid and prostate fluid enter the urethra (the tube in the penis through which urine and seminal fluid leave the body).

How the Penis Works

The penis carries sperm out of the body. There are three tubes inside the penis. One is called the urethra. It is hollow and carries urine from the bladder through the penis to the outside. The other two tubes are called the corpora cavernosa. These are spongy tubes that are soft until filled with blood during an erection. The three tubes are wrapped together by a very tough fibrous sheath called the tunica albuginea.

During sex, the stiffness of the penis makes it hard enough to be inserted into the woman's vagina. In this case, the urethra acts as a tube for semen to be ejaculated into the vagina. When you ejaculate, seminal fluid and seminal vesicles mix with sperm to form semen. The semen travels through the urethra and comes out the end of your penis.

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