Gregory Carter, MD, of Pisgah Urology, offers expert advice on urologic health problems in children, as seen in WNC Parent .
Most people associate the specialty of urology, and urologists, with the treatment of adults suffering from urinary, prostate, kidney stone or reproductive problems. However, children of all ages and infants through the teen years can also experience urologic health care problems.
The majority of children‘s urologic problems can be thoroughly evaluated and treated in the local community, including recurring urinary tract infections, bedwetting, overactive bladder with loss of bladder control, undescended testicle, groin hernias, penile deformities and, yes, kidney stones occur in children. Varicose veins of the testicle, known as a varicocele, occur in 15 percent of males, often first recognized in adolescence, and can cause infertility as well as chronic pain in the testicular area.
There are also children who are found to have congenital abnormalities of the kidneys, or malfunction of the valves that prevent reflux of urine backward from the bladder to the kidneys, which can cause long-term kidney damage.
Bedwetting and overactive bladder, with loss of daytime bladder control, can be successfully treated by eliminating caffeine, and with the use of medication. Undescended testicle (testicle not found in the scrotal sac), a cause of infertility and a contributor to testicular cancer, as well as hernias, varicocele and congenital penile deformities, can be corrected with outpatient surgery. Children with recurring urinary tract infections are evaluated to identify any underlying abnormality of the kidneys or bladder that may be causing the infections. If not, they can be treated with low-dose preventive antibiotics.
Structural abnormalities can be corrected surgically. Urinary reflux from the bladder to the kidneys can be a cause of recurring infections, as well as permanent kidney damage if reflux is severe. More severe degrees of reflux can be corrected surgically to protect the kidneys and kidney function.
Gregory Carter, MD, practices at Pisgah Urology, a practice of Transylvania Regional Hospital & Mission Health. (828) 883-5858