It can be a relief to know that surgery will not always be needed. Many urinary conditions and symptoms can be treated effectively using non-surgical means, including:
- Lifestyle changes – such as cutting down on caffeine and alcohol may help relieve symptoms
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises and/or bladder training may help with incontinence
- Prescribed medication – certain medicines such as antibiotics can be helpful when treating recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), stress incontinence, erectile dysfunction, or benign prostate enlargement (also referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia/BPH).
If non-surgical treatments are not able to relieve your symptoms or effectively treat your condition, surgery may be advised.
Cystoscopy is often used to examine the urethra and bladder for any abnormalities, such as a stone, a growth, a narrowing, or a blockage.
Many types of surgery within the urinary tract can be carried out with keyhole surgery (laparoscopy). Because this approach requires only small incisions in the skin, bleeding and pain is reduced, scarring is less visible, and recovery is often faster than for traditional “open” surgery.
Stones in the kidney or renal tract can be treated in several different ways, and your consultant will discuss suitable options with you once a diagnosis has been made. It is always important to investigate and treat stones when appropriate, because stones can end up causing damage to the kidney.
If cancer is found in the prostate, kidney, bladder, or testicles, treatment may be with surgery, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy. If referral to a specialist oncology team is needed, this will be arranged for you immediately.
A transurethral resection of a bladder tumour (TURBT) can establish the type of bladder tumour present, and superficial tumours can often be scraped away (‘resected’).
If prostate cancer is found not to have spread outside the prostate, complete removal of the prostate and seminal vesicles may be advised. This is known as a radical prostatectomy.
Testicular cancer will usually require the complete removal of the testicles (orchidectomy). An artificial prosthesis can be placed into the scrotum to give it a more natural appearance.
An enlarged prostate is a common problem in men, becoming more common with age. If the prostate becomes big enough to start pressing on the urethra, it can cause problems with urination. Surgery can be carried out to reduce its size. A trans-urethral resection of the prostate (TURP) involves the surgical removal of some prostate tissue to relieve the pressure on the urethra.
For issues affecting the male reproductive system, surgical options include circumcision, circumcision revision, vasectomy, and vasectomy reversal.