Introduction:Problems with the bladder and urinary tract can be very diverse and sometimes confusing. The confusion often results from the terminology commonly used to describe a particular problem. To help avoid some of the confusion, the following definitions are beneficial:
Causative Agents/Clinical Signs: The above conditions can be caused by many different problems within the body. Some of these are listed below:
*Many of the above conditions can also be caused by bladder infections.
Diagnosis: The diagnosis of these problems involves several major areas:
- This may include palpation (handling) of the abdomen and bladder, a rectal exam, and a neurologic exam.
- Urine analysis (U/A) - See page D895 for additional information. Urine specimens may be obtained by catching a sample during normal urination (easiest, but poorest method for diagnostic purposes, especially in cases of cystitis), insertion of a catheter into the bladder through the urethra, or by cystocentesis. Cystocentesis is the insertion of a sterile needle through the body wall directly into the urinary bladder for the retrieval of a urine specimen. Cystocentesis is the method most likely to yield the most helpful results. This is especially true when a bacterial culture must be performed.
- Complete blood count (CBC) - See page D120 for additional information.
- Blood (serum) chemistry analysis - See page D80 for additional information.
- X-rays (radiograph) of the abdomen, kidneys and pelvis regions. Sometimes contrast material (dye or air) is placed into the urinary tract to allow a better view of important structures. See page D702.
- Ultrasound of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. See page D880 for additional information.
- Endoscopic exam of the bladder and lower urinary tract (cystoscopy, urethroscopy).
Treatment: The treatment can be as varied as the underlying problems which result in the various disorders. In general, the underlying cause for the urinary problem must be treated first. This treatment may include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, fluid therapy, insertion of a catheter into the bladder, hormone therapy, or surgery. Some nerve and muscle injuries require special medications, rest, and time before full function is achieved; however, in severe cases, full function may never return.