U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Urologic Disease

image of body with urologic organs highlightedUrologic diseases, disorders, and conditions affect people of all ages, result in significant health care expenditures, and may lead to substantial disability and impaired quality of life. Non-cancer (benign) urologic health problems include urinary tract infections, kidney stones, urinary incontinence, and benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate). Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS), a debilitating and painful condition, affects an estimated 3.3 million women, and researchers estimate 1.6 million men have chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS) consisting of urologic symptoms such as pain with bladder filling. Based upon national public health surveys conducted over several years, it is estimated that 1 in 10 U.S. adults (18 years of age and older) suffer from daily urinary incontinence; most of those affected are women. Many suffer in silence due to embarrassment and lack of knowledge about available treatment options.

NIDDK supports research on the normal and abnormal development, structure, function, and injury repair of the genitourinary tract. NIDDK-supported researchers have identified a potential new treatment approach for urinary tract infections, and are investigating new treatments for kidney stones.  The newly established Prevention of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms in Women research consortium will define bladder health and establish the scientific basis for future prevention intervention studies for lower urinary tract symptoms and conditions in women and girls.

NIDDK-supported studies over the past several years have helped to advance knowledge about the efficacy of surgical treatment of urinary incontinence, as well as provide new insights into non-surgical alternatives.

For patients with IC/BPS, NIDDK-funded researchers are focusing on understanding the causes of the disorder, identifying “biomarkers” to help in diagnosis, and improving treatment options.

The NIDDK’s National Urologic Disease Information Clearinghouse provides information about urologic disease to people with urologic disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. The Clearinghouse provides online resources, publications, and answers inquiries by phone and email.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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