U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Urologic Disease

image of body with urologic organs highlightedUrologic diseases affect people of all ages, result in significant health care expenditures, and may lead to substantial disability and impaired quality of life. These disorders include urinary tract infections, kidney stones, urinary incontinence, and benign prostatic hyperplasia (an enlarged prostate). Interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS), a debilitating and painful disorder, affects an estimated 3.3 million women, and researchers estimate 1.6 million men have persistent urologic symptoms such as pain with bladder filling. Urinary incontinence is conservatively estimated to affect 13 million Americans, most of them 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 potential new treatments for kidney stones, such as shock-wave and laser therapy to break up stones.

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/PBS, 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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NIDDK investigators conduct biomedical research and training in the Institute's laboratories and clinical facilities in Maryland and Arizona.

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