• Glossary

    This glossary has been developed by the pediatric urology team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. It provides you with some words you may hear during your child’s evaluation and treatment.

  • Ambiguous genitalia
    The external genital organs do not appear clearly male or female or have features of both sexes.

    Bacteria found in the urine without any symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI). See also urinary tract infection

    Bladder augmentation
    A surgical procedure to increase the size of the bladder using a piece of the patient’s own tissue such as the stomach, small bowel or the colon.

    Bladder exstrophy
    A malformation in which the bladder is located on the outside of the body. In addition, there may be abnormalities of the abdominal skin and wall, pelvic bones and genitalia.

    Buried penis
    A penis that is concealed or hidden below the surface of the pubic skin. A normal sized penis that is concealed may easily be exposed by gently pressing down on the fat pad that surrounds the penis or by gently pulling on the shaft of the penis.

    An abnormal curvature of the penis that is most apparent on erection. Learn more.

    A surgical procedure to remove the foreskin of the penis. Learn more.

    Cloacal anomaly
    A complicated birth defect in which the vagina, the rectum, and urinary tract merge to drain out of one common channel or opening on to the skin.

    Cloacal exstrophy
    A complicated condition in which the bladder and bowel are joined and located outside of the body because the abdominal wall does not close properly during development.  Often the external genitalia of both males and females are affected, requiring surgical repair.

    Continent cecostomy (Malone) 
    A surgically created tube leading from the start of the large bowel (cecum) to the outside abdominal wall. This tube allows an enema (irrigation) to be inserted into the bowel from above so that the whole bowel can be cleansed of stool.

    An infection of the bladder often with signs of frequency, urgency and burning with urination.

    Disorders of sexual development (DSD)
    Birth defects where either the internal or external genitals do not have the typical appearance or function. These conditions can result from disorders in the development of the chromosomes, the gonads (testes or ovaries) or the genital anatomy (penis, scrotum, clitoris, vagina or uterus). Disorders of sex development involve congenital development of ambiguous genitalia (external genitals that are not well formed and may have the appearance of both genders); congenital lack of coordination between the internal and external sexual anatomy – the internal reproductive ducts do not match the external genitals; incomplete development of the genital anatomy; abnormalities of the sex chromosomes; and disorders of gonad (testes or ovary) development.

    Diurnal enuresis
    The lack of control of urine or the involuntary loss of urine during the waking hours (usually during the day time). Learn more.

    Enuresis / urinary incontinence
    The lack of control of urine or the involuntary loss of urine at an age when voluntary control should be present. The age of voluntary control varies from child to child. See also definitions for nocturnal enuresis and diurnal enuresis.

    An inflammation of the epididymis (a tube attached to the testicle where sperm is stored).

    A developmental defect of the urethra and genitals where the opening of the penis urethra is located at any point along the top side of the penis.

    Frequency of urination
    A strong desire to urinate at short time intervals, for example every 15 minutes.

    The swelling or dilatation of the kidney due to blockage somewhere in the urinary tract.

    A common defect of the penis where the opening of the penis is not located at the normal tip of the penis. Instead, the opening of the urethra can be found anywhere along the underside length as low as the scrotum. Learn more.

    Inguinal hernia
    A portion of the bowel passes through an open inguinal channel toward the scrotum. In fetal development, the testicles descend from the abdomen to the scrotum through an opening in the inguinal channel. If this opening fails to close or the opening re-opens, part of the intestine can move into the scrotum resulting in an inguinal hernia. An infant or child with inconsolable crying or vomiting with a known hernia that does not go back into place should seek immediate medical care.

    A congenital condition that affects the formation of the external genitalia such that the appearance of the genitalia is not clearly male or female. (See DSD)

    Meatal stenosis
    A narrowing of the opening of the urethra at the tip of the penis often affecting the flow of urine.

    A continent, catheterizable tube, leading from the bladder to the outside abdominal wall. A mitrofanoff is often surgically created with the appendix, but may also be constructed with a portion of small bowel or with a ureter.

    Neurogenic bladder
    A loss of bladder function caused by nerve damage resulting in the inability of the bladder to store and or empty urine normally.

    Neurogenic bowel
    A loss of bowel function caused by damage to the nerves that control the ability to eliminate stool from the body.

    Nocturnal enuresis
    The lack of control of urine or the involuntary loss of urine at night during sleep (bedwetting). Learn more.

    Posterior urethral valve
    A congenital obstruction of the male urethra caused by an extra flap of tissue in the urethra  that prevents normal flow of urine from the bladder. 

    An infection of the kidney, often with signs of back pain, fever and vomiting.

    An urgent medical condition in which the testicle twists in the scrotal sac resulting in a lack of circulating blood to the testicle. This twisting can often cause severe pain and loss of the testicle if not treated within four hours upon the onset of pain.   The main symptom of testicular torsion is a sudden onset of pain in the scrotum.  If this condition occurs, seek immediate care for this symptom.

    Undescended testicle (cryptorchidism)
    A condition in which one or both testes have not moved down into the scrotal sac.

    Ureteropelvic junction obstruction (UPJ)
    A blockage of urine flow from the kidney into the ureter.

    Urethral stricture
    A narrowing of the tube that drains urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

    Urgency of urination
    A strong desire to urinate.

    Urinary tract infection (UTI)
    An infection that can occur in any part of the urinary system such as the bladder or kidneys.  A UTI can be present with or without signs or symptoms of frequency, urgency, burning with urination, abdominal pain, back pain or fever. The only way to diagnosis a UTI is with a urine culture. A urine culture may take up to 48 hours for results.

    Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR)
    The backward flow of urine from the bladder up the ureter and sometimes into the kidney. Grades I & II are considered low-grade reflux, Grades III & IV are considered mid-range reflux and Grade V is considered high-grade reflux.