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The genitourinary system comprises the organs and structures involved in reproduction and the formation and excretion of urine and performs important functions related to the elimination of the body’s waste products and maintenance of a homeostatic environment, as well as functions related to reproduction.1,* The kidneys are also involved in regulating the production of red blood cells, metabolizing hormones, and maintaining the acid-base balance of the blood.2 Furthermore, part of normal kidney function requires an unrestricted urine flow out of the body. Figure 7–1 shows the female and male urinary systems. Table 7–1 shows the common signs and symptoms of urological dysfunction. Table 7–2 summarizes the conditions discussed in this chapter.


Female (A) and male (B) urinary system. (Reproduced with permission from McAninch JW, Lue TF. Smith & Tanagho’s General Urology, 18th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, 2013. Figure 1–1 and Figure 1–2.)

TABLE 7–1Common signs and symptoms of urological dysfunction.
TABLE 7–2Selected genitourinary conditions.

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High-Yield Terms to Learn
Adjuvant therapy Treatment that is given in addition to the main treatment. In cancer, these are interventions done after surgery (usually chemotherapy and/or radiation) to remove all malignancies and/or prevent reoccurrence.
Androgen Male hormone; increased levels of androgen may stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) Enlargement of the prostate gland in men.
Costovertebral angle The angle formed on either side of the vertebral column between the last rib and the lumbar vertebrae. Tenderness in this region is indicative of renal disease.
Cystitis Infection of the bladder.
Dyspareunia Pain during sexual intercourse.
Flatus Gas or air in the gastrointestinal tract expelled through the anus.
Hematuria Blood in the urine.
Nocturia Increased or unusual need to urinate at night time.
Overactive bladder or urge incontinence Results from the sudden contraction of the detrusor muscle, ...

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