Compiled by Janet Bilicki.

Acute Pain

Sudden or Severe pain. Symptoms appear, change or worsen rapidly. Severe pain, as may follow surgery or trauma.


A sour substance. Reacts to a base to form a salt.

Amino Acids

A group of chemical compounds that forms the basic structural units of all proteins. There are 20 different amino acids that make up all the proteins in humans. Of these, 12 can be made by the body, because they do not need to be obtained from the diet. The other eight, the essential amino acids, cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from the diet. The 20 amino acids that make up proteins also occur free within cells and in body fluids. In addition, there are more than 200 other amino acids that are not found in proteins but which play an important part in chemical reactions within cells.


A drug that relieves pain.


Absence of symptoms. An illness or condition may be present without recognizable symptoms.


A stone that has formed or is present in the kidneys, ureters, or bladder, caused by precipitation from a solution of substances in urine.


A flexible tube used either for draining fluid from or injecting fluid into the kidney.

Cat scan

A diagnostic technique in which the combined use of a computer and x-rays passed through the body at different angles produces clear cross sectional images of the tissue being examined.Cat scanning provides clearer and more detailed information than x-rays used by themselves

Chemical Analysis

Check ketones, sugar protein and blood.

Chronic Pain

Pain that continues or recurs over a prolonged period, caused by various diseases or abnormal conditions.


A substance formed from the metabolism of creatine, commonly found in blood, urine, and muscle tissue.


A non essential amino acid found in many proteins in the body, including keratin and insulin. Cystine is a product of the oxidation of two cysteine molecules.

Cystine Stones

Stones formed from the amino acid cysteine.


An inherited metabolic kidney disorder characterized by stones in the kidney, ureter, and bladder; caused by excessive excretion of certain amino acids (protein building blocks) because of genetic abnormality. The Kidneys do not adequately reabsorb certain amino acids during the filtering process, resulting in excess excretion of these amino acids.


Inflammation of the inner lining of the bladder, caused by an infection that is usually due to bacteria.


The examination of the urethra and bladder cavity using a cystoscope (viewing tube inserted up the urethra).

Cystourethrogram, (Voiding) (VCUG)

An x-ray procedure for studying a person’s bladder while he or she is urinating. A catheter is inserted into the urethra and passed through the bladder. A contract is injected through the catheter.


Excessive loss of water from the body tissues. Dehydration is accompanied by a disturbance in the balance of essential electrolytes, particularly sodium, potassium and chloride. Dehydration may follow prolonged fever, diarrhea, vomiting, acidosis, any condition in which there is rapid depletion of body fluids.


Identification of a disease or condition.

Diagnostic Radiology

Medical imaging using external sources of radiation.


An illuminated optic instrument for the visualization of the interior of a body cavity or organ.


Examination of a body cavity by means of an endoscope, a tube like instrument with lenses and a light source attached.

Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (ESWL)

A procedure which shatters kidney stones into fragments so small they can pass through the ureter and the bladder where they finally leave the body via the urethra when a person urinates.

Foley Catheter

The most common type of catheter which is used to drain urine from the bladder.


The study of inheritance. How the characteristics of living organisms are passed from one generation to another, the chemical basis by which such characteristics are determined, and the cause of the similarities and differences among individuals. Genetics includes the study of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the substance in cells that determines the characteristics of an organism, and of genes, which are units of inheritance corresponding to specific bits of DNA.


A localized collection of blood (usually clotted) caused by bleeding from a ruptured blood vessel. A hematoma may occur almost anywhere in the body and, depending on the site and amount of accumulated blood, may vary in seriousness from a minor to a potentially fatal disorder.


Abnormal presence of blood in the urine.


Distention of the pelvis and calyces of the kidney by urine that cannot flow past an obstruction in a ureter.


A common, often asymptomatic disorder characterized by elevated blood pressure exceeding 140/90. A person with hypertension has a high blood pressure at rest.


Without a known cause.

Intravenous (IV)

A term meaning within a vein.


An invasive medical procedure is one in which body tissues are penetrated by an instrument.

Intra Venous Pyelogram (IVP)

A procedure for obtaining x-ray pictures of the urinary system. The technique involves the introduction of a radioopaque, codine-based dye into the kidneys, ureters, and bladder so that they show up well on x-rays. Pyelography is performed to help diagnose disorders of the urinary system.


The organ responsible for filtering the blood and excreting waste products and excess water in the form of urine.


A device that produces a concentrated beam of light radiation; laser is an abbreviation for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.

Laser Treatment

The use of laser beam in a variety of medical procedures. Treatment with low-intensity beams stimulates tissue healing and reduces pain, inflammation, and swelling. High-intensity treatment destroys cells directly under the beam while leaving adjacent cells undamaged making it useful in the treatment of some tumors. The beam cuts through tissue and, simultaneously, causes blood clotting, making it a useful surgical tool. Laser is also used to disintegrate bladder and kidney stones.


Any type of white blood cell. Excessive leukocytes suggest a bacterial or other infection.


The process of using shock waves or ultrasonic waves to break up calculi (stones) for excretion. ESWL is used to break up smaller stones. This technique uses a machine called a lithotriptor to produce external shock waves to break up the stones. X-ray imaging systems are used to show the position of the stone and to monitor its destruction into a fine sand which is passed out urine over the following few weeks.


The machine used in ESWL to disintegrate small stones.


The aggregate of all chemical processes that take place in living organisms, resulting in growth, generation of energy, elimination of wastes and other bodily functions as they relate to the disturbances of nutrients in the blood after digestion.


An essential amino acid needed for proper growth in infants and for maintenance of nitrogen balance in adults.


A type of analgesic (painkiller) used in the treatment of moderate and severe pain. Abuse of narcotic drugs for their purpose often causes tolerance (the need for greater amounts to have the same effects) and physical and psychological drug dependence. Non narcotic drugs are useful in the treatment of mild or moderate pain.


Surgical removal of one or both of the kidneys.


Inflammation of one or both kidneys.


The surgical removal of calculus from the kidney by cutting through the body of the kidney. Can be done by abdominal incision or through puncture incision made through the skin in the back and directly into the kidney.


A specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease.


The introduction of a small tube into the kidney to drain urine to the abdominal surface, thus bypassing the ureter. Nephrostomy is sometimes performed after an operation (to remove calculus) on the ureter or kidney to allow healing to take place.


Any medical procedure that does not involve penetration of the skin or entry into the body through any of the natural openings.


A medical term meaning performed through the skin. Percutaneous procedures include the injection of drugs into veins, muscles, or other body tissues and biopsies in which tissue or fluid is removed with a needle.

Percutaneous Lithotripsy

A nephroscope (type of endoscope) is inserted into the kidney via a small flank incision. An ultrasonic probe is directed through the nephroscope to break up the stone; fragments are removed through the nephroscope.


A measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The PH scale ranges from 0 to 14. 7.0 us neutral, below 7.0 is acidic and above 7.0 is alkaline. The PH of body fluids must be maintained very near 7.4 for the body’s metabolic reactions to proceed properly.


Large molecules that consist of hundreds of thousands of amino acids linked to form long chains, which are often folded in various ways. Protein is the major source of building material for muscles, blood, skin, hair, nails and the internal organs. It is necessary for the formation of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies and as a source of heat and energy and it functions as an essential element in proper elimination of waste materials. Rich dietary sources are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and cheese, which are classified as complete proteins because they contain the eight essential amino acids. Protein deficiency causes abnormal growth and tissue development in children, whereas in adults it results in lack of vigor and stamina, weakness, mental depression, poor resistance to infection, impaired healing of wounds and slow recovery from disease. Excessive intake of protein may in some conditions result in fluid imbalance.


The presence in the urine of abnormally large quantities of protein, usually albumin. Proteinuria rarely causes any symptoms, although the urine may appear frothy.


An X-Ray picture of the kidney.


Inflammation of the kidney, usually caused by a bacterial infection.


The presence of white blood cells in the urine, usually a sign of an infection of the urinary tract.

Referred pain

A referred pain is one felt in a site other than an injured or diseased part. Sensory nerves from certain body areas converge before they enter the brain, causing confusion about the source of pain signals.


An abnormal backward or return flow of fluid in a body passage due to failure of the passage’s muscle to close fully. One type is the back flow of urine from the bladder into one or both ureters. Persistent urinary reflux may lead to kidney damage.


The medical term for anything related to the kidneys.

Renal biopsy

A procedure in which a small portion of kidney tissue is removed and examined under microscope.

Renal colic

Sharp, severe pain (intermittent spasms) in the lower back over the kidney’s radiating forward into the groin. Renal colic usually accompanies forcible dilation of a ureter followed by spasm as a stone is lodged or passed through it.

Renal Failure

Reduction in the ability of the kidneys to filter waste products from the blood and excrete them in the urine, to control the body’s water and salt balance, and to regulate the blood pressure. Renal Failure can be acute or Chronic. In acute renal failure, kidney function usually returns to normal once the underlying cause has been discovered and treated. In chronic renal failure, function is usually irreversibly last.


An abrupt and forceful contraction of a muscle, usually maintained for several minutes or hours and frequently associated with marked pain.

Specific Gravity

Also called relative density, the ratio of the density of a substance to that of water. Materials with a relative density of less than 1 are less dense (lighter) than water. Those with a relative density of more than 1 are denser (heavier) than water. The specific gravity of urine shows if it has a large amount of material dissolved in it (near 1.030) or if it is almost water (near 1.010).

Staghorn Calculus

Stones that form within and fill the pelvis of the kidney.


A thin silastic tubing running from the kidney through the bladder to allow safe passage of the shattered stone fragments.


An Infection caused by bacteria of the streptococcus family. Almost any organ of the body may be involved. The infections occur in many forms including urinary tract infection.


Infection stones. Struvite stones form because certain bacteria that grows in the urine produce ammonia, thus making the urine alkaline.


Showing symptoms or concerning a symptom.

Ultrasound Scanning

A diagnostic technique in which very high frequency sound waves are passed into the body; the reflected echo’s are detected and analyzed to build a picture of the internal organs.


Either of two tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Each is about 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm) long. Urine flows down the ureters partly by gravity but mainly by peristalsis, a pumping action as waves of contraction pass several times per minute through the muscle layers


An inflammatory condition of the ureter that may be caused by blockage with a stone or by infection spreading up from the bladder.


The surgical removal of a urinary tract calculus.


The tube by which urine is excreted from the bladder.


A physical, microscopic or chemical examination of urine. The specimen is physically examined for color, turbidity, specific gravity and ph. Microscopically for blood cells, casts, crystals pus and bacteria.

Urinary tract

The part of the body concerned with the formation and excretion of urine. The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, the renal pelvis, the ureters, bladder and urethra.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

An infection anywhere in the urinary tract. UTI is usually characterized by urinary frequency, burning, pain with voiding, and, if the infection is severe, visible blood and pus in the urine. UTI include cystitis, pyelonephritis, and urethritis.


The fluid secreted by the kidney’s transported by the ureters, stored in the bladder and voided by the urethra.

Urine Retention

Inability to empty the bladder and difficulty in doing so.


Any of a group of x-ray techniques used to examine the urinary system. A radioopaque substance is injected, and x-ray films are taken as the substance is passed through or excreted from the part of the system being studied. Some kinds of urography are cystoscopic, urography, intravenous pyelography and retrograde pyelography.


A physician who specializes in the practice of urology.