Information for Patients
A birth defect is a problem that happens while a baby is developing in the mother's body. Most birth defects happen during the first 3 months of pregnancy. One out of every 33 babies in the United States is born with a birth defect.
A birth defect may affect how the body looks, works or both. Some birth defects like cleft lip or neural tube defects are structural problems that can be easy to see. To find others, like heart defects, doctors use special tests. Birth defects can range from mild to severe. Causes can include
- Exposures to medicines or chemicals. For example, alcohol abuse can cause fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Infections during pregnancy
- Certain medicines. Before you get pregnant, talk to your health care provider about any medicines you take.
- Not getting enough of certain nutrients. For example, not getting enough folic acid before and during pregnancy is a key factor in causing neural tube defects.
For most birth defects, the cause is unknown.
Health care providers can diagnose certain birth defects during pregnancy, with prenatal tests. That's why it important to get regular prenatal care. Other birth defects may not be found until after the baby is born. Sometimes the defect is obvious right away. Other times, the health care provider may not discover it until later in life.
Babies with birth defects often need special care and treatments. The treatments may include surgery, medicines, assistive devices, and therapies.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The bladder is a hollow organ in your lower abdomen that stores urine. Many conditions can affect your bladder. Some common ones are
- Cystitis - inflammation of the bladder, often from an infection
- Urinary incontinence - loss of bladder control
- Overactive bladder - a condition in which the bladder squeezes urine out at the wrong time
- Interstitial cystitis - a chronic problem that causes bladder pain and frequent, urgent urination
- Bladder cancer
Doctors diagnose bladder diseases using different tests. These include urine tests, x-rays, and an examination of the bladder wall with a scope called a cystoscope. Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. It may include medicines and, in severe cases, surgery.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
The urethra is the tube that allows urine to pass out of the body. In men, it's a long tube that runs through the penis. It also carries semen in men. In women, it's short and is just above the vagina. Urethral problems may happen due to aging, illness, or injury. They include
- Urethral cancer - a rare cancer that happens more often in men
- Urethral stricture - a narrowing of the opening of the urethra
- Urethritis - inflammation of the urethra, sometimes caused by infection
Urethral problems may cause pain or difficulty passing urine. You may also have bleeding or discharge from the urethra.
Doctors diagnose urethral problems using different tests. These include urine tests, x-rays and an examination of the urethra with a scope called a cystoscope. Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. It may include medicines and, in severe cases, surgery.