What Is a Urologist?
A urologist, or urologic surgeon, is a specially trained physician who provides care for the organs and issues of the urinary tract in women, men and children, all of whom can have different urological issues. Urologists also treat problems in the male reproductive system and organs, some issues with female reproductive organs, and disorders of the adrenal glands, which are on top of the kidneys and control the production of hormones in the body.
Urologists complete 1 to 2 years of a general surgical residency and 3 to 4 years of urologic surgical residency, often providing time for research projects in the field of urology.
A urologist’s skills and training
Urologists address what are known as genitourinary issues, meaning related to the genital and urinary organs in men and women of all ages. Because these systems involve different aspects of a person’s health, urologists have extensive knowledge in other fields of medicine, such as gynecology, endocrinology, pediatrics and internal medicine.
Urologists are known as specialist surgeons, who also use nonsurgical treatments to cure urinary tract and reproductive problems. Urologists also bring their surgical skills to the treatment of cancers of the bladder, kidneys, testicles, urethra and prostate.
Urologists treat kidney stones, kidney cancer and other aspects of kidney health. Nephrologists also focus on the kidneys, but they treat disorders that affect the kidneys’ function. They do not perform kidney surgery as urologists do.
Following are the guidelines for urologist qualifications as set forth by the American Urologic Association (AUA).
- Graduation from an accredited medical school with a medical degree or equivalent
- Postgraduate residency training in approved hospitals for up to five years
- Licensed to practice both medicine and surgery in the urologist’s state of residence
- Focus solely on the practice of urology
- Be certified in urology, or be a candidate for certification, by the America Board of Urology.
All of the urologists at Urology Associates meet the above guidelines, plus have completed additional fellowship studies. Our urologists maintain rigorous continual education in the field. Due to the wide range of issues involved in urology, our physicians have special training and interests in certain areas, such as pediatric urology, adult urology, robotic surgery, prostate cancer, urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and many others.
The AUA identifies seven areas of subspecialty in urology.
- Pediatric urology
- Urologic oncology
- Male infertility
- Renal (kidney) transplant
- Calculi (address stones in the urinary tract)
- Female urology (urinary incontinence and pelvic disorders)
- Neurourology (impotence or erectile dysfunction, voiding disorder, urodynamic evaluations).
As a team, our urologists cover all the above subspecialties except for kidney transplants.
Conditions urologists treat
Urologists treat conditions that affect males, females and children. Some conditions may be experienced by one or more of these three patient groups. For example, men, women and children may have urinary incontinence.
Many times patients may suspect they have a problem with the urinary tract, or men will think they have an issue with their reproductive system. Sometimes symptoms accompany the conditions listed below, sometimes not. A primary care physician can help a patient determine if he or she needs to see a urologist. The patient can decide to see one of our urologists directly.
Below are the most common treatments grouped by type of patient.
- Infertility and erectile dysfunction
- Kidney stones and diseases
- Prostate issues, enlarged and prostatitis
- Urinary incontinence
- Cancers: prostate, kidney, bladder, adrenal gland, penis and testicles
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Urinary incontinence, including urge, stress and overactive bladder
- Cancers of the bladder, kidneys and adrenal glands
- Kidney stones
- Prolapse of the vagina and bladder
- Urinary voiding problems
- Bladder dysfunction
- Circumcision revision
- Urinary tract blockages and structural defects
- Various genital and reproductive organ conditions
- Kidney conditions such as duplex kidney & kidney dysplasia.
In order to properly treat such conditions, urologists are skilled in conducting various tests and diagnostic procedures. These include imaging tests, from ultrasound to MRI to interior examinations of the bladder. We conduct tests to analyze urine issues, including voiding measurements and urodynamic evaluations involving specific instruments and procedures.
Urologists are skilled in all types of urologic surgeries including robotic and laparoscopic. We also administer nonsurgical procedures and pursue medicine-based treatments. Another focus of a urologist is to help patients learn how to alter their behaviors and functions that can reduce or cure certain urinary tract issues.