In the time of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, doctors frequently examined urine’s color, odor, and texture. They also looked for bubbles, blood, and other signs of disease.
Today, an entire field of medicine focuses on the health of the urinary system. It’s called urology. Here’s a look at what urologists do and when you should consider seeing one of these specialists.
What is urology?
Urology is the field of medicine that focuses on diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive tract. Some urologists treat general diseases of the urinary tract. Others specialize in a particular type of urology, such as: female urology, which focuses on conditions of a woman’s reproductive and urinary tract male infertility, which focuses on problems that prevent a man from conceiving a baby with his partner neurourology, which focuses on urinary problems due to conditions of the nervous system pediatric urology, which focuses on urinary problems in children urologic oncology, which focuses on cancers of the urinary system, including the bladder, kidneys, prostate, and testicles
What is a urologist?
Urologists diagnose and treat diseases of the urinary tract in both men and women. They also diagnose and treat anything involving the reproductive tract in men. In some cases, they may perform surgery. For example, they may remove cancer or open up a blockage in the urinary tract. Urologists work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private clinics, and urology centers. The urinary tract is the system that creates, stores, and removes urine from the body. Urologists can treat any part of this system. This includes the: kidneys, which are the organs that filter waste out of the blood to produce urine ureters, which are the tubes through which urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder bladder, which is the hollow sac that stores urine urethra, which is the tube through which urine travels from the bladder out of the body adrenal glands, which are the glands located on top of each kidney that release hormones Urologists also treat all parts of the male reproductive system. This system is made up of the: penis, which is the organ that releases urine and carries sperm out of the body prostate, which is the gland underneath the bladder that adds fluid to sperm to produce semen testicles, which are the two oval organs inside the scrotum that make the hormone testosterone and produce sperm
What are the education and training requirements?
You must earn a four-year college degree and then complete four years of medical school. Once you graduate from medical school, you must then go through four or five years of medical training at a hospital. During this program, which is called a residency, you work alongside experienced urologists and learn surgical skills. Some urologists decide to do a year or two of additional training. This is called a fellowship. During this time, you gain skills in a specialty area. This can include urologic oncology or female urology. At the end of their training, urologists must pass the specialty certification exam for urologists. The American Board of Urology certifies them upon successful completion of the exam.
When should you see a urologist?
Your primary care doctor can treat you for mild urinary problems, such as a UTI. Your primary care doctor may refer you to a urologist if your symptoms don’t improve or if you have a condition that needs treatments they can’t provide. You may need to see both a urologist and another specialist for certain conditions. For example, a man who has prostate cancer can see a cancer specialist called “an oncologist” and a urologist. How do you know when it’s time to see a urologist? Having any of these symptoms suggests you have a problem in the urinary tract: 1.blood in your urine 2.a frequent or urgent need to urinate 3.pain in your lower back, pelvis, or sides 4.pain or burning during urination 5.trouble urinating 6.urine leakage 7.weak urine flow, dribbling