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What is a Urologist?

What is a Urologist?

A urologist is a physician who specializes in the urinary tracts of men and women and on the reproductive systems of men. Doctors who specialize in urology are highly trained when it comes to diagnosing, treating, and managing patients who are experiencing urological disorders that can affect the kidneys, bladder, adrenal glands, urethra, and male reproductive organs including the penis, prostate, and testes.  Because urological disorders often overlap with other medical fields such as gynecology, oncology, neurology, or endocrinology, urologists commonly work with other medical specialists when reaching a diagnosis and determining a treatment plan. This is especially true when treating a patient who has a form of urological cancer. Chronic urological conditions and disorders can typically be managed by urologists.

Procedures, Tests and Conditions a Urologist Treats

Urologists diagnose and treat a large number of urological disorders and complications including incontinence, Parkinson's disease, kidney stones, testicular cancer, and male infertility. To diagnose such conditions, they perform a wide variety of tests and physical examinations. X-rays and fluoroscopes are often utilized to aid doctors in reaching a diagnosis. Urologists treat patients and manage disorders using medication, catheters, cystoscopes, and many other types of equipment. In some cases, urologists also perform surgical procedures such as vasectomies, stone surgeries, prostate surgeries, and kidney surgeries. Today many urological surgeons utilize minimally invasive procedures such as endourology and laparoscopy. These procedures cause less damage to the body and they heal faster than traditional open surgeries due to the use of smaller incisions.

Training, Education and Certification to become a Urologist

Like any student who is considering a career in medicine, those who are looking to become urologists should be prepared to spend more than a decade earning their post-secondary education. They must first complete a comprehensive four year undergraduate degree followed by four years of medical school. After graduating from medical school with a doctor of medicine degree, students must complete an internship and residency training in urology. During their residencies, students will work directly with patients under the supervision of a licensed urologist to diagnose and treat patients with a number of urological disorders.

Some urologists choose to further their education through fellowship training. Doing so allows them to specialize in a specific sub-specialty such as urological oncology, male infertility, urological reconstruction, andrology, urogynecology, or pediatric urology. Fellowships usually last one to two years. Upon completing their formal education, practicing urologists may still be required to participate in continuing education programs and pass exams to maintain their license and certification.

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