Urology is the field of medicine that focuses on diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive tract. Some urologists treat prevalent 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
neuro-urology, which focuses on urinary issues 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 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 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.
Which conditions do urologists treat?
Urologists treat a wide variety of conditions that affect the urinary system and the male reproductive system.
In men, urologists treat:
- cancers of the bladder, kidneys, penis, testicles, and adrenal and prostate glands
- prostate gland enlargement
- erectile dysfunction, or trouble getting or keeping an erection
- interstitial cystitis also called painful bladder syndrome
- kidney diseases
- kidney stones
- prostatitis, which is inflammation of the prostate gland
- urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- varicoceles, or enlarged veins in the scrotum
In women, urologists treat:
- bladder prolapse, or the dropping of the bladder into the vagina
- cancers of the bladder, kidneys, and adrenal glands
- interstitial cystitis
- kidney stones
- overactive bladder
- urinary incontinence
In children, urologists treat:
- blockages and other problems with the urinary tract structure
- undescended testicles