For most of the people a urologist and a nephrologist are same. Yes, they do share some similarities but each of these medical professionals belong to different specialized fields. It’s important to understand the differences between a urologist and a nephrologist if you are not sure whom to consult in what situation. This article will help you understand the differences between a urologist and a nephrologist and will help you choose which one is better suited for you.
What is a Nephrologist
Nephrology is the study of adult internal medicine and pediatric medicine related to the kidneys. A nephrologist is a doctor with expertise in the medicine and care of kidneys. The kidneys are a major part of human urinary system. They’re bean-shaped organs that perform important functions in the human body like removing waste, electrolytes, and excess water through urine (Pee).
Normally, a Nephrologist takes care of all the kidney-related disorders and diseases. These disorders may include Kidney failure both acute and chronic, protein or blood in urine, kidney stones, kidney cancers, nephrotic symptoms, and chronic kidney diseases, etc.
Nephrologists can involve in some other common conditions as well like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and peripheral vascular disease.
You must see a nephrologist when you:-
- Feel Changes in urination
- Have High blood pressure
- Have A family history of kidney disease
- Have diabetes.
What kind of tests does a Nephrologist perform?
A nephrologist can perform various tests. These tests depend upon the symptoms of the patient. some of the tests are:-
- Kidney function tests: Kidney function tests are performed to determine whether your kidneys are functioning properly or not. These tests include various blood and urine tests like Serum creatinine test, Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) test, Estimated Glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) test, and Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test.
- Kidney biopsy: Nephrologists perform a kidney biopsy by taking a small tissue sample from your kidneys to help diagnose a kidney condition.
- Imaging tests: Kidney imaging tests may include CT scans, ultrasounds, and X-rays.
What is a Urologist?
Urology is the study of medicine related to urinary-tract system and the reproductive organs. Urology is sometimes referred as genitourinary surgery. A Urologist is a doctor who specializes in conditions that affect the urinary system in men, women, and children, and other diseases that affect the urinary tract in men. Organs such as Kidneys, uterus, adrenal glands, urethra, urinary bladder, and male reproductive organs fall under the domain of a Urologist.
Urologists can treat various common and rarer illnesses that can affect any man or woman or both. Some of these conditions are Inability to control urination or urinary incontinence, Blood in the urine or hematuria, Frequent urinary tract infections, problems in the male reproductive system like benign prostatic hyperplasia or enlarged prostate and painful bladder.
Urologists can involve in the treatment of some other diseases like Erectile dysfunction, kidney stones, cancer of the Bladder, kidneys, or prostate, pelvic organ prolapse etc.
You must see a urologist if you are:-
- Experiencing pain or trouble while urinating
- Cloudy or blood in the urine
- Changes in your urination pattern like frequent urination
- Trouble keeping an erection
- Pelvic pain
- A constant feeling of heaviness in your vagina
- Urinating even when you don’t want to, like when you sneeze, exercise or laugh
What kind of tests does a Urologist perform?
A urologist can perform various tests based on the symptoms of the patient. These tests include:-
- Physical test: Physical test is the most common test performed by urologists. It includes various questions related to your current health, medical history, and medicines you are currently prescribed.
DRE or Digital Rectal Exam is carried out on male patients to check for any enlargement or irregularities in the Prostate gland.
- Blood tests: Urologists can perform blood tests to detect certain cancer or diseases. These blood tests include Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Tests, Testosterone Blood Tests and Creatinine and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) Blood Tests.
- Urine Tests: In case the blood test is not required or it is inconclusive, or your urologist wants to gather more information before a diagnosis, urine tests are administered. Urine tests include Urine Cultures, urinalysis, and 24-hour urine tests.
- Seminogram: Semen tests are performed on men who are facing fertility issues. Urologists check for the strength of male sperm by seminograms.
- Imaging tests: Urologists opt for various imaging tests like CT scans, ultrasounds, and X-rays to detect irregularities.
Differences between a Urologist and a Nephrologist
A lot of people have this wrong notion that nephrologists and urologists are the same. It is confusing to tell the differences between a Nephrologist and a urologist because there is little overlap in their area of expertise.
Nephrologists specialize in ailments that affect your kidneys. A nephrologist is the doctor you should visit if you have a condition that affects your kidneys or kidney functions.
A urologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats ailments that affect your urinary system. The urinary system includes the bladder, urethra, ureters, and kidneys. Urologists also specialize in ailments that affect the male and female reproductive systems. A urologist is a doctor you should visit if you have a condition that is affecting your urinary system or reproductive system.
Another major difference between a nephrologist and a urologist is that urologists are capable of performing surgeries. Urologists can take care of kidney diseases that may require an operation or surgery, like kidney cancer or kidney stones. Nephrologists cannot perform surgeries.
Visit a Urologist if you are having urinary issues, pelvic pain, or sexual issues. But, if you have issues related and limited to kidneys, then go for Nephrologists.
At RG Stone and Laparoscopic Hospital, we believe in partnering with our patients to understand their urological or nephrological issues and provide customized treatment based on patients' needs.