A urologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats conditions of the urinary tract in men and women. Urologists also treat problems of the male reproductive system. Some urologists specialize in areas such as male infertility and cancer treatment.

If you have a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, or a leaky bladder, you may need to see a urologist.

Do you want to have a vasectomy? A urologist can help with that, too.

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What Do Urologists Treat?

The urinary tract is the system that creates, stores, and removes urine from the body. It includes the kidneys, bladder, adrenal glands, and urethra, as well as the male reproductive system. Conditions that urologists diagnose and treat include:

  • Cancer of the kidneys, penis, prostate, and testicles
  • Delayed or absent ejaculation
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Kidney stones
  • Low testosterone
  • Male infertility
  • Overactive bladder
  • Peyronie’s disease (painful curving of the penis during erection)
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Problems with ED and urinary incontinence after prostatectomy
  • Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland)
  • Ureteropelvic junction obstruction (blockage of the kidney; can be congenital or occur after kidney stones)
  • Urinary incontinence (leaky bladder)
  • Urinary tract infections

Urologists also perform surgical procedures such as:

  • Biopsies
  • Prostatectomies (remove part or all of the prostate gland to treat cancer)
  • Repairing damage from an injury
  • Repairing a birth defect in the urinary system
  • Vasectomies (male sterilization)
  • Kidney transplants

Types of Urologists

Urologists are medical doctors who complete at least five years of residency training before becoming board-certified.

Urologists also can specialize in certain areas of care, including:

  • Urogynecologists – treat conditions unique to women
  • Pediatric urologists – treat children
  • Urologic oncologists – treat cancers of the urinary system
  • Neurourologists – focus on disorders of the urinary system related to spinal injuries or neurological disease
  • Reconstructive urologists – perform procedures to restore urinary, sexual, and reproductive function, such as penile implants for ED

When Should You See a Urologist?

Your primary care doctor can treat minor urinary problems. But if your symptoms don’t go away or get worse, you may be referred to a urologist. You should seek help immediately if you have:

  • Persistent pain or burning when you urinate
  • Blood in your urine (can be a sign of bladder or kidney cancer)
  • Infertility problems (in men)
  • Ongoing problems getting or keeping an erection
  • An enlarged prostate gland
  • Pain in the back or lower abdomen (can be a symptom of kidney stones)
  • Leaking urine, weak urine flow, or other difficulty urinating

Where Can You Find a Urologist?

Ask your primary care doctor for a referral to a UPMC urologist, or visit our website to schedule an appointment. For male sexual and reproductive health issues, contact the UPMC Men’s Health Center at 1-877-641-4636 to connect with an expert.

Sources

UPMC.com, Urology Services at UPMC https://www.upmc.com/services/urology

American Medical Association, Urology https://www.ama-assn.org/specialty/urology

Urology Care Foundation, What Is Urology? https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/what-is-urology

National Association for Continence, When to Seek Help https://www.nafc.org/step-6-seek-professional-help

About Urology

The UPMC Department of Urology treats all manners of conditions involving the urinary tract and male reproductive organs. We treat those disorders both in children and adults. We have a multifaceted team of physicians and researchers working together to provide the best care. We provide cutting-edge treatments, and we continue to lead research into even better methods for diagnosis and treatment. U.S. News & World Report ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as among the best hospitals in the country for urological care.