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What are the Differences between Urologist and Nephrologist?

Home / What are the Differences between Urologist and Nephrologist?

What are the Differences between Urologist and Nephrologist?

The foremost prerequisite in every treatment of any disease is the correct diagnosis of the disease. That being established, the requirement for a correct diagnosis is the correct consultation. There are certain diseases for which patients usually are caught up in the dilemma of whether to consult a urologist or a nephrologist. The pragmatic way to deal with this and to avoid, to some extent, the unnecessary wastage of time, is to be aware of the differences between the profession of urology and nephrology.

What is urology?

Urology is the subject of the genitourinary system, that is, it covers the urinary as well as the genitalia system. The urinary system, we know, consists of kidneys, renal pelvis, ureters, bladder, and urethra while on the other hand, the genitalia consist of sex organs. As urine also passes through genitalia, being it male or female, it comes into the subject of urology. So any disease pertaining to the urinary or genitalia system is dealt with by a urologist.

Some urologic diseases or conditions are as follows:

  • UTIs
  • Kidney stones
  • Prostate problems
  • Bladder control problems
  • Hematuria
  • Painful bladder
  • Low testosterone
  • Genital cancer
  • Infertility in males
  • Erectile dysfunction

What is nephrology?

Nephrologists are the physicians who deal with the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases specifically. Nephrology is mainly concerned with the functionality of kidneys and taking care of patients with kidney disease related to the functionality of it. Therefore, a nephrologist has the inclination towards providing comprehensive care to the most bodily functions as the kidneys are attached to numerous physiological functions of the body.

To become a transplant nephrologist, three years of medicine training and then two years of nephrology training is to be completed first and then one or two years of transplantation experience is to be gained. So, it is a field that demands.

Extreme knowledge-gaining capacity as it deals with diverse effects of kidney disease.

Leadership quality as the doctor to oversee the care of patients in collaboration with other physicians.

Innovative quality as the doctor must decide for the patient to have the transplantation and the type of transplantation that He/ She must have.

Some of the diseases/conditions that a nephrologist treats are as follows:

  • Acute kidney injury
  • Froth in urine
  • Blood in Urine
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Acid-Base Disorders
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Renal infections
  • Being on dialysis (Hemodialysis or Peritoneal dialysis)
  • Electrolyte problems
  • Uncontrolled blood pressure
  • Kidney failure
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Kidney failure
  • Kidney stones
  • High creatinine or low GFR

Some common treatments under nephrology are:

  • CRRT-   Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy
  • CPD
  • Plasmapheresis
  •  MARS therapy
  • Kidney transplant

How is a nephrologist different from a urologist?

The kidney is such an intricate organ that it requires two specialties to be taken care of. So, if you find yourself with some kidney-related issues, what doctor should you consult? A urologist or a nephrologist? Here are some important differences between the two professions.

  • The most general difference between both is that a urologist looks at the structural aspects of the kidneys and also other organs such as ureters, bladder, urethra, or prostate while the nephrologist looks at the intrinsic working of the kidneys such as filtering, blood pressure management, fluids management, etc.
  • Nephrology does not include other parts of the urinary or genitalia system, unlike urology. Also, nephrologists are not involved in the malfunctioning of the male or female reproductive system. If some other complications are somewhat linked to the kidneys, such as heart disease or blood pressure problems, a nephrologist might deal with that too.
  • There are some specific disorders of the kidney, like UTIs, kidney stones, etc., that do not come under the involvement of a nephrologist. Such disorders are treated by urologists.
  • As one can see kidney stones come under the lookafter of both a nephrologist and a urologist. One might wonder the reason which is that urologists work as plumbers in this condition, that is, they mainly are concerned with taking that stone out of the system while a nephrologist looks after the reasons for the formation of that kidney stone.
  • A Nephrologist is a medical doctor or a physician who can certainly perform some procedures such as kidney biopsy, dialysis, etc. On the other hand, a urologist is a surgeon who deals with major operative procedures such as kidney transplants (under the decision of a nephrologist and is also done by a transplant nephrologist).
  • A patient with the symptoms of kidney disease should always consult a nephrologist first rather than a urologist as it is the field of a nephrologist to find out the cause, damage done, and the treatment of that disease. After that, if the disease cannot be treated without major surgical procedures, a urologist must be consulted.

The overlap in the field of nephrology and urologists is apparent in the intuition of common people. It is very important to understand the distinctive nature of the two even though at some points both need to work as a team for a misdiagnosis of a condition can lead a patient to a very dangerous path for their health. So, it is very important to know the correct place to go when your health is at stake. In most cases, a Nephrologist must be consulted first and then if a patient’s condition were a surgical issue, the doctor would guide him to a Urologist.