July 02, 2024

What Does A Urologist Do?

Two urologists

A urologist is a medical doctor specializing in conditions affecting the urinary system. Also called the urinary tract, this system filters waste and toxins and moves them out of the body in the urine.

Urologists also diagnose and treat problems in the male reproductive system. The term “genitourinary” (combining “genital” and “urinary”) encompasses the two systems.

This article explains what a urologist does and why you might see one.

Components of the Urinary and Male Reproductive Systems

Urologists have a deep understanding of the two systems they treat and their many components. The urinary tract includes:

  • Kidneys
  • Bladder
  • Ureters
  • Urethra

The male reproductive system includes:

  • Penis
  • Scrotum
  • Testicles
  • Prostate gland

Conditions That Urologists Treat

Patients see urologists for a wide variety of health issues. Some of the conditions most commonly treated include urinary incontinence (the inability to control when you release urine), recurring urinary tract infections, kidney stones, interstitial cystitis (which causes pain in the bladder), erectile dysfunction, and benign prostatic hyperplasia (a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland).

Urologists also diagnose and treat bladder, kidney, and prostate cancers, pelvic organ prolapse, and congenital urinary tract issues (meaning those you’re born with).

There are several subspecialties within urology, including:

  • Pediatric urology
  • Urologic oncology
  • Minimally invasive surgery (robotic, laparoscopic, and endoscopic)
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Genitourinary reconstruction
  • Sexual medicine
  • Male infertility

How Urologists Diagnose and Treat Conditions

Urologists use various procedures to diagnose conditions affecting the urinary and male reproductive systems, including:

  • Medical histories to understand a patient’s overall health
  • Physical exams to assess current health
  • Urinalysis (evaluation of a urine sample)
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging procedures

Conducting some or all of these processes enables urologists to evaluate the patient's genitourinary health and identify the causes of any problems they’re experiencing.

Urologists are skilled in many types of procedures for addressing urinary tract and reproductive problems. These include cystoscopy, ureteroscopy, vasectomy, prostate biopsy, and major surgeries like removing a kidney as part of a patient’s cancer treatment. Urologists can also prescribe medication and recommend behavioral training, such as exercises that strengthen your pelvic muscles to improve your ability to hold urine.

Symptoms That Might Indicate Genitourinary Problems

Primary care physicians may refer patients to a urologist if they appear to have urinary tract or male reproductive system problems. It’s essential to contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Trouble starting to urinate or having a weak urine flow
  • Painful urination
  • Cloudiness or blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • A sudden, intense need to urinate
  • Difficulty emptying your bladder or constantly feeling like you need to urinate
  • Accidental release of urine, like when you laugh, sneeze, or exercise
  • Trouble getting or maintaining an erection
  • Pelvic pain
  • Infertility

Get Help From a Baptist Health Urologist

If you experience symptoms of a urinary tract or male reproductive issue, Baptist Health can help. Talk with your primary care physician, who can determine if you’ll benefit from treatment by a urologist.

Our online provider directory is helpful for finding a Baptist Health doctor if you don’t have one.