Urologist vs. Nephrologist: Know the Difference

urologist vs nephrologist difference

Nephrology

Nephrology is basically a specialty of internal medicine which focuses on the treatment of diseases that affect the kidneys. You have 2 kidneys which are located below of your ribcage on either side of your spine. The kidneys perform several functions, which includes:

  • Removing waste & excess fluid from your body
  • Releasing hormones with functions like managing blood pressure

What does a nephrologist do?

A nephrologist is a doctor who specializes in treating the diseases present in the kidneys. Not only do nephrologists have the expertise on diseases which affect the kidney, but they have the knowledge about how kidney disease can affect other parts of your body.

Conditions a Nephrologist treats

A Nephrologist can diagnose these diseases:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Blood in urine
  • Kidney infections
  • Kidney cancer
  • Renal artery stenosis
  • End-stage kidney disease
  • Kidney failure, both chronic and acute

Tests a nephrologist perform

They may involve a variety of tests to determine the problem:

Laboratory Tests

There are a wide range of tests which can be used to assess the function of the kidneys. The tests are performed on either a urine or blood sample.

Blood Tests

  • Serum creatinine: Creatinine is a waste product which is present at the higher levels in the blood of people who are having kidney dysfunction.
  • Glomerular filtration rate: This test will measure how well your kidneys are filtering your blood. GFR begins to decrease below the normal levels in kidney disease.
  • Blood urea nitrogen: As with creatinine, finding the high levels of this waste product in blood is a sure sign of kidney dysfunction.

Procedures of Nephrologist

In addition to interpreting the results of the laboratory tests, a nephrologist may perform on the following procedures:

  • Kidney biopsies
  • Dialysis
  • Imaging tests of kidneys
  • Kidney transplants

Urology

Urology is a field of medicine which focuses on diseases of the urinary tract and male reproductive tract. There is specialization in types of urology, like:

  • Male infertility: which highlights the problems which prevent a man from conceiving a baby.
  • Pediatric urology: it focuses on the urinary problems in the children.
  • Female urology: it highlights on conditions of a woman’ urinary and reproductive tract.
  • Urologic oncology: it focuses on cancers of the urinary system, which also includes prostate, kidneys, testicles, etc.

What is an Urologist?

Urologist diagnoses & treat diseases of the urinary tract in both women and men. They are able to treat anything which involves the reproductive tract in men. In some cases, they may perform surgery. For example, they may be able to remove cancer.

What procedures do urologists perform?

They will do one or more tests to find what condition you have:

  • They can do a cystogram, which includes taking X-ray images of the bladder.
  • They will use your urine sample to check the urine for bacteria which cause infections.
  • They can check urodynamic testing to measure the pressure & volume inside your bladder.
  • Urologist will perform a cystoscopy, which involves a thin scope called cystoscope to see the inside of your urethra.

Urologists are trained to perform other types of surgery:

  • Cystectomy, which also involves removing the bladder to treat cancer.
  • A repair of urinary organs which don’t perform well
  • A sling procedure, which also involves using strips of mesh to support the urethra

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