Kidney problems are becoming common nowadays. There are many medical conditions associated with kidneys. Therefore there is a need for doctors who can cure these problems. With the advancement of age, the healthcare department is also being divided. It is yet to choose which healthcare provider can treat the associated pain. Therefore, health education is necessary.
There is often confusion about whether I should go to a urologist or a nephrologist? The services as well are confused. Their specialties often overlap, so you may need to know both conditions.
Let us have a brief look at how they are different from each other.
” The field of nephrology is one of the subspecialties of internal medicine or internist, which mainly focus on diagnosis and treatment of diseases that mainly affect the functioning of your kidneys.”
Kidney diseases are of many kinds, most of which are related to high blood pressure or hypertension.
Many services are being provided by a nephrologist, of which some are mentioned below:
- Fluid and electrolyte balance monitoring.
- Monitoring the blood pressure.
- Prescription of medications for the management of hypertension or blood pressure.
- Dialysis Treatments (dialysis is a treatment of curing kidney diseases performed by an expert nephrologist). Treatment of Dialysis can be varied from in-house dialysis at your home or provider’s office or even in the emergency room. Your nephrologist can monitor the condition and tell whether a kidney transplant is required or other treatments are sufficient.
Your general physician can refer you to the nephrologist if you can have the following medical problems:
- Acute Kidney Failure
- Chronic Kidney Failure
- Chronic Kidney tract infections
- Dialysis treatment
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Kidney Cancer
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome
- End-stage kidney disease
- Renal artery stenosis
- Nephrotic syndrome
- Kidney swelling (due to interstitial nephritis or glomerulonephritis)
The nephrologist can prescribe your tests and procedures, which may include:
- Many laboratory tests, such as blood tests or urine tests, could be suggested by your nephrologist to aid in diagnosis procedures. These may include:
- Blood Tests (such as Glomerular filtration rate, blood urea nitrogen, or serum creatinine).
- Urine Tests (such as Albumin/creatinine ratio, urinalysis, and creatinine clearance).
Moreover, you might also be asked to confirm imaging tests such as ultrasound, X-Ray, or CT Scan.
“There are different medical conditions which both nephrologist and urologist can treat; however, certain medical conditions could only be treated by urologists.”
The main focus of urologists is to treat anatomical or structural problems of the urinary tract and related organs. Urologists specialize in treating the diseases in the following areas:
- Urinary Bladder
- Adrenal Glands
- Vas deferens
- Seminal vesicles
- Prostate Gland
Moreover, urology involves surgical specialties, whereas nephrologists do not. You may be referred to a urologist if you may have these conditions:
- Urinary tract infection (UTIs)
- Urinary Bladder problems
- Anatomical Kidney problems
- Adrenal problems
- Diseases of male reproductive organs
- Kidney stones
- Ureter problems
- Cancers of bladder, kidneys, Testicles, or penis
- Painful Bladder Syndrome (interstitial cystitis)
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Prostatitis (inflammation of prostate gland)
- Prostate gland enlargement
Urologists are trained to perform surgeries as well. These surgeries could be of:
- Biopsies of Kidney, bladder, or prostate
- A kidney transplant (replacement of a defective kidney with a donor’s healthy kidney)
- Procedures to open blockages
- Ureteroscopy (a process involving a scope to remove kidney or ureter stones)
- Vasectomy (a method to prevent pregnancy by cutting and tying vas deferens, or the tube by which sperms travel to produce semen).
- Cystectomy (process to remove bladder to treat cancer)
In short, nephrologists treat diseases specific to kidneys and conditions affecting normal physiological function (i.e., diabetes and hypertension). In contrast, urologists treat the problems related to the urinary tract, including those which can affect the kidneys, such as kidney stones and other obstructions. However, if overlapping conditions exist, nephrologists and urologists keep working together even on a single patient.
Finding how to manage kidney problems by different healthcare workers seems complicated, but if you have accurate knowledge, it could be made easier. However, you can find more interesting articles and consult the best available Dr. Amir Aziz and urologists at MARHAM.PK.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1- Which doctor should I see if I face weak urine flow?
If you encounter weak urine flow or dribbling, your primary healthcare provider may suggest you visit an urologist.
2- Can a Urologist treat problems involving low sexual desires in a man?
Urologists can treat problems related to the anatomical structures of your urinary tract, which also involve the penis and testes. Therefore, if you feel low sexual desire or issues pertaining to testicles, you may approach a urologist.
3- Which doctor to visit if I have a family history of kidney problems?
If you have any family history of kidney problems, you should have checked with your nephrologist. They may monitor your body conditions and also suggest precautions based upon your needs.
4- Can autoimmune conditions affect your kidney?
Autoimmune conditions, such as lupus, can affect your kidney health. In this case, you may need to visit your nephrologist for ultimate guidance.