What is a urologist?

Urologists are physician surgeons who specialize in the evaluation and treatment of disorders of the male and female urinary tract and male reproductive organs. Urologists see patients in an office setting and perform procedures and surgeries in an operating room.

What are the most common procedures urologists perform?

The most common procedures urologists perform in an office setting include vasectomy (permanent male birth control), cystoscopy (visual scope inspection of the urethra and bladder (and prostate in men), and in-office treatments for benign prostate hypertrophy. The most common procedures/surgeries performed in an operating room setting include removal of the kidney or prostate due to cancer, transurethral surgeries for benign prostate hypertrophy and bladder tumors, removal of kidney/ureteral stones using shockwave-generating machines or lasers, and anti-incontinence surgeries for both men and women. Urologists also perform vasectomy reversals and placement of penile prostheses.

When should I see a urologist?

One should consult a urologist when he or she has a medical condition affecting his or her urinary system or, if it is a man, his reproductive system. A man or woman should see a urologist if he or she experiences blood in urine; recurrent urinary tract infections; poor bladder control, including urine leakage; difficulty urinating; or if there is suspicion of kidney stones due to flank pain. A man should see a urologist for an annual prostate health check and if he has erectile dysfunction or desires a vasectomy.

How can I urinate less frequently at night?

Frequent urination at night can be due to several reasons including the inability to store urine in the bladder, the inability to empty the bladder completely, lifestyle choices, the use of certain medications and urinary infection.

It's painful to urinate; what could be the problem?

Infections in the prostate or bladder are the most common causes of painful urination. Obstruction in the urethra or prostate, and kidney and bladder stones are well-known causes of painful urination. Chronic pain conditions of the male lower urinary tract as a result of diet and lifestyle are other causes of painful urination.

There's blood in my urine. What could be causing this?

Blood in the urine can be a sign of a serious underlying condition, or it can be due to an easily treatable cause. Urinary infection is the most common cause of blood in the urine. Kidney/bladder stones, cancer of the urinary system, injury to the urinary system and certain lifestyle choices can lead to blood in the urine. The exact cause can only be determined after a thorough evaluation by an urologist.

What causes kidney stones?

Kidney stones form when certain minerals and substances in the urine reach a high enough concentration that they crystallize and form stones. This can result from dehydration, metabolic disorders or bowel disease. Other factors that can increase formation of stones include family history of stones, dietary or genetic factors and recurrent urinary tract infections.

How can I prevent kidney stones?

Start by drinking more water. Drink enough water so that your urine is clear to light yellow. Dark urine probably means you are not drinking enough water. For people who have more than one stone episode, chemical analysis of the stone and a metabolic workup, including a 24-hour urine collection, should be performed to look for stone formation risk factors. Dietary and medication recommendations can be given based on information from this workup.

What's the best way to treat kidney stones?

Treatment of kidney stones depends on several factors, including the size and location of a stone, how much pain someone with a stone has, and whether there is a urinary or kidney infection present at the same time. Treatment options include attempting to pass the stone spontaneously with the help of medicines, placement of a stent in the ureter bypassing the stone, inserting a small scope and using a laser and basket to remove the stone, or delivery of shock waves externally to fragment the stone for later passage of the pieces.

American Board of Urology FAQ

What is the American Board of Urology?

There are currently twenty-four ABMS medical specialty boards in the United States that certify physicians. The American Board of Urology, Inc. is the medical specialty board that certifies urologists in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. The ABU was organized in 1935 to encourage study, improve standards, and promote competency in the practice of urology. The objective of the Board is to identify, for the public's knowledge, those physicians who have satisfied the Board's criteria for certification and re-certification in the specialty of urology.

Although urology is classified as a surgical subspecialty, urologists must have an understanding of internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, and other specialties in order to treat the wide variety of medical problems encountered. In recognition of the breadth of this field, the American Urological Association has identified the eight subspecialty areas listed below. Many physicians choose to specialize in one or two of these areas.

  • Pediatric Urology
  • Urologic Oncology (Cancer)
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Male Infertility
  • Urinary Tract Stones
  • Female Urology
    • Urinary Incontinence
    • Pelvic Outlet Relaxation Disorders
  • Genitourinary Trauma
  • Neurology
    • Voiding Disorders
    • Urodynamic Evaluation of Patients
    • Erectile Dysfunction or Impotence

Physician Assistant FAQ

Today you may be seeing our Physician Assistant or PA. Our Physician Assistant is a highly-qualified health care provider. Our Physician Assistant works very closely with your physician to ensure that we provide the best quality specialized care. We hope this brochure will answer any questions you may have regarding our Physician/Physician Assistant team.

General Information

Q. What is a Physician Assistant (PA)?

A. Physician Assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. As pan of their comprehensive responsibilities, Pas conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions. Within the physician-FA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. A PAS practice may also include education, research, and administrative services. PAs are trained in intensive education programs accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA). Because of the close working relationship the PAs have with physicians, PAs are educated in the medical model designed to complement physician training. Upon graduation, physician assistants take a national certification examination developed by the National Commission on Certification of PAs in conjunction with the National Board of Medical examiners. To maintain their national certification, PAs must log 100 hours of continuing medical education every six years. Graduation from an accredited physician assistant program and passage of the national certifying exam are required for state licensure.

Q. How did the Physician Assistant profession begin?

A. ln the mid- l960s, physicians and educators recognized there was a shortage and uneven distribution of primary care physicians. To expand the delivery of quality medical care, Dr. Eugene Stead of the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina put together the first class of PAs in 1965. He selected Navy corpsmen who received considerable medical training during their military service and during the war in Vietnam but who had no comparable civilian employment. He based the curriculum of the PA program in part on his knowledge of the fast-track training of doctors during World War II.

Q. What does "PA-C" stand for? What does the "C" mean?

A. Physician assistant-certified. It means that the person who holds the title has met the defined course of study and has undergone testing by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA). The NCCPA is an independent organization, and the commissioners represent a number of different medical professions. It is not a part of the PA professional organization, the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).To maintain the "C" after "PA," a physician assistant must log 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and take the recertification exam every six years.

Scope of Practice

Q. Where do PAs "draw the line" as far as what they can treat and what a physician can treat?

A. What a physician assistant does varies with training, experience and state law. In addition, the scope of the PAS practice corresponds to the supervising physician's practice. In general, a physician assistant will see many of the same types of patients as the physician. The cases handled by physicians are generally the more complicated medical cases or those cases which require care that is not a routine pan of the PAS scope of work. Referral to the physician, or close consultation between the patient-PA-physician, is done for unusual or hard to manage cases. Physician assistants are taught to "know our limits" and refer to physicians appropriately. It is an important part of the PA training.

Q. Can PAs prescribe medication?

A. All fifty states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have enacted laws that authorize PA prescribing.

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