Urogynecologists and urologists are both types of doctors. As such, they both spend many years in training. Between college, medical school, and a residency, they may spend 10 or 11 years learning the more basic aspects of their chosen disciplines.
What is a urogynecologist?
A urogynecologist is a reconstructive surgeon who specializes in treating disorders involving the pelvic region. Their patients are women with pelvic floor disorders or conditions involving the organs, muscles or connective tissues in the pelvic area.
They, therefore, treat various types of incontinence, severe constipation, and prolapse of the bladder or uterus. They do not, however, treat any cancer. Nor do they treat kidney stones or deformed kidneys.
Urogynecology is considered a subspecialty of obstetrics and gynecology. A urogynecologist has usually finished their OB/GYN residency, which takes four years, and then followed it up with a fellowship. During the fellowship, which lasts two or three years, the doctor will learn to evaluate and treat pelvic floor disorders.
As of 2012, urogynecologists can become board certified, which means they have taken and passed standardized tests administered by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. A board certified urogynecologist’s title will be followed by FPMRS, which stands for Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.
A primary care physician or OB/GYN is likely to recommend a urogynecologist in cases of pelvic organ prolapse, certain types of vaginal surgery, problems emptying the bladder or bowels, and incontinence that isn’t responding to medications.
What is a urologist?
A urologist specializes in treating disorders of the urogenital system which covers the male and female urinary tract systems and male reproductive organs Thus urologists may treat disorders involving organs like the bladder, kidneys, testicles, and urethra. He may embark on fellowships that specialize in such fields as reconstruction of the urethra and “female” urology after completing a residency that takes five or six years.
During their residency, the urologist may spend the first 12 months learning general surgical techniques. He then spends three years learning clinical urology. The last year of the residency is spent learning techniques relevant to the urologist’s chosen field. Some of these fields can overlap with the specialties of the urogynecologist. Some urologists may also undertake Masters or Ph.D. programs to become instructors.
While urogynecologists treat only women, urologists can treat both men and women. Some urologists do specialize in treating only one sex, however. Others may concentrate on a given medical problem, like kidney transplants or erectile dysfunction.
Contact the office of Dr. Sherry Thomas today for further information or to schedule your appointment.