Should Women See a Urologist?

June 24, 2021

Clinical Contributors to this Story

Michael Lasser, M.D.

It’s a common misconception that urologists are just for men. While one of their specialities is the male reproductive system, they also treat all sorts of urinary tract problems in both men and women.

“We see women for any and all symptoms in the pelvis or urinary tract,” says Michael Lasser, M.D., urologist and medical director of robotic surgery at JFK Medical Center. “Most of the things that urologists treat, such as kidney stones or cancer, can occur in both men and women. And then there are conditions like pelvic organ prolapse that we only see in women.”

Here are five of the most common reasons a woman might go to a urologist:

  1. Kidney Stones – Kidney stones are small, hard deposits of mineral and salts that can form inside your kidneys. They can cause severe pain in your side and lower back, blood in your urine and nausea or vomiting. Other symptoms include pain or burning during urination and fever.
  2. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) – UTIs occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract and are more common in women than in men. Symptoms include pain or burning when urinating, frequent urination, urine that looks cloudy, red or bright pink and a fever.
  3. Kidney or Bladder Cancers – These cancers are often found incidentally, says Dr. Lasser. “People might get a CT scan for appendicitis or a gallbladder issue, and we find a tumor that otherwise is asymptomatic and very treatable,” he says. When symptoms do occur, they can be blood in the urine or symptoms similar to those from UTIs or kidney stones.
  4. Urinary Incontinence – Urinary incontinence is the loss of bladder control and is more common in women than men. Pregnancy, childbirth and menopause can all affect the urinary tract and surrounding muscles, causing anything from small leakages when you sneeze to sudden, strong urges that can result in accidents.
  5. Pelvic Organ Prolapse – This is a condition where the muscles in the pelvis can no longer support the pelvic organs—the bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum. A common problem experienced by many women, it’s linked to childbirth and aging. It can feel like your bladder is dropping, with pain or pressure in the pelvis or lower back. Other symptoms include problems with your bowels and pain during sex.

If you notice any blood in your urine, are having pain or burning when urinating, or are going to the bathroom more often than normal, these are all good reasons to consider seeing a urologist, regardless of if you’re a man or a woman.

What Is a Urogynecologist?

Alternately, a women might choose to see a urogynecologist, a gynecologist with additional training in treating bladder control problems and other conditions of the female reproductive system and urinary tract. “Both urologists and urogynecologists can treat pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence,” says Dr. Lasser.

What’s the difference between a urologist and a urogynecologist?

  • A urologist specializes in the management of all aspects of the female and male urinary tract, including incontinence, pelvic prolapse and urinary tract infections.
  • A urogynecologist diagnoses and treats various conditions of a woman’s pelvic organs, including incontinence, pelvic prolapse and pelvic floor disorders.
  • A urogynecologist treats only women, while a urologist may treat men and women.

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The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.