What Are Urology and Nephrology?
Many people who have little to do with medicine confuse a nephrologist and a urologist. Both these specialists deal with urologic diseases, but what is the difference?
A nephrologist is a physician specializing in kidney diseases. This doctor diagnoses and treats such conditions as cystitis, pyelonephritis, glomerulonephritis, chronic kidney disease, kidney stone disease, etc. Nephrologists also observe and treat patients who have undergone kidney transplantation. A nephrologist is a specialized doctor, who may provide care to children or adults.
A urologist is a surgeon. This doctor is mainly engaged in surgeries for urogenital disorders as well as operations on kidneys; the specialist also assesses the reasonability of surgical treatment in each particular case. Nephrologists often work in collaboration with urologists: this practice is especially popular abroad. Joint patient management makes treatment more effective and speeds up the recovery of patients.
The Most Common Diseases
The most common diseases nephrologists and urologists deal with are:
- phimosis and paraphimosis;
- urethral strictures;
- kidney stone disease;
Everybody should know signs that can indicate urologic diseases:
- lower back or lower abdominal pain and discomfort;
- changed urine nature and volume;
- high blood pressure;
- facial swelling;
- fatigue and performance impairment;
In most cases, the patient with a urologic disorder experiences two or more of the above symptoms. Sometimes a nephrologist or urologist can be unavailable for an immediate consultation; in this situation, you should first visit a therapist: they will be able to analyze the chief complaints and symptoms and refer you to the specialist you need.
Urologic Diseases Treatment Methods
Clinics possessing modern equipment use laser and radio-wave surgery to treat urologic diseases. As these techniques were introduced, surgeons managed to make urologic operations much less traumatizing. After minimally invasive surgeries, the patient does not need to stay in the hospital under medical supervision for a long time: after a day or two, they can get recommendations and go home. Moreover, such operations imply barely visible scars and a low risk of complications.
Before being operated on, the patient must undergo a long list of diagnostic examinations. Their results are used to assess the general health, possible contraindications to surgery, and risk of intraoperative complications. On a day before the surgery, the patient must be examined by an anesthesiologist, who is to render an anesthetic and stay with the patient throughout the operation.
Nephrologists use drug therapy for kidney diseases. They most often prescribe these medications to patients with urinary disorders:
- antibiotics—if the disease is definitely caused by bacteria;
- anti-inflammatory drugs—to control inflammation of organs and tissues;
- hormones—for severe inflammation or if the disease has an autoimmune nature;
- diuretics—to promote diuresis (production of urine);
- cytotoxic agents—for tumors, to stop spreading of malignant cells and treat certain inflammatory glomerular diseases;
- antispasmodics and painkillers—for symptomatic treatment.
Patients with kidney disorders should follow a certain diet and water schedule. In case the disorders are secondary, the therapeutic strategy is aimed at eliminating the root cause. Some symptomatic therapy can be prescribed to relieve pain, make the patient feel better, and suppress other symptoms in order to improve the person’s overall condition.
Rehabilitation is equally essential in urologic or nephrology conditions. Urologists chiefly use surgery to cure their patients, which is often associated with trauma and damage to tissues. For example, urinary tract injuries may require nephrectomy or removal of the ureter; there are cases of bladder perforation. Such surgeries are quite complicated, so postoperative rehabilitation is an indispensable element of therapy. There is a direct correlation between rehabilitation, its quality and timeliness and the rate of restoration of the operated organ functioning, and the person’s return to the usual mode of life.
The main areas of rehabilitation in kidney and urologic disorders:
- curing enuresis;
- overcoming emotional distress;
- social rehabilitation;
- reversing sexual dysfunction;
- prevention of infectious complications;
- general rehabilitation.
All these tasks are interwoven with each other, having a powerful joint effect on the body. For example, restoring sexual function has a direct impact on psychological comfort and private life. A psychologist’s work is important here: it is essential to change a person’s attitude to their problem to start solving it effectively. The patients should not forget to visit their doctor after the treatment and monitor their health in order to avoid any relapses.