Urologists specialize in treatments that focus on the urinary tract, bladder, kidneys, adrenal glands and the male reproductive system. A primary care physician will refer patients to this specialist when their needs indicate specific treatments are required.
Who Should See a Urologist?
Men, women and even children may need the specialized care a urologist offers if they are experiencing acute or chronic conditions that cannot be treated by their primary physician. Some urologists may further specialize their practice to treat age-related issues, the male reproductive system, women’s urological needs or pediatric care.
If your physician has referred you to the services of a urologist, it is likely because you are experiencing issues that exceed the scope of general care. Discuss your needs with your referring physician to determine if your condition requires a urologist with a specific focus to better suit your treatment plan.
What Conditions Do Urologists Treat?
A broad range of medical conditions related to the function of the urinary system and male reproductive organs fall under the scope of a urologist’s practice:
- Chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs). Although more common in women, anybody can develop a urinary tract infection and certain environmental or medical conditions can cause UTIs to recur frequently. These factors should be examined closely to treat and reduce the number of occurrences.
- Bladder issues. Age-related incontinence or incontinence caused by other issues with the urinary system, such as a bladder prolapse or bladder cancer, can be treated with medication and, in some cases where it’s appropriate, surgery.
- Medical conditions involving the kidneys. Renal failure can be fatal if not treated properly. Urologists can help design an effective treatment plan to restore kidney function or perform a kidney transplant.
- Male reproductive health. Much like a gynecologist who focuses on women’s reproductive health, urologists can focus on the full spectrum of male reproductive health through all stages in life.
Depending on the treatment required for any given issue, a urologist may use diagnostic tests and tools to refine their diagnosis and choose which procedures or prescriptions are necessary for your needs. Urinalysis, or a urine test, is commonly used to check kidney function or to look for the presence of blood or bacteria in the urine stream. An initial physical examination is also common. Imaging tests may be ordered in some cases where diagnosis is not readily apparent.
Medicare Coverage for a Urologist
The circumstances under which you are seen by a urologist may determine which part of your Medicare benefits cover the costs associated with that visit. If you’re seen as an inpatient during a hospital stay, Medicare Part A will apply. If you schedule appointments with a urologist in an outpatient setting, Medicare Part B may help cover the cost of your care and services.
Any deductibles, copays and coinsurance amounts will also factor into your coverage terms and any out-of-pocket expenses you may face. Cost-sharing obligations may also apply to any diagnostic tests and procedures a urologist orders. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you may need a referral from your primary care physician before you see a urologist or undergo tests or treatment.