Urologist or Gynecologist? Who Treats Which Conditions?

May 09,2022 |
Woman asking her doctor questions.

Aside from the reproductive organs, male and female urologic systems are fairly similar. Regardless of small deviances in the urinary tract system, urologists treat both men and women experiencing issues. Urologists are also trained to treat conditions of the male reproductive system. While the reproductive organs in women are complex and intertwined within the urologic system, it does not mean that they’re in the same network. They’re separate systems that work in close proximity. Due to their complexities and inherent differences, women often need to see a gynecologist for certain conditions and a urologist for others. Here, to help you better understand whether you need to see a urologist or a gynecologist, we’ll discuss who treats which condition.


Conditions Treated by Urologists

Urologists specialize in the urinary tract system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. They’re also experienced in treating male reproductive issues and conditions unique to the male anatomy. Some of the most common conditions treated by urologists include the following:

Overactive Bladder (OAB)

Overactive bladder is actually a term that’s used to describe a range of urinary symptoms rather than a disease itself. These symptoms regularly include urinary frequency, urgency, nocturia, or other disruptive symptoms that can decrease the quality of your life. There are a number of underlying conditions that can cause OAB, which is why working with a urologist is important for receiving an accurate diagnosis. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to manage overactive bladder and reduce the severity of symptoms. 

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence refers to the involuntary leaking of urine. It can happen either in small amounts periodically or large amounts throughout the day. Incontinence is usually a symptom of overactive bladder, but it can also occur independently. Due to the physical changes a woman experiences during childbirth and menopause, incontinence is more common.

Urinary Tract Infections

A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria get into the urinary tract. If left untreated, the bacteria can travel up the urinary tract system and spread the infection to the urethra, bladder, ureter, or kidneys. This can lead to serious complications that create long-lasting issues. If you’re experiencing a urinary tract infection (UTI), a urologist can perform diagnostics and provide treatment. This is a fairly common condition that affects both men and women throughout their lives.

Kidney Stones

Another reason that individuals of both sexes see a urologist is due to the formation of kidney stones. These stones occur when excess salts and minerals—calcium, oxalate, and uric acid—in the urine slowly begin to form into crystals within the kidney. Kidney stones can range anywhere from small stones to large, uncomfortable ones that require additional therapy to treat. A urologist can help break up the stones, so they aren’t getting stuck in the ureter and causing pain.


Hematuria is the medical term for the presence of blood in the urine. This can indicate bleeding from one or more parts of the urinary tract system. Hematuria may indicate that there is bleeding from the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra, which should be addressed by a urologist. While it’s not always indicative of a serious condition, it’s still important to get checked out.

Neurologic Bladder Diseases

Neurogenic bladder is a neurologic condition where the brain and the bladder fail to communicate effectively. This could be caused by spinal cord or nerve problems, weakening muscles, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions. Oftentimes, neurogenic bladder results in problems with emptying the bladder and requires treatment to address the issue.

Male Reproductive Conditions

A urologist also specializes in the treatment of male reproductive organs and adrenal glands. Some of these conditions include benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH or enlarged prostate), erectile disfunction, low testosterone levels, priapism, testicular torsion, sexually transmitted infections, prostate cancer, penile cancer, and more. If you notice any symptoms that may be indicative of one of these conditions, contact your urologist. It's also important to see your urologist regularly after the age of 40 to undergo digital rectal exams and monitor for prostate cancer.


Conditions Treated by Gynecologists

Gynecologists specialize in the female reproductive system. This includes diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the vagina, uterus, and ovaries. Some of the most common conditions treated by gynecologists include the following:

Ovarian and Uterine Cancers

Cellular growth happens within our bodies every single second. When cancer occurs, it’s because the cells begin growing abnormally or out of control. This can lead to tumors that become cancerous and, depending on where they’re located, difficult to treat. Gynecologists help treat women who experience cancer in the ovaries or uterus. To catch these issues before they proliferate, women should see their gynecologist regularly to undergo cervical examinations and PAP smears.

Yeast Infections

Yeast infections occur due to a fungal infection in the vagina. This often occurs when the body’s natural amount of yeast, bacteria, and candida is out of balance. Normally, the bacteria would keep yeast growth to a minimum, but if this good bacterium declines it can result in an overgrowth of yeast. Symptoms of these infections include itching, irritation, and swelling. They’re easily treatable, but can mimic symptoms of more serious conditions, which is why it’s important to see a gynecologist for the proper diagnosis.


Endometriosis is a painful disorder that involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue that lines the pelvis. It occurs when the tissue that lines your uterus—the endometrium—begins to grow on the external walls. The tissue outside of your uterus acts in the same way that it would when inside—it thickens, breaks downs, and bleeds during each menstrual cycle. Since the tissue that’s shedding has no way to leave your body, it becomes trapped and can cause severe pain. A gynecologist can offer effective treatments for this condition.


Menopause is the period of a woman’s life when her reproductive abilities end. Specifically, menopause refers to a point in time 12 months after a woman’s last period. This can take years to happen, through a period called perimenopause. Most women experience a range of symptoms during perimenopause as hormones fluctuate and your body adapts to new balances. This often occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but it can happen earlier or later.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Gynecologists can also diagnose and treat sexually transmitted infections in women. Since diagnostic tests are easily performed during regular vaginal exams, many women get them done simultaneously. Gynecologists also regularly test for the human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause cancer or genital warts. Warts can be removed, and cells monitored for cancerous growth, but there is no treatment to eliminate the presence of HPV.

Other Reasons to See a Gynecologist

Some other reasons that women may need to see a gynecologist include issues with their menstrual cycle such as breakthrough bleeding, painful periods, or abnormal cycles. You should also see a gynecologist if you experience increased vaginal discharge, color changes in vaginal discharge, unusual vaginal odor, lumps or sores in the vaginal area, pain or discomfort during sex, itching, swelling, or soreness, low libido, or other issues with your reproductive system.


What is a Urogynecologist?

Since the urinary tract system and reproductive system are so closely intertwined, there are a few grey areas between who treats what. For example, both urologists and gynecologists can treat incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. Due to these overlaps, some doctors decide to specialize in both urology and gynecology to become a urogynecologist.

A urogynecologist targets issues that are specific to both the pelvic floor and the bladder. This includes everything from overactive bladders to reproductive issues and incontinence. These specialists are considered to be in the field of gynecology and obstetrics, and therefore address pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. Although this is a fairly new field of study, it helps women reduce the number of doctors they need to see per year while maintaining a high level of care. Urogynecologists can provide diagnostic testing, medications, injections, vaginal pessary, pelvic floor muscle training, nerve stimulation, surgery, and more.

If you’re experiencing any symptoms that indicate an issue, it’s important to see the right doctor. For a more personal approach to urologic conditions and issues revolving around the female reproductive organs, consider finding a urogynecologist in your area. Otherwise, see your urologist for urinary tract symptoms and your gynecologist for symptoms associated with reproductive organs. There are several treatment options available for both types of conditions to help you manage uncomfortable, embarrassing, or annoying symptoms. To find more information on improving your urologic health, or for support of common urologic conditions, contact Byram Healthcare today

Byram Healthcare is a member of the National Association for Continence’s Trusted Partners Program, whose mission is to provide quality continence care through education, collaboration and advocacy. We continue to build partnerships in the clinical community to ensure we focus on what’s best for the patient.