Difference Between Nephrologist and Urologist

Nephrologist and urologist are two types of specialists. Nephrologists work in the areas related to kidneys and urologists work in areas related to male and female urinary tracts and male sex organs. There is a vast area of overlapping between these two disciplines. Kidneys are the organs producing urine, and urinary tracts are the paths bringing that produced urine out of the body. Therefore, these are interrelated by the functioning.


Nephrologists are the specialist doctors who specialize in the field of kidneys. This is an internal medicine specialization. They study internal medicine for 3 years after medical school, followed by a two year fellowship in nephrology. Nephrologists look in to kidney and related problems in adults. Pediatric nephrologists treat children who have similar conditions/complications and should initially complete pediatrics specialization.

Nephrologists learn medical management of renal failure, fluid, acid-base and electrolyte physiology, mineral metabolism, glomerular and vascular disorders, tubular disorders, clinical pharmacology, epidemiology and hypertension. Their duties include diagnosing and management of kidney disease, administration of drugs to regulate blood pressure and to regulate electrolytes, regulating fluid retention and administering dialysis. They also perform procedures such as kidney biopsies, placing dialysis catheters, hemodialysis catheters and peritoneal dialysis catheters. Sometimes complications related to kidneys are related to other organs in the body and kidney failure/disorders can affect other organs, as well. Therefore, nephrologists learn further about those organs in order to provide a better service.


Urologists are the specialist doctors who specialize in the field of female and male urinary tract and male reproductive organs. They treat disorders related to kidneys, adrenal glands, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra and testes, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate and penis. Urologists’ work is also closely related with nephrology, pediatrics, gynecology and etc. This field of specialization is classified under medical and surgical specialty. According to American Urological Association urologists are involved in 8 subspecialties: pediatric urology, urologic oncology, renal transplantation, male infertility, urinary tract stones, female urology, neurourology, and erectile dysfunction. The common treatment fields are treating enlarged prostate, infertility, kidney stones, overactive bladder, prostatitis, sexual dysfunction, urinary tract infections and cancers such as kidney cancer, prostate cancer and bladder cancer etc.

A urologist undergoes extensive practice period. After completing medical school, he/she attend a residency urology program spanning up to 5 years. Like nephrologists they also have to study related organ systems and subjects such as pharmacology.

What is the difference between a Nephrologist and Urologist?

• A nephrologist is a specialized doctor who treats disorders and complications related to kidneys but a urologist is a specialized doctor who treats disorders and complications related to male and female urinary tract and male reproductive organs.

• A nephrologist and a urologist specialize in two different field after completion of medical school. Nephrologists study 3 years of nephrology after medical school and urologists study 5 years of urology.

• A nephrologist specializes in the field of internal medicine, and a urologist’s specialization is considered as a medical and surgical specialty.