A pediatric urologist is a doctor who specializes in treating children who have urinary or genital conditions. Pediatric urologists can treat problems that develop in an infant’s, child’s, or adolescent’s urinary system (the part of the body that helps you flush toxins and waste from the body by peeing), including the kidneys, bladder, urethra (tube that lets pee out of your body), and the genital tract (reproductive organs inside and outside the body).
What Does a Pediatric Urologist Do?
These doctors are trained to treat a number of genital abnormalities (growths or positioning of genitals on the body) and groin problems like varicocele (swelling of veins in the scrotum).
Pediatric urologists are trained to understand problems and pain in children that can’t be easily expressed by the child. They examine, diagnose, and treat urology and genital problems in children in a comforting and relaxing environment to help put the child at ease. Many of their offices are decorated in ways that appeal to children too, with toys, books, or games.
Education and Training
Because pediatric urologists specialize in treating children with urology and genital problems, they must have expert knowledge of children’s urinary systems, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters (tubes that bring pee to your bladder), and urethra. They spend at least 14 years becoming trained in the medical field and then gaining this specialty.
The education requirements to become a pediatric urologist include:
- A four-year bachelor of science degree
- A four-year doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathy degree
- One to two years of surgical residency
- At least four additional years of general urology residency
- An additional one to three years of fellowship training in pediatric urology
Once all of these requirements are met, doctors will receive a pediatric urology certificate from the American Board of Urology.
During the process of becoming a certified pediatric urologist, the doctors learn how to interact with patients and treat children’s urinary tract conditions. They spend much of their time learning about infant, child, and adolescent urinary conditions in particular.
Reasons to See a Pediatric Urologist
Minor pediatric urology problems like urinary tract infections or genitalia adhesions (tissue that joins parts of your genitals together) can be treated by your child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor. However, when more serious problems occur, you’ll need to see a pediatric urologist.
Common conditions that require an appointment include:
- Swelling around a testicle (hydroceles)
- Undescended testicles (testicles that haven’t dropped by 12 to 18 months of age.)
- Kidney or bladder stones
- Hernias in the groin or scrotum
- Recurrent urinary tract infections with high fever (pyelonephritis or pyelonephritis.)
- Bedwetting in children and teens
- Daytime accidents and bladder control problems
Oftentimes your pediatrician will refer your child to a pediatric urologist if more serious conditions are present.
Pediatric urologists will examine and recommend the level of treatment required for your child’s condition. They provide further counseling to determine if surgery is necessary, and are specialized to operate on your child’s urinary system if needed.
What to Expect at the Pediatric Urologist
At your first meeting with a pediatric urologist, your child can expect a usual physical examination. The pediatric urologist will ask questions to get to know your child’s medical history. They will recommend the proper treatment to resolve your child’s condition.
Next steps may include:
- X-ray imaging of the urinary tract
- Ultrasound of the kidneys and/or bladder
- Testing to measure the urine stream
- Low-dose radiation imaging of kidneys
Pediatric urologists are specialized in caring for children and do all they can to make your child’s experience calm and reassuring. However, determining when to take your child to a pediatric urologist can be tough. When urinary problems reoccur, it might be time to plan a visit to your child’s pediatrician, and from there explore pediatric urologist options.