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Urologists are both advisors and qualified specialist surgeons of the urinary tract region, such as the kidneys, uterus, prostate and bladder. They diagnose and treat a wide range of disorders affecting the male reproductive system and the urinary tracts of both men and women.

The urogenital system is a triumph of biological engineering. The urinary tract is a vital part of the waste or excretory disposal network. About a litre of blood flows through the kidneys every minute and from this, the kidneys extract water and wastes and release urine. The urine then moves to the bladder through narrow tubes, the ureters.

Urologists often work closely with other specialists, such as nephrologists, endocrinologists and oncologists, since all of these areas are related. Urologists may in fact work in a clinic that offers various medical services and procedures to patients.

There are eight subspecialty areas of urology: paediatric urology, urologic oncology, renal transplantation, male infertility, urinary tract stones, female urology, neurourology, and erectile dysfunction or impotence. Paediatric urologists treat urological problems in children, including hypospadius and circumcisions. Urologic oncologists treat cancers of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs, including the prostate, bladder, penile and testicular cancers in men, and kidney and bladder cancers in women. Renal transplantation specialists perform kidney transplants and male infertility specialists work with men to treat problems in fathering children.

Specialists in urinary tract stones treat kidney stones, which are formed when urine becomes too concentrated and chemicals that usually dissolve, crystallise instead, sometimes causing severe pain. Kidney stones can be removed surgically and can usually be prevented from reoccurring. Female urologists diagnose and treat urinary incontinence, pelvic outlet relaxation disorders, and genitourinary trauma. Neurourology is the area that treats disorders caused by neurological trauma, or neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, or spina bifida. Finally, some doctors specialise in erectile dysfunction or impotence and help men who have difficulties achieving or sustaining an erection.

Satisfying Aspects
- satisfaction of helping people
- finding cures for medical conditions
- working with a wide range of people

Demanding aspects
- working long or irregular hours to meet the needs of patients
- many years of study required
- having patients who do not respond well to treatment
- being on call in case of emergencies

- pay attention to detail
- interested in helping people
- have excellent communication skills
- professional and ethical
- tactful and kind
- enjoy finding solutions to problems

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Note: Competition to enter medical studies is stiff and there are usually many applicants with excellent grades who would naturally be given preference.

MBChB degree at UP, UCT, UFS, Wits, US, UL, UKZN:
- Theoretical training: 6 years
- Student internship: 1 year
- Practical work at a hospital: 1 year (also known as the house doctor year)

Post-graduate study for specialization as an urologist: 3 - 5 years - e.g. UFS, US, UL, Wits.

Additional Requirements: before commencing post-graduate study for specialization as an urologist, the candidate must:

- be in possession of a MBChB degree for 2 years
- be registered as a medical doctor with the Interim Medical and Dental Council (IMDC) of South Africa for 1 year.

Registration: On successful completion of the examination to qualify as a specialist, the candidate must register with the IMDC as a urologist.

- universities and colleges
- research organizations
- state departments
- hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities
- private practice

Urological Association of South Africa (SAUA)
Tel: (033) 345-7872 Fax: (033) 342-7142