Gynecologists specialize in the health and disorders of the female reproductive system, whereas urologists deal with the urinary system of both sexes and with the male reproductive system. Gynecologists are often obstetricians as well, providing medical oversight of pregnancy and childbirth.
Gynecologists perform annual preventive breast and pelvic exams, evaluate mammograms and take Pap smear specimens. They diagnose and treat menstruation and menopausal disorders, female sexual disorders and sexually transmitted diseases, breast and ovarian cancers and other female conditions. Some gynecologists oversee women's health care in general. Gynecology is the medical specialization that screens for signs of domestic violence.
Urologists treat urinary problems such as bladder infections, blockages, overactive bladder, incontinence and urinary tract stones. They perform prostate exams and treat enlarged prostates. They also cover male infertility and erectile dysfunction. Urologists provide care for some renal conditions as well, such as transplants and end-stage renal disease. Urology is a surgical specialty, though medical treatments are usually part of a urologist's practice. Some urologists have sub-specialties in pediatric urology or urologic oncology.
Overlap between gynecology and urology occurs in areas such as congenital anomalies and female incontinence.
Urology residencies are at least five years long, though someone wanting to focus on urologic surgery may do two years of a general surgery residency, then three years of urology residency. Doctors going into a urology sub-specialty complete one to two years of post-residency fellowship.
Gynecology residencies last at least four years and typically include training in obstetrics. Subspecialties such as gynecologic oncology and family planning usually require three years of fellowship training after residency.