Visiting a Urologist vs. Primary Care Physician

Visiting a Urologist vs. Primary Care Physician

by Shearly (SU)

When you need an annual checkup, have a lingering illness, or have an unusual pain in a part of your body, it only makes sense to visit your primary care physician (PCP). However, if there is a specific problem or pain and you need a higher level of care, your PCP will refer you to a specialist.

Take, for example, if you’re experiencing a urinary tract infection. Your general practitioner can treat it by prescribing antibiotics, but the underlying cause of the infection probably won’t be addressed. Or if a routine prostate cancer screening indicates a high PSA number, you will need to consult with a urologist to get an accurate diagnosis and advanced treatment options.

How Would a Urologist Help Me?

Urologists are medical specialists when it comes to diagnosing and treating conditions of the genital and urinary tract in both men and women. Still, if you’re wondering when you should visit your primary care physician or when to defer to a urologist, here are some things to consider:

Getting a Referral to See a Urologist

Ordinarily, you need a referral in order to see a urologist and have your visit covered by insurance. If you have an issue with bladder control or symptoms of a urinary tract infection (painful urination, frequent or persistent urge to urinate), see your PCP first.

Your doctor can do an initial evaluation and determine whether you even need to see a urologist. In more severe cases or in acute emergencies, you may prefer to go directly to a specialist.

Special Urologic Training and Knowledge

Urologists are specially trained in reproductive health and in urinary infections. Their training includes five to six years of residency and an optional one to two years of fellowship training in urinary tract diseases and male reproductive health.

Unlike general practitioners, urologists are equipped to diagnose urological conditions and to treat diseases affecting the bladder, kidneys, prostate, testes, and other organs.

ED or UTI Treatment by a Urologist

Got the flu? A sore throat? An ear infection? See your primary doctor. But when it comes to genitourinary health – issues with kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, incontinence, infertility or erectile dysfunction – see a urologist. Urologists address a wide range of specific urinary conditions.

Urologists Can Perform Surgery 

Urologists have the education and background to perform specialty surgery your primary physician cannot. This may include the removal of a stubborn kidney stone, prostate or testicular surgery, or bladder tumor resection to remove and treat cancer. Some of these procedures are performed using robotic surgery or minimally invasive approaches.

Skilled Urologist in Arizona


Regardless of whether you suspect you have a urological condition, you should get all your general screening done by your primary care physician. It is your PCP who will then determine if you need the services of a urologist. Oftentimes, your insurance company will insist that you follow this protocol.

However, if you are experiencing a serious issue with your urinary tract, don’t hesitate to contact the medical experts at Ironwood Urology. We specialize in everything from prostate health to reproductive concerns, and we will gladly work with your primary care doctor to ensure that you receive the best quality medical care.

To book your appointment, call Dr. Desi Avila at (480) 961-2323, or request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you and helping to keep you healthy.