A new study has found there are too few female urologists to meet the growing demand. Female patients often prefer a female urologist, but unfortunately this particular medical field still remains dominated by males. An urologist specialized in the urinary tract system and male reproductive system health, but women are referred to see an urologist more often than men.
The researchers analyzed data from patients between 2003 and 2012 for over 6,000 urologists in America. Fifty-four percent of patients for female urologists were females, and male urologists only dealt with 32 percent of female patients.
Of an estimated 9,600 U.S. urologists, only eight to 12 percent are female.
Senior study author Dr. Sarah Flury said, “Every day in my practice I hear women say, ‘Oh, I’m so glad you’re here. It has taken me a long time to find a woman in this field.’ In some smaller cities, there isn’t a single female urologist.”
“The field has been lacking in gender equality. There is an unmet need,” added Dr. Flury.
The main reason women see an urologist in older age is due to incontinence. With less stigma associated with a leaky bladder nowadays, more women are seeking out medical advice for their condition.
Lead author Dr. Daniel Oberlin added, “In many medical specialties there is a discrepancy between men and women in the field, but urology has one of the largest gender disparities.”
“We often assume that a physician’s training, experience, and expertise may influence the type of patients they treat, yet this is the first time we have shown that a surgeon’s gender alone will shape the gender of patients they see in clinic,” Dr. Oberlin added.
There is a strong need for more women to pursue urology, as Oberlin added, “The misconception is urology tends to deal with male issues, but we deal with the kidneys, bladder, and entire urinary tract — a lot of organs that affect women.”