Health Care Providers: Nephrologists
What Is Nephrology?
Nephrology (nih-FROL-uh-jee) is the medical specialty that treats diseases and problems of the kidneys.
What Is a Nephrologist?
A nephrologist (nih-FROL-uh-jist) is a doctor who cares for people with diseases and conditions that affect the kidneys.
Why Would Someone Need One?
Nephrologists diagnose and treat problems such as:
- hematuria (blood in urine)
- kidney stones
- short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic) kidney disease
- missing or abnormally formed kidneys
They do medical tests and procedures such as:
They can also work with a transplant team to care for people who need a kidney transplant.
What Is Their Training?
A nephrologist's training typically includes:
- 4 years of pre-medical education at a college or university
- 4 years of medical school — a medical degree (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree
- 3 years of training in a pediatric or internal medicine residency program
- a nephrology or pediatric nephrology fellowship program. A “fellow” is a doctor who did more specialty training after completing medical school and residency training.
Some nephrologists go on to further specialize; for example, in transplant nephrology or critical care nephrology.
Good to Know
Nephrologists often work closely with urologists. They each have a slightly different focus but there is some overlap in the care they give. Nephrologists treat people with kidney problems. Urologists treat people with problems of the urinary tract and kidneys.