Andrologists are doctors that treat a range of issues related to the male reproductive system and urology organs, specifically relating to fertility, sexual health, and hormonal problems.
Andrologists are required to graduate medical school and earn a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO). Medical school graduates who want to become andrologists will be required to further specialize by completing a residency program and a fellowship program.
Andrology medicine is a subspecialty of urology, so to become an andrologist, doctors will need to gain experience and knowledge of urology first. Future andrologists will need to complete a residency program in urology, and go on to complete a 1-3 year fellowship program specifically in andrology.
Once andrologists earn an M.D. or D.O. in medical school, they are required to pass a state-specific exam to become certified to practice medicine. This exam will allow the doctor to practice any type of medicine in the state and does not demonstrate expertise in any one area of medicine.
Board certification is an elective, but an important way of demonstrating knowledge and skill in one specific area of medicine. Andrologists will need two board certifications from the American Board of Urology: one in urology and one specialty certification in andrology.
Doctors will need to maintain their certification by completing continued learning courses and retaking the certification exams.
Where Andrologists Work
Andrologists work in a variety of settings including private practices, fertility clinics and other outpatient clinics, hospitals, or in research and education.
The average salary for an andrologist is $187,200.
How They Help People
Andrologists are doctors that diagnose a variety of urological conditions in males like reproductive, sexual health and fertility issues. They help patients with conditions like infertility, genital trauma, erectile dysfunction, and cancer.
When patients visit andrologists, the doctor will perform diagnostic tests on a patient, including taking blood, saliva, and urine samples. Common conditions an andrologist can treat include:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Male infertility
- Undescended testicle
- Genital trauma
- Penile and testicular cancer
- Scrotal and testicular disease
- Gender dysphoria
Sexual and infertility problems and cancer cases make up most of the cases andrologists see. Studies have shown that about 10-15 percent of couples have trouble conceiving and that a couple's infertility problems are centered on the male about half of the time. Male fertility problems can be the result of genital trauma, low sperm count, or hormone imbalances. Andrologists will perform a variety of surgical and nonsurgical procedures to diagnose and treat male fertility including:
- Spermatogenesis, or sperm mapping, to determine if sperm production is normal
- Sperm revival to collect sperm from the organs in men who are unable to ejaculate
- Varicocele repair, the most common treatment for male infertility is enlarged veins in the scrotum
- Ejaculatory duct resection, the correction of the ejaculatory duct
- Sperm mapping to determine if sperm revival is necessary
- Non-surgical fertility treatments including medication, lifestyle changes, and knowledge about sexual cycles and fertile periods
- Sexually transmitted disease testing
- Tests to check for blockages and retrograde ejaculation, sperm that travels in the wrong direction
- Tests for environmental factors for infertility
Non-surgical treatments often involve some form of hormone injections that can work on their own or can help boost the effect of other fertility drugs.
Medical Negligence and Andrologists
Andrologists focus on a variety of men's health issues, many of which are interconnected and can cause complications in different parts of the body when not treated immediately. Medical studies have shown that men who experience erectile dysfunction are on track to also experience cardiovascular problems.
In addition to treating male fertility and sexual conditions, andrologists provide overall care to balance testosterone levels, improve lipids, and regulate the cardiovascular system. It is important that andrologists complete the proper diagnostic tests on their patients, that they correctly interpret the results of these tests, and that they communicate the results with the patient and other doctors on the patient's health care team.
About 7.3 million couples in the United States are affected by infertility. In about half of those cases, men are the contributing cause. Studies have shown that men who are found to have two or more sperm abnormalities in an examination face a doubled risk of death in the next 8 years. Sexual issues and fertility issues in men are often a signal of greater problems to come.
Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorneys
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury while under the care of an andrologist, you should talk with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
The attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian have a track record of success in protecting the rights of malpractice victims across Maryland. Medical malpractice cases are often very complex. Gilman & Bedigian has a licensed physician on staff who will consult with attorneys about your case to locate any instances of malpractice.
Call our offices today at (800) 529-6162 to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options.