Key difference: Nephrologists deal with disorders of the kidney. Urologists are surgeons who deal with disorders of the urinary tract.
Many do not know the difference between an urologist and a nephrologist. This is mainly because their respective fields of specialty are closely related. Basically, nephrologists deal with disorders of the kidney, while urologists deal with the urinary tract. The kidneys are the organs that make urine, while the urinary tract takes the urine from the kidney to the outside.
Nephrology is a specialty of Internal Medicine. A nephrologist is a physician who has been trained in the diagnosis and management of kidney disease. A nephrologist is not a surgeon and will treat kidney disorders by non-surgical methods, such as, regulating blood pressure, regulating electrolytes, balancing fluids in the body, and administering medicines and dialysis.
One will usually be referred to a nephrologist, in case of kidney disorders, such as acid-base disorders, electrolyte disorders, nephrolithiasis (kidney stones), hypertension, acute kidney disease and end-stage renal disease.
Urology, on the other hand, is a medical and surgical specialty that focuses on the urinary tract. Urologists are surgeons who are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with urological disorders. Their areas of specialty are the male and female urinary tracts, which include kidneys, adrenal glands, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra. They also treat the male reproductive system, which includes testes, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate and penis.
The field of urology is quite vast and is closely related to, and in some cases overlaps with, the medical fields of nephrology, oncology, gynecology, andrology, pediatric surgery, gastroenterology, and endocrinology.