Women prefer to see female urologists. Problem is, there’s a shortage of them.
A recent study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found urology has one of the highest gender disparities. Of an estimated 9,600 U.S. certified urologists, between 8 percent and 12 percent are women, according to findings published in The Journal of Urology.
“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,” says lead author Daniel Oberlin, MD, chief urology resident at Feinberg, in a press release.
What’s more, female urologists performed a higher proportion of gender-neutral procedures, surgeries that could be performed on either male or female patients, on female patients.
Researchers analyzed six-month case logs of more than 6,000 certifying urologists from 2003 to 2012. Women represented 54 percent of patients for female urologists, and 32 percent for male urologists.
Compounding the shortage is a growing demand of female patients. Researchers attribute the demand to a diminishing stigma of age-related incontinence, meaning women are comfortable enough to seek help.