New research has found that patients undergoing urology treatment do not always prefer to be treated by a urologist of their own gender.
According to a study by researchers from the University Hospital Munich, around two-thirds of patients expressed some preference regarding the gender of their urologist.
The survey of over 1,000 patients found that both male and female patients would prefer a male urologist in some situations, such as embarrassing or inconvenient conditions that limit their daily activities.
However, both male and female patients with conditions that have painful symptoms are more likely to choose a female urologist.
The team found that patients often choose a urologist of their own gender and believe they would understand their body better and find it easier to talk to them about their condition.
The researchers analyzed questionnaires from 1,012 patients, including patients of all ages, from all educational and economic backgrounds, and with a range of conditions.
They found that overall, two-thirds of patients expressed a preference for a urologist of a particular gender in at least one scenario, which is double the numbers found in previous research.
For both consultations and surgery, around a third of patients expressed a preference for a particular gender. The split was about 60:40 in favor of a male urologist for consultations, but this changed to 80:20 for operations.
Men were more likely to believe that male urologists had more practical skills than females, whereas women were more likely to think that a female urologist would be more empathetic.
The study highlights the need for a more equal mix of male and female clinicians in the field of urology.
The team says that it’s vitally important that any additional barriers which doctors can control—such as the gender of the consultant—are removed, and for that, they need to encourage and support more women in the profession.
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The study was conducted by Dr. Alexander Tamalunas et al.
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