Dermatologist & Venereologist (Skin Doctor)?
Dermatology is a branch of medicine which focuses on conditions of the skin, along with sweat glands, hair, and other related body parts. There are numerous branches of dermatology, from cosmetic dermatology which focuses on elective procedures to immunodermatology, the study of conditions of the skin caused by immune system problems. People may receive referrals to a specialist in dermatology for skin problems which clearly require the attention of someone with special training; many people visit a dermatologist at some point in their lives for things ranging from dry skin to pre-cancerous moles.
In order to become a dermatologist, someone must first attend four years of medical school to receive a general education in the basics of anatomy, physiology, and the practice of medicine. After medical school, the would-be skin care doctor attends a medical residency which focuses specifically on the practice of dermatology. He or she may elect to attend an additional residency in a sub specialty of dermatology such as pediatric dermatology.
The skin is a very important body organ, and a wide range of conditions can involve the health of the skin; people who study dermatology are actually widely trained in a number of medical fields. A dermatologist can examine problem areas of skin to determine what is causing the problem, and recommend an appropriate course of action. For a condition like dry skin, this might involve medication, dietary changes, or the use of creams and oils to condition the skin. For something such as suspicious looking moles, the dermatologist might take a biopsy to find out whether or not the mole is malignant, and he or she may remove the mole if it proves to be cancerous.
Since the skin is such a visible body part, practices in cosmetic dermatology can be very profitable, because many people seek medical attention to change their physical appearance in an attempt to meet beauty standards. A cosmetic dermatologist may perform everything from liposuction to Botox® procedures with the intent of creating a desired look. In people with conditions which cause severe disfigurement, such as port wine stains, a cosmetic dermatologist can also make a radical difference by normalizing the patient's appearance and freedom of movement, allowing the patient to live a normal life.
The skin is the body's first line of defense. It is important to take good care of your skin, and to keep track of changes in the appearance and texture of your skin which might signify problematic conditions like cancer. You should go to a dermatologist if you notice radical changes in your skin, or if you want to seek treatment for things like painful burn scars, irritatingly dry skin, or spider veins, among many other conditions.
Venereology is a branch of medicine which focuses on the study and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In many regions of the world, venereology is treated as a branch ofdermatology, because many of the conditions studied by venereologists result in skin eruptions and other skin problems. As a result, many people in this field belong to an academy of dermatology and venereology, being trained as dermatologists first and later specializing in the study of sexually transmitted infections.
The terms “sexually transmitted infection” and “sexually transmitted disease (STD)” are often used interchangeably, with both being used as a replacement for the now outdated term “venereal disease (VD).” However, some people do distinguish between an STI and an STD. If someone has an STI, it means that an infectious agent is present in the body, but not necessarily causing symptoms, and he or she may be infected and contagious without realizing it. By contrast, when someone has an STD, he or she is experiencing the active symptoms of disease as a result of an infection with an organism which can be passed through sexual contact.
Bacteria, fungi, protozoa, parasites, and viruses can all cause sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, candidiasis, herpes simplex, gonorrhea, human papilloma virus, syphilis, and trichomonoiasis. Venereologists study all of these conditions, looking at the ways in which they can be transmitted, the pathology of the disease, and the treatment options for patients. Those working in active medical practice provide treatment to patients, while those working in research may work on methods of prevention or the development of new treatments.
Sexually transmitted infections are a major problem in many regions of the world. While patients do not specifically need to see a venereologist for treatment, since many general practitioners can provide an appropriate prescription, sometimes patients benefit from seeing a specialist. Specialists can help patients struggling with drug resistant conditions, or with the long term management of infections which cannot be completely cured. Specialists in venereology also provide education to patients and members of the general public.
Work in venereology can be complicated by social issues and moral norms. Venereologists need to think not only about the mechanics of how infectious agents are passed, but the culture in the society where they are working, and the ways in which cultural values may contribute to the spread of infectious agents. Outreach programs to patients and the general public have to be done with care to avoid causing offense, and to ensure that information is provided in an accessible way.