Most women are already aware of the purpose of a gynecologist doctor, but those who are just entering adulthood may wonder about the purpose of this medical specialty. Often referred to as an OB/GYN, this type of medical professional specializes in women’s health concerns, specifically issues regarding the female reproductive system, breasts, and some issues with the urinary tract. Often these doctors are also obstetricians, hence the OB/GYN title. Obstetricians specialize in the care of pregnant women, delivery of babies, and treatment of fertility issues.
Most women visit a gynecologist doctor annually for a physical exam and overall checkup. This appointment screens for diseases like breast and cervical cancer. These doctors also oversee birth control prescriptions and reproductive health, with the obstetrician aspect taking over when pregnancy is achieved and childbirth nears. While a general practitioner can perform these tasks, the personal nature of the testing and the sensitive areas of the body that are being tested often lend themselves to the hand of a specialist. Many individuals find an OB/GYN to be gentler and also more thorough during these annual tests.
Not all “women’s doctors” practice obstetrics. Many opt not to because the hours required to deliver babies, who often come in the middle of the night, make it difficult to maintain a traditional social or family life. Women who are not pregnant can see a regular gynecologist doctor who does not practice obstetrics. If you are thinking you may be come pregnant in the near future, you may prefer to choose a doctor who practices at a clinic that also has an obstetrician or who carries the secondary specialty, because you may soon need that care.
Choosing an OB/GYN is sometimes a daunting task. After all, this practitioner deals with some of your most private bodily systems, and also screens for potentially deadly diseases. Always find out what doctors on your area have good reputations. You can do this by asking female friends or relatives who live near you, or you can turn to physician rating websites. These will rate doctors based on patient feedback, qualifications and credentials, or a combination of these factors. This gives you a good feel for the best doctors in your area, allowing you to narrow down your search to one or two. Then, schedule a consultation to get to know the doctor and find out if they are a good fit for you and your philosophies about your medical care.
You may also want to consider whether you feel more comfortable seeing a male or a female gynecologist doctor. Because your annual exam will involve a physical examination of the uterus, vagina, and pelvic area, you may feel more comfortable with a female physician. Keep in mind that male doctors are medical professionals who regularly see women in this manner, so there is nothing wrong with choosing a male physician if you think you would feel comfortable with one. It really depends on your level of comfort with the overall examination.