What is a gynecologist?
It is rather important for women to have routine checkups with their gynecologist. A gynecologist is a medical doctor and/or surgeon who is specialized in the female reproductive system.The female reproductive system includes the cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, vagina and the vulva. If a woman is having menstrual problems, questions about contraception, sexuality, menopause and/or infertility issues – they are able to talk to their gynecologist and are also typically diagnosed and treated by a gynecologist. Most gynecologists will also be certified to provide prenatal care, and some also provide primary care.
Why is it important to see a gynecologist?
It is very important for every woman to be invested in preventative health care. Preventative health includes having regular checkups or gynecologic examinations, even when no symptoms have presented themselves, and also conducting screening tests. Screening tests are typically done before people have any symptoms and this is to check for any disorders that can be prevented or treated effectively if they are recognized early. However, recommendations for women’s screenings sometimes change as new technology advances and evidence becomes available.
Some women go to their gynecologist and expect them to provide general routine care as well as gynecologic care. General medical care may include counseling on general health and routine screenings for some or all of the following:
- High blood pressure
- High levels of cholesterol and other fats
- Tobacco usage
- Alcohol usage
- Drug usage
Women should have an evaluation every year, and they should begin this starting at about age 13 to 18. A pelvic examination, however, is not usually done before age 21 unless there is a problem that needs to be addressed, such as irregular periods, pelvic pain, or abnormal vaginal discharge. Doctors will test sexually active adolescents for sexually transmitted diseases, this can be done sometimes without requiring a pelvic examination. Pelvic examinations are recommended for all women, especially starting at the age of 21. However, a woman can talk with her health care practitioner about whether having these examinations at this age is what is recommended and if not, when should they start and how often they need to be done. Also, at the age of 21, most women should start having screening tests for cervical cancer. This test is known as pap smear.
For their gynecologic care, a woman should definitely choose a health care professional with whom she feels completely comfortable discussing sensitive topics. Topics such as sex, birth control, pregnancy, and problems related to menopause can be embarrassing topics to bring up with a doctor, but it is extremely vital to be able to talk about things of this nature for your health.
Gynecologic evaluation of young adolescent girls can at times be done by their pediatrician. Partner with their doctor to find out if this is part of their specialty. However, if the pediatrician cannot set some time aside for the girl to speak privately about her personal concerns or is reluctant and cannot provide gynecologic care, another health care practitioner should be sought out for this type of care.
The visit to your gynecologist is the time to ask your doctor questions about reproductive and sexual function of your human anatomy. This also includes safe sexual practices, such as the usage of condoms to help minimize the risks of getting sexually transmitted diseases.
If you have any questions call us today at one of our three locations near you in Virginia. We have the best OBGYN’s at Capital Women’s Care.