What is a Gynecologist?
Gynecologists are doctors who specialize in the care of women’s reproductive and sexual health. They can diagnose and treat ailments related to the reproductive health of women. A gynecologist will perform various tests to ensure the health of their patient. It is also commonplace to seek gynecological care when a woman needs birth control.
How Often Should You See a Gynecologist?
There are several answers to this question depending on your age, health condition, and needs. It is a general rule of thumb to begin seeing a gynecologist when a woman starts menstruating. Some other sources may say to start seeing a gynecologist when a woman becomes sexually active. If you are to base your decision on age, typically, a woman should start seeing a gynecologist between the ages of thirteen and fifteen. No matter when you choose to see a gynecologist, you should always go in for an annual yearly check-up.
If you are experiencing sexual or reproductive health issues, you may need to see your gynecologist more frequently. Some of the health issues a woman may seek gynecological treatment for include the following.
- STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections)
- UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections)
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
These are just a few of the many conditions and ailments a woman may see a gynecologist for. If you suspect or know that you need treatment for a reproductive or sexual health issue, you should visit a gynecologist.
What are The Different Types of Tests?
There are many tests and exams a gynecologist will conduct in order to ensure the health of their patients. Each test and exam has a specific purpose, and you will receive all of them during your annual visit. Some of the tests and exams a gynecologist may conduct include the following.
A pelvic exam is a basis for all things vaginal health. A gynecologist will conduct the exam in four segments to ensure every part of the pelvic area is checked. The four segments of a pelvic exam are the external genital exam, speculum exam, the Pap Smear test, and a bimanual exam.
First, the gynecologist will do the external genital exam. The external exam consists of an evaluation of the vulva and labia. They will be looking for any signs that indicate an abnormality. That could include redness, cyst, or indicators for an STI.
Following the external exam, the gynecologist will then do the speculum exam. The speculum exam consists of the doctor inserting a sterile medical device called a speculum into the vaginal canal. The tool separates the vaginal walls to help the gynecologist exam your cervix. Once they are able to access the cervix, they will begin checking for any signs of abnormal discharge, tenderness, inflammation, or STIs.
After you have received your speculum exam, the clinician will then conduct a Pap Smear test. A Pap Smear further evaluates the cervix. During this test, the gynecologist will be looking for precancerous or cancer cells. If any suspicious cells are found, the doctor will send them off to the lab for testing. It can take up to two weeks for test results to become available.
Now for the last part of the pelvic exam, the bimanual exam. The bimanual exam consists of the clinician inserting one or two fingers into the vaginal canal and pressing down on your stomach with the opposite hand. The exam is conducted to evaluate the internal pelvic organs.
A crucial part of any female health evaluation is the mammary glands. Your chosen clinician will want to conduct a breast exam to check for any abnormalities that could indicate a minor or severe health issue. They will look for lumps, discharge, or thickening. The best clinicians will also teach you how to conduct one by yourself at home.
Last but certainly not least, you will be asked to provide a urine sample. The urine sample will be tested by a lab or your clinician for indicators related to kidney health, pregnancy, and infections.
If you have a specific health concern, your doctor may ask to perform other exams and tests. The exams and tests mentioned above are the ones conducted during the yearly visit. Some other exams and tests a gynecologist can or may perform include the following.
- Breast Biopsy
- Breast MRI
- Breast Ultrasound
- Endometrial Biopsy
- Cervical Biopsy
- Pelvic Ultrasound
The tests and exams mentioned above are not performed by every clinician. Typically, these tests and exams will only be administered if you or your doctor express a health concern. If you are looking for a gynecologist who can perform these tests and exams for you, be sure to review their credentials. Some gynecologists will specialize in certain conditions related to the reproductive and sexual health of women.
Things to Know About Choosing the Right Gynecologist
Finding a gynecologist that you can trust with such an intimate part of your body and health can be a stressful task. There are certain things you should know to help you choose the right gynecologist for you. Here are the things you should look for before choosing a clinician.
- Do they share your values and views on healthcare?
- Are they good at communicating with their patients?
- Consider their gender – some women may feel more comfortable with a female clinician.
- Good reviews – you can trust other women to inform you on this matter.
- Experience – the more years of practice, the better.
- Do they accept your insurance?
The list above is a general overview of things to look for when finding the perfect clinician for you. Please feel free to add personal questions and requirements as you see fit. The more comfortable you are with the gynecologist you choose, the higher-quality of a visit you will have.
Book an Appointment to See a Gynecologist
If you are looking to book an appointment with a gynecologist use Intrepid Health. We are here for all of your healthcare needs.