A gynecologist, a specialist in women’s reproductive health, screens you for disease, assists with family planning and troubleshoots any issues that may arise with your most intimate and private parts of your body. Making sure your gynecologist is someone you feel comfortable with and can trust completely is essential. Your gynecologist will discuss personal information with you involving your health, lifestyle and sexual activity.
How to choose the right gynecologist for you
Before seeking recommendations, take a moment to consider what is personally important to you and your healthcare experience. Consider a gynecologist’s education, experience and expertise. After that, delve into some more personal factors.
Are you more comfortable with a female or male gynecologist, or are you equally comfortable with either? Not all women have a gender preference in their provider and it’s important to understand that gender does not play a role in qualifications. If you go to a male gynecologist and feel at ease and in good hands, that is more important than their gender. But if you still prefer a female provider, it is essential to listen to your needs. Other factors worth considering are location, affiliated hospital if needed (for example, Kansas City ObGyn is affiliated with Overland Park Regional Medical Center), and philosophy on topics such as birth control.
Do your homework and don’t just choose a gynecologist because your insurance covers them. Word-of-mouth is still the best way to find a trusted provider. In most cases, your female friends, family members and maybe even co-workers can give valuable referrals. Your primary care physician can also be a good resource. In many cases, they can give you a referral.
If you are new to an area or don’t feel comfortable asking for a personal recommendation, you can find a lot out online. There are a plethora of reviews to be found online.
Once you have narrowed down your list of gynecologists and called to make your initial appointment, prepare yourself with important questions to ask in person. If you cannot narrow down your list to only one provider, you can schedule interview appointments with a couple of different providers. Many physicians welcome the opportunity to answer your questions and respect a patient being proactive in regards to their health.
At your appointment, make sure that you feel that your new gynecologist takes the time to listen to you, takes your questions and concerns seriously and takes the time to explain their advice. If they don’t, they are not the doctor for you. There is no reason to settle. Make sure you receive the attention and care you deserve.
Why does a woman need to see a gynecologist?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women first start going to the gynecologist between the ages of 13 to 15 and yearly after that. Most women understand that they need to go routinely for general gynecological health. These annual appointments are essential for the following reasons:
- Teach you about your body and how to properly care for it
- Baseline health so you can notice any problematic changes later
- Pelvic exam and pap smear for early detection of abnormal cells and growths
- Breast exam and education
- Test for sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STI, STD)
- Contraception education
- Women’s healthcare for aging women