A gynecologist focuses treatment on women, especially on disorders affecting their reproductive system. The specialist performs medical exams on the reproductive organs of the patients, spots abnormalities and potential problems, and ensures the wellness of the patients. An expertise in obstetrics among gynecologists, or the care of pregnant women and growing babies, is common in this medical practice. This is they are also called as obstetrician gynecologists or OB/GYNs.
Gynecologist basic duties
Any woman who reached the childbearing age is encouraged to visit the gynecologist once every year to undergo a “well woman” exam. The gynecologist will determine just how the woman’s reproductive capabilities are and to address possible issues before they grow serious. Preventive care is a key duty of gynecologists. This is why they recommend women to get an exam once they turn 18 or starts engaging in sexual activities.
Gynecologists usually spend most of the exam time on the vagina, the ovaries, and the uterus. They ask patients to strip from the waist down so the doctors can thoroughly examine the organs from the outside before examining them internally. They often use the speculum, a device that can open up the reproductive cavity of a woman and help collect a small amount of cell samples for testing to determine if there are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or cervical cancer. They might insert a few fingers into the patient’s body to feel if there are abnormalities.
Gynecologists also perform breast exams. They palpate the surface of the breasts to look for lumps that may point to breast cancer. They also educate the patients on how to do the exam themselves.
During consultation with the patient, a gynecologist does not only focus on the physical examination. The practitioner also spends time on patient counseling about topics such as safe sexual practices and contraception methods, among others. The doctor is also allowed to prescribe birth control pills and provide patients with contraceptive injection after talking about the pros and cons of these methods.
Gynecologists are trained to treat the disorders that affect the female reproductive system. It could be painful or heavy menstrual periods, urinary tract infections, and internal cysts. Any problem that affects the woman’s body can be referred to the gynecological experts for treatment.
Overlap with Obstetrics
Women who are pregnant or trying for a baby usually deal with issues that can be handled properly by medical experts trained in the issues of fertility, such as gynecologists. However, these experts also likely received training in the field of obstetrics to further boost their expertise.
People who received obstetrics training know what to do with pregnant women and their fetuses and babies. They help women get pregnant and monitor them throughout the pregnancy. They prescribe vitamins and recommend a certain diet, while providing hands-on exams such as birth training or heart rate measurements.
Gynecologist research and public health
Aside from caring for the patients one on one, gynecologists are also responsible for educating the public. They are required to submit facts and numbers about certain procedures or diseases, while keeping the identity of the patients involved confidential. Some of them conduct research studies on new procedures or medications to help push the medical field forward. Others may start a public health campaign to teach the public about sexually transmitted diseases, prenatal care, and birth control.