Ensuring that your health is in perfect order should always be a top priority, regardless of your age. For women in particular, there are certain types of doctors who you should visit regularly for specific needs. One such doctor is an OB-GYN, who has a more specialised form of training than a standard primary care provider.
What Is An OB-GYN?
An Obstetrician Gynaecology, or OB-GYN for short, is either a DO or MD doctor who specialises in the care of diseases and various disorders that may affect the female reproductive system. In some cases, certain women may use an OB-GYN as their primary care physician, but they may also have a PCP in addition to an OB-GYN.
In fact, of a number of women surveyed, 56% indicated that they only see an OB-GYN on an annual basis as this doctor tends to cover all the same topics as a standard PCP. OB-GYNs can answer a variety of questions ranging from preventative care services, reproductive health, infertility, sex, and more.
Common OB-GYN Specialties
In some cases, an OB-GYN may choose to specialise their education in a specific area. Four of the most common specialties seen in OB-GYNs include:
- Maternal-foetal medicines specialists: This form of doctor specialises in treating high-risk pregnancies where the health of the mother and baby may be in jeopardy.
- Reproductive endocrinologists: A reproductive endocrinologist focuses on infertility problems and developing treatments for this, including specialisations in in vitro fertilisation procedures.
- Gynaecologic oncologists: An oncologist refers to a doctor who specialises in cancer treatment, with a gynaecologic oncologist specialising in cancers of the female reproductive organs.
- Female pelvic specialists: This type of doctor focuses more on injuries to and disorders of the female pelvic floor and related areas.
What Are The Main Differences Between An Obstetrician And Gynaecologist?
As evident from its full name, an Obstetrician Gynaecologist tends to practice two forms of medicine: Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The former refers to medicine that provides care for patients who are pregnant, running the gamut from the time of planning for a baby to postpartum. Part of this specialty involves the measuring of health and growth of your baby, while also overseeing the health of the mother.
On the other hand, Gynaecology refers to the medical practice of providing health care to the general female reproductive tract. This can include a range of services including pap smears, menstrual dysfunctions, caring for ovarian disorders, prescribing birth control options, and more.
It’s worth noting that while an OB-GYN typically practices both forms of medicine, they may choose to only offer services related to one. For example, one Houston OB/GYN may deliver babies, whereas another will no longer deliver babies and will only advise on issues related to the reproductive system.
Common Services Offered By OB-GYNs
If you are unsure whether or not seeking out an OB-GYN for a health-related issue is what you should be doing, identifying common services offered by this type of doctor can help. Most prominently, OB-GYNs offer the following services:
- Pap smears for cervical cancer
- Management of a number of urinary issues such as UTIs
- Fertility treatments such as egg retrieval
- Caesarean sections
- Surgery to repair various pelvic injuries
- Breast exams and health management
- Pelvic ultrasounds
- STI tests
Considering the fact that most OB-GYNs handle all of the above procedures, along with answering general health related questions, is why a number of women simply choose to visit an OB-GYN yearly instead of a PCP as well.
What To Expect From A Standard Visit
Whether you are visiting an OB-GYN for the first time or are simply curious about the process, having a better understanding of what to expect at your visit can help. Here are some of the most common steps to your doctor visit that will occur:
- Generally, discussing the history of yourself and your family will come first if you are a new patient. This can include matters such as discussing eating and exercise habits, whether you have safe housing, and more.
- Mental health and well-being related questions will typically be asked second.
- An OB-GYN will ask you about pregnancy, pregnancy plans, or menopause if applicable.
- A physical exam may be recommended along with any vaccinations.
- A general health discussion may finish off the appointment.
Prioritise Your Health First
Remember that you should always prioritise your health above all else. Ensure you are going to visit your doctor on a yearly basis, even if you feel completely fine. Living a healthy lifestyle is about making sure that everything in your body is working properly, and not all problems cause symptoms. Take preventative action by visiting your provider today.