A women’s health doctor, or gynecologist, is an important member of your healthcare team. They specialize in the bodily and reproductive health of women and can diagnose and treat a range of conditions and diseases. Read on to learn more about what you can expect from these experienced women’s health providers.
Women’s health doctors specialize in female sexual and reproductive health. This incorporates the health of all reproductive organs within a woman’s body.
In addition to diagnosing and treating a comprehensive range of diseases of the female reproductive system, they also provide preventative care, such as annual exams and cancer screenings to help detect any concerns in their earliest stages, when treatment is typically most effective. Breast-associated conditions and illnesses can also be screened and treated by women’s health doctors.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women should see a women’s health doctor for the first time when between the ages of 13 and 15 and continue to have regular exams with a gynecologist until the age of 65. This can vary based on individual cases. The frequency of visits will depend on a variety of factors, such as age, previous test results, sexual history, menstrual health, and overall health. It is important to visit your gynecologist between scheduled visits if you have any health concerns. Early intervention and treatment can help to prevent health complications later on.
What Does a Women’s Health Doctor Do?
Women’s health doctors deal with all aspects of female reproductive health. They are trained medical doctors who provide comprehensive care for a wide range of women’s health issues. Some of the services and tests they provide include:
- Well-woman visits
- Pap smears and HPV screening/vaccines
- Contraception counseling/family planning
- Breast exams/mammograms
- Health screenings
- Menopause/menstruation management and treatment
- Testing/treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Diagnosis and treatment of gynecological diseases/disorders, such as cancer, yeast infections, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, fibroids, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Education and guidance, such as maintaining good hygiene and adopting healthy lifestyle choices help prevent gynecologic conditions.
They also provide a range of in-house and hospital procedures and treatments. The most common ones include:
- IUD insertion
- Implant contraceptives
- Genital wart removal
- Dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure
- Endometrial ablation
- Endometriosis surgery
- Urodynamic studies
The Importance of a Well-Woman Visit
Well-woman visits are an essential part of preventative health care to evaluate and maintain reproductive health and help identify any concerns in their earliest stages. A well-woman visit includes a pelvic exam, preventive screenings, and education specific to you and your sexual and reproductive health.
Although a well-woman visit may seem daunting, it is an important way of evaluating your overall health and addressing your specific health needs. These visits can help to identify early signs of disease or other potential health risk factors that could require treatment to prevent problems later on.
What Does a Well-Woman Visit Involve?
At your visit, your doctor will assess different areas, such as your current health, personal and family health history, menstrual health, gynecological history, and sexual history. You should try to be as open and honest as possible about your sexual activity, menstrual health, and any symptoms or concerns you have to allow your doctor to provide you with the best and most personalized care that is specific to your individual needs and health risks. They will then carry out a range of tests and procedures to assess your general and reproductive health. This involves:
- Routine checkups, such as height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate.
- Clinical breast exams–to check for any abnormalities in the breast tissue or changes in breast shape, size, texture, or color.
- Pelvic exam and external genital exams–to identify potential problems, such as signs of infection, cysts, STIs, or cancer.
- Pap smear and HPV testing – Pap smear is a screening tool to detect abnormal cells in the cervix before they become cancerous. HPV testing detects signs of the HPV virus, which can increase the risk of cervical cancer.
A well-woman visit is an important opportunity for your doctor to identify and prevent many different gynecological diseases and complications. They also provide the opportunity to address a variety of health concerns and to learn ways to maintain reproductive health and overall wellness.
When Should I Visit a Women’s Health Doctor?
In addition to routine well-woman visits, it is important to visit your women’s health doctor if you have any concerns or experience any symptoms or changes related to your sexual or reproductive health, such as:
- Irregular vaginal bleeding or discharge
- Painful or abnormal periods
- Vaginal itching or unpleasant vaginal odor
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during sex
- Any growths, lumps, sores, or other abnormalities in the vaginal area
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- Signs of a UTI
- Absent periods
- Possible exposure to an STI
Women’s health doctors are highly experienced with common and complex reproductive and sexual health problems. They are able to offer information, guidance, diagnosis, and treatment for a range of women’s health issues to help maintain your health and prevent complications later on.
Women’s Health Doctor Near Me in Syracuse
At University OB/GYN Associates, our board-certified, compassionate women’s health doctors can provide expert care for a wide range of issues. We specialize in women’s health care, including gynecology, obstetrics, breast health, gynecologic oncology, maternal and fetal medicine, and family planning to help you throughout all stages of life.