What non-OB services does a gynecology practice offer? OBGYNs don't only see pregnant patients. Whether pregnancy is in your distant future or in your not-so-distant past, take a look at why you still need to see a gynecologist and how this specialized doctor can help you to navigate your reproductive and post-reproductive years.
General Women's Health Services
Even though the gynecologist is a specialist, this type of doctor offers general services for women. But these aren't the same services your primary care physician (PCP) or family doctor provides. Instead, the OBGYN's general practice focuses specifically on women's health. These services include annual check-ups and exams and the diagnosis of or treatment for potential problems, infections, and reproductive tract conditions.
Specific infections and conditions gynecologists diagnose and treat include (but aren't limited to) vaginal yeast infections, STDs, urinary incontinence, uterine or cervical polyps, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and abnormal menstrual bleeding.
Specialized Women's Health Services
Pregnancy care isn't the only specialized service the OBGYN offers. Some doctors also offer sub-specialty women's care, treating reproductive cancer (gynecological oncology) and endocrine (hormone) issues. If you have a diagnosed gynecological condition or think you may have a problem that requires a specialized medical provider, talk to your OBGYN before you search for a new doctor. Your OBGYN may already have knowledge and experience in the necessary area or may refer you to a trusted specialist who routinely works with their patients.
Surgical Health Services
Along with medical care, some gynecologist practices also offer surgical services. Common procedures include hysterectomies, polyp removal, treatment for uterine fibroids, endometrial ablations, cervical cryosurgery, colposcopy, hysteroscopy, and pelvic laparoscopy. Many of these procedures are minimally invasive (done without the need for larger incisions) and done on an outpatient basis. Some more complex surgeries, such as hysterectomies, may require a hospital stay.
Menopause Health Services
Your gynecologist visits won't end when your period does. Instead, you will continue to see this doctor after you reach menopause. Menopause happens when your ovaries no longer produce estrogen. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), fifty-one years is the average age for a woman to go through this reproductive transition.
As you approach menopause, you may notice subtle or pronounced changes. These include hot flashes, night sweats, changes in your mood, shorter menstrual cycles, longer menstrual cycles, heavier periods, lighter periods, spotting in between periods, fatigue, and brain fog. The OBGYN can help you to better understand and treat these perimenopausal (the time before menopause) symptoms.
Make an appointment with a gynecologist if you need help with any of the above treatments.