When to Visit a Gynaecologist and What to Expect16,Jun,2020
A gynaecologist is a doctor who specialises in women's health, especially the female reproductive system. Gynaecologists handle a wide range of women health issues which includes pregnancy, obstetrics, menstruation, fertility, childbirth, hormonal disorders, and childbirth.
A qualified gynaecologist has at least eight years of intensive training and is certified by all the mandatory and examining health bodies in the UK. Most women from their early teenage years prefer to visit a well-woman clinic rather than hospitals for general health issues. In a well-woman clinic, women are examined and later referred to a gynaecologist.
When To See A Gynaecologist
Women are advised to visit a gynaecologist annually for necessary screenings. A woman can also visit a gynaecologist when she has concerns about her reproductive system like pelvic and vulvar issues, vaginal pain, or abnormal bleeding.
Gynaecologists can treat the following conditions
- Family planning involving contraception, sterilisation, and pregnancy termination.
- Issues relating to fertility, pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Urinary and faecal incontinence
- Cancer of the reproductive tract and breast
- Pregnancy-related tumours
- Problems with pelvic organ tissues
- Benign conditions of the reproductive tract like ovarian cyst, fibroids, breast disorders, vulvar and vaginal cancer, and other cancerous issues
- Sexual dysfunction
- Pelvic inflammatory diseases
- Emergency care relating to gynaecology
- Sexuality involving health issues relating to same-sex and bisexual relationships
- Congenital abnormalities of the female reproductive tract
- Precancerous conditions like cervical dysplasia and endometrial hyperplasia
Gynaecologists also offer general health care which includes preventive medicine for women, diagnosis, and treatment for issues such as headache, mood changes, low back pain, and acne.
You can also see a gynaecologist if you have the following problems:
- Psychiatric conditions such as personality disorder and depression
- Domestic violence and sexual assault
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Thyroid disorders and other hormonal issues
Gynaecologists also offer preventive medicine services which may include lifestyle advice about issues like weight loss and ceasing smoking.
Age To See A Gynaecologist
A girl or woman of any age can see a gynaecologist. However, it is recommended that visiting a gynaecologist should start from the age of 13 – 15.
When a girl or doctor builds a relationship with the doctor, it enables her to be comfortable and more open about asking questions about menstruation, sexuality, and other women-related issues. It also gives her a direct point of contact if any unknown symptoms occur in the future.
The gynaecologist will also have a chance to guide the overall health welfare of the woman or girl in the long-term through counselling on important issues relating to lifestyle and health.
What To Expect During A Visit To The Gynaecologist
What happens during a gynaecology visit varies, but it depends on the reason for the visit and the person's health issue.
If a young woman visits a gynaecologist for the first time, the visit may just involve a chat with the gynaecologist about what to expect in the future.
During any visit to the gynaecologist, you should remember the following:
- It is not necessary to shave or wax
- A gynaecological examination like a pap smear may be uncomfortable
- An honest and truthful account of your health problems and lifestyle will give the gynaecologist a better idea about how you feel and enables then to administer proper treatment
- It is best to avoid sexual activity, vaginal douching or using tampons for two days before any gynaecological examination
- If your period comes when you have already scheduled a visit, you can go ahead with the visit, but it is always better to reschedule except you need urgent attention
- Body odour is natural but if you have concerns about it, your gynaecologist need to know
You can always request to have someone in the room or outside during a gynaecological examination.
Any of the following will be carried out during an annual gynaecological visit
- Screening, evaluation, and advice
- A physical exam which includes measuring standard vital signs, palpating the abdomen, body mass, index, and inguinal lymph nodes
- Assessing overall health
- Pelvic and breast examination appropriate to the patient's age
A gynaecologist may also request a blood or urine screening test. A regular visit to the private gynaecologist in London will enable you to know how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and minimise health risk at each age.
There are a few other yearly health assessments available for women. They include:
- Blood pressure check and monitoring
- Advice about calcium and folic acid intake
Gynaecologists are trained and certified to carry out some surgical and diagnostic procedure. The surgical tasks include:
- Minor surgery like sterilisation
- Laparoscopy- It is an abdominal keyhole procedure used for both diagnostic and surgical purposes
- Preparing patients for surgery
- Major surgery like removing fibroids in the uterus
- Postoperative care including treatment of complications
- Other surgical procedures like clearing of small bowel obstruction
Diagnostic tasks of gynaecologists include:
- Pap smear test
- Ultrasound scanning
- Hysteroscopy- Use of an endoscope to see into the uterus
- Endometrial biopsy- Taking a sample from the lining of the uterus
- Colposcopy- Microscopic examination of the cervix
Qualifications Of A Gynaecologist
All fully qualified gynaecologists have at least eight years of medical study and training. They must first graduate from an acceptable and recognised medical school, meaning that they must be fully trained as medical doctors with a license to practice followed by a 4-year obstetrics/gynaecology residency program.
Their speciality training includes
- Diagnosis and treatment of female hormone disorders and infection
- Screening for women-related cancer
- Genetics and genetic counselling
- Female general health including hormones, breast health, the reproductive system, and sexual function
- Pre and postnatal care
Many gynaecologists also undergo training to carry out the correction of the female pelvic reproductive system or urinary tract problems and cancer of the reproductive system. Many women consult their gynaecologists about their overall well-being so gynaecologists are trained to carry out
- Overall medical care for the women whether or not it is related to reproductive health
- Routine examinations and health screenings
Further specialisation areas that take up to 3 years, such as maternal foetal medicine, gynecologic oncology, critical care medicine, and paediatric gynaecology are available.
Who Is A Board-Certified Gynaecologist?
A board-certified gynaecologist must have done the following
- Written a multiple-choice test covering conditions commonly treated by gynaecologists
- Concluded an oral examination which includes a selected review of the gynaecologist's first year of clinical cases.
A board-certified gynaecologist must have spent nine years of training and gaining experience in the field.
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