Gynecology - Exams, Questions and a Woman's Health
According to "gynecology wiki", a gynecological doctor is also an obstetrician, and in many areas gynecology and obstetrics overlap. Gynecology, defined, is the branch of medicine that deals with women's health, predominantly the female reproductive system - it's the counterpart to andrology which is the medical branch that deals with issues related to the male reproductive organs.
Why Do I Need to See a Gynecologist?
By the time most women reach the age of 21 they have had a visit to a gynecologist, or an obstetric-gynecologic doctor (ob-gyn). The most common reason for a visit to a gynecologist is for a pap test, done to rule out diseases, cancer, and to ensure the uterus is healthy. A gynecological exam, or a pelvic exam as it is also known, is performed for a number of reasons outside of the pap smear. If you are experiencing an unusual or persistent vaginal discharge or you are bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse, then these are good reasons to get on the phone and make an appointment with a gynecologist.
Many young girls are introduced to gynecology between the ages of 13 to 15. They don't necessarily have a pelvic exam at this time, but it is a good way for them to become familiar with the gynecologist and to build a comfortable enough relationship to where gynecology questions can be asked without fear. Young women and girls need to feel the freedom to talk about reproductive and sexual concerns with someone who can give them clear answers and address issues they may be dealing with - such as symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases, vaginal infections, and their future fertility. A gynecologist can determine if there is cause for concern or if the situation is not serious and can be handled with antibiotics. A gynecologist can determine whether a young woman has endometriosis, PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) or any number of other reproductive organ disorders.
Gynecology and Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, or are hoping to become pregnant, then proper healthcare is very important to ensure the health of your pregnancy and the baby. If you are planning a pregnancy, then see your gynecologist to ensure your reproductive health is what is should be for a safe and healthy pregnancy. Natural birth is a more common desire for women today, and in order to have a natural birth, reproductive health has to be good. Your gynecologist can tell you whether your health is good, whether there are problems with your uterus or other organs that would hinder a natural birth, and will help you identify ways to deal with potential problems before they get out of hand.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask
It is important to ask the questions you need to ask in order to be well informed for any decisions you will be making regarding your sexual activity or a pregnancy. Your gynecologist will gladly discuss the answers to any question you bring to him or her. For instance the question about testing for sexually transmitted diseases opens the door to discussing risky sexual behaviors which can endanger the life of a young woman. Questions about contraceptives, their effectiveness and proper use can lead to questions about unexpected pregnancy. Emergency contraception, or the morning after pill, is something that could and should be talked about with a gynecologist as well.
There Are No Wrong Questions
Women's health issues are the domain of gynecology, and there are no questions that are inappropriate. From incontinence caused by weakened muscles to the effects of artificial sweeteners, stress, caffeine, and other triggers that cause nerve spasms in the bladder, the gynecologist can help women address female concerns that can be embarrassing. Of course, there is always the dialogue about sexual problems like low libido and vaginal sensitivities which are probably at the bottom of the list for "let's talk about this". That's why it is important for a woman to build a good rapport with her doctor. Feeling safe and confident that the questions can be asked and the answers obtained takes a tremendous stress off a woman who cares about her reproductive health.
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