When to Visit a Gynaecologist and What You Should Expect
Gynaecologists is a specialist doctors that take care of women's health while paying basic attention to their reproductive system.
These doctors handle many conditions, including pregnancy and childbirth, menstruation and problems with fertility, hormone disorders, sexually transmitted infections, and much more.
Most women like to see a gynaecologist instead of a family doctor when it comes to general health problems, and from there may be referred to another specialist by the GYN.
As a gynaecologist, a minimum of 8 years of training is a prerequisite. The practitioner must be certified by an examining body like the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and registered by a professional organisation like the General Medical Council (GMC).
Some fast facts about gynaecologists
- A gynaecologist is a specialist doctor on women's sexual and reproduction health
- Most women begin to see a gynaecologist early as teenagers and continue to do so even for general health problems
- It is advised that women see a gynaecologist every year for checks and whenever symptoms needing their service arise
- In the UK, a gynaecologist should get their licence and be registered with a professional body like the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)
Who is a gynaecologist?
A gynaecologist handles everything related to the female reproductive organs of patients, whether they are well-defined women or not. The type of gynaecologist that focuses on pregnancy and childbirth is called an obstetrician.
To have a career in gynaecology, one must begin by receiving a doctor's training for four years. After that, get another four years of special training in obstetrics and gynaecology. Certification and registration come after the person must have passed an examination on concluding the 8 years of study.
When should you see a gynaecologist?
For yearly checkup and whenever a woman experience symptoms like pain in the pelvis, vagina and vulvar or unusual uterine bleeding, visiting a private gynaecologist London is necessary.
Conditions commonly treated by gynaecologists:
- Problems that are linked to menopause, menstruation, fertility and pregnancy
- Family planning including the use of birth control, sterilisation and termination of pregnancy
- Issues with supporting tissues for the pelvic organs, muscles and ligaments
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Sexually transmitted infections (STI)
- Faecal and urinal incontinence
- Mild issues with the reproductive tract, for instance, vaginal and vulvar ulcers, ovarian cyst, breast disorders, fibroids, plus other non-cancerous changes
- Issues leading to severe conditions like cervical dysplasia and endometrial hyperplasia
- Breast cancer, reproductive tract cancer, and pregnancy-related tumours
- Congenital abnormalities of the female reproductive tract
- Urgent gynaecology-related care
- Endometriosis – a condition where the uterine lining is not properly placed
- Pelvic inflammatory diseases, including abscesses
- Sexuality, including health problems relating to homosexual and bisexual relationships
- Sexual dysfunction
UK gynaecologists do provide gynaecological and general healthcare services, including preventive care for women. They also diagnose and treat problems like acne, change in mood, pain in the lower back and headache.
Other conditions these specialists can treat are:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Psychiatric conditions like personality disorder and depression
- Issues with the thyroid glands and other hormones
- Sexual assault and domestic violence
As for preventive care, a gynaecologist may offer advice on lifestyle issues like weight loss and smoking discontinuity.
What's the right age at which you can see a gynaecologist?
At any age, a girl or woman may get care from a gynaecologist. The recommendation is between the ages of 13 to 15 years.
Females can leverage the early relationship with a gynaecologist to ask questions related to their sexuality without feeling embarrassed. This budding relationship is beneficial as a girl or woman can easily call a gynaecologist if symptoms show up later in life.
On the other hand, a doctor gets the long-standing opportunity to help a woman manage her sexual health by providing useful advice on essential health and lifestyle problems. It is important to enlist the service of a private gynaecologist for women's health and wellness.
What you should expect
A gynaecologist may have several approaches to a condition depending on the patient's situation and why they're seeing the specialist.
For instance, if a young woman is visiting for the first time, they may simply discuss with the specialist, get certain information on general health, and discover future expectations.
During a consultation with a gynaecologist, the following should be borne in mind:
- Telling the gynaecologist everything about your health and lifestyle will help them understand your situation and offer the best possible care
- It is uncomfortable to undergo a gynaecological exam, including a Pap smear; however, the procedure is typically pain-free
- Waxing or shaving before seeing a gynaecologist is not necessary
- It is natural to have a bodily odour. Should it be a problem, please inform the specialist
- If your period shows up at the same time as your gynaecologist appointment, you may not cancel; however, it may be a good idea to postpone the visit, except in a case where you've got symptoms needing emergency care
- 2 days to a gynaecological exam, it makes sense not to have sex, douche, or use tampons
It is okay to have someone go with a patient to the GYN examination. They can be inside the room or outside the door – ask the gynaecologist.
As recommended, women are to see a gynaecologist at least one time each year for examination.
At this annual checkup, the following will happen:
- Assessment, screening and advice
- Immunisation depending on age and risk factors
- A physical evaluation where the specialist measures your body mass index, standard vital signs, palpitates the abdomen and inguinal lymph nodes and checks overall health condition
- A breast and pelvic exam that's just right for the age of the patient
A sample of blood or urine may be needed for the screening.
Visiting a sexual health clinic regularly will give a patient updated information on living healthy and lower health risks as they attain a certain age.
Other annual assessments include blood pressure monitoring, colonoscopy, immunisations, mammography, and advice on taking folic acid and calcium.
What common procedures do gynaecologists perform?
Gynaecologists certified by the RCOG have been trained to perform some tasks regarding diagnosis and surgery.
- Ultrasound scanning
- Pap smear tests
- Colposcopy – a microscopic assessment of the cervix
- Hysteroscopy, using an endoscope to view the inside of the uterus
- An endometrial biopsy which involves taking a sample from the uterine lining
- Prepping up patients for surgery
- Laparoscopy – a keyhole procedure done on the abdomen for both diagnosis and surgery
- Minor surgery, for instance, sterilisation
- Significant surgery, for instance, fibroids removal from the uterus
- Aftercare for surgery, including treatment of complications
Gynaecologists may also take care of other surgical conditions like obstruction of the small bowel.
Qualifications of a gynaecologist
To become a qualified gynaecologist, it is mandatory to graduate from a recognised medical school. This implies they are highly trained medical doctors that have got a license to practice.
Gynaecologists that are fully qualified have achieved a minimum of 8 years of medical study and training. Having a career in gynaecology requires 4 years of studies in a medical school and another 4 years of a residency program in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology.
Covered in speciality training:
- Patients' care before, during and after pregnancy
- Genetics and counselling in genetics
- General health condition of women which includes sexuality, reproductive system, hormones, and breast health
- Cancer screening for women
- Diagnosis and treatment of infections and hormone disorders affecting women
Most gynaecologists receive training in surgical procedures to correct female reproductive, urinary tract, or pelvis issues. Cancer of the reproductive system is also corrected.
A lot of women do seek the help of a gynaecologist and ask questions about their general wellness.
- Health screening and routine checkup
- General medical care for women, be it for the reproductive system or any other body system
It can take 3 years to go into further specialisation. And there are further options, including pediatric gynaecology, maternal-fetal medicine, gynaecologic oncology, and much more.
Who is a board-certified gynaecologist?
Taking a further exam will help a gynaecologist get full certification from the professional body, RCOG, and be added to the list of accredited providers.
Tests involved in this exam:
- A written, multiple-choice test that covers common conditions corrected by gynaecologists
- A half-day oral test which includes a chosen review of the gynaecologist's first year of clinical cases
This means that a board-certified and fully qualified gynaecologist has trained and gained experience in the field for nine years. Some gynaecologists also go on to further specialise.
There is a directory of gynaecologists who have an active licence as medical practitioners kept by RCOG.
The sexual health clinic London provides healthcare services for women of all ages. Reach out to us today for more information about your health.