Do you really need a gynecologist?

Do you really need a gynecologist?

You’re a healthy woman who isn’t planning to get pregnant in the near future. You see your primary care doctor once a year. You’ve got your preventive health care needs covered, right? Maybe not. Should you be seeing a gynecologist annually, too?

Health enews asked Dr. David Rojas and Dr. Megan Graber, OB/GYNs with Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, to answer some common questions about who needs to see a gynecologist, and how often. Here’s what they had to say:

If I see my primary care doctor every year, do I need to see a gynecologist, too?

Dr. Rojas: Yes. It may be useful for women to see a gynecologist in addition to a primary care doctor.

Both your PCP and gynecologist may offer services such as Pap smears, treatment of infections and contraception. As women’s health specialists, gynecologists will be able to address more complicated gynecological issues as well as possibly offer a wider array of contraceptive options. Your primary care doctor can inform you as to what types of contraception will require a visit with a gynecologist.

There are many different recommendations out there. How often do I really need to see my gynecologist?

Dr. Graber: That depends on your age. Teens should see a gynecologist once or twice between ages 13 and 17 to discuss sexually transmitted infections, contraception and other questions they may have as their bodies change. Beginning at age 21, women should visit their gynecologists annually.

Experts recommend women start getting regular Pap smears at age 21. If you’re healthy and have normal results, you may not need the test every year, but your gynecologist can still provide other important wellness checks, including a pelvic exam, a breast exam and testing for sexually transmitted infections. Your gynecologist also can answer any questions you have about gynecological issues, birth control or fertility.

I’m not planning to get pregnant anytime soon. Should I still talk to my gynecologist about my fertility?

Dr. Rojas: We can offer preconception counseling for women who aren’t interested in becoming pregnant just yet, but may want to have a baby in the future. We help identify factors that may be barriers to fertility or that may put a pregnancy at higher risk. Addressing these issues before pregnancy starts can lead to better outcomes for moms and babies.

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  1. I would like to start going to a gynecologist if they can give me advice about having a baby. I got married a couple years ago, and my husband and I are really considering having a child soon, so I would like to know about any potential issus and minimizing risk. Would my normal hospital have a gynecologist staffed, or would I need to go do a specialized clinic?

    Anaice Bize |

  2. Virginia Davis July 15, 2015 at 3:51 pm · Reply

    Thanks for the information. I didn’t realize it was so important to be visiting a gynecologist so frequently. However, it makes sense since your health is so important and your doctor can check to make sure you are healthy. Plus, being able to identify factors that might influence fertility or pregnancy in the future is a good idea, like you said.

  3. I need to see a gyacologist.having issues with my period lately

  4. I am usually really good about seeing my primary doctor every year. I think it’s good to be aware of your own health, and any changes that may have occurred since last year. I turned 21 a couple weeks ago so it’s probably time that I make annual visits to my gynecologist as well.

  5. Rockford Johnson March 25, 2016 at 4:39 pm · Reply

    Cool post! I learned a lot about Gynecologist by reading this post! Thank you for explaining how “Both your PCP and gynecologist may offer services such as Pap smears, treatment of infections and contraception. As women’s health specialists, gynecologists will be able to address more complicated gynecological issues as well as possibly offer a wider array of contraceptive options.” I have never been in a Gynecologist appointment before but it is good to know what to expect and how helpful they can be.

  6. You make a great point that a good obstetrician will have specific training in areas that other doctors won’t. I would only trust an obstetrician for my wife that knows very well what they’re doing. If they haven’t had specialized training I may be hesitant to hire them.

  7. I really appreciate that you advised every woman to go to a gynecologist at least once a year. My wife has been arguing with me that it might not be the best idea, but I think it is really important since breast and ovarian cancer run in her family. If she goes to a gynecologist, she would be tested for each cancer at least once a year.

  8. I appreciate the information on whether or not it is a good idea for a woman to continue to meet with an OBGYN. My wife is debating on whether or not it is a good idea for her to see a gynecologist even though she hasn’t had any issues and is healthy. I think it is important to do the cheaper routine check-ups rather than having to pay a large lump sum later if you find something wrong too late. I will share this information with her and urge her to find an OBGYN.

  9. Chukwuba Nonye Peace December 7, 2016 at 9:33 pm · Reply

    pls i need help. Last two months precisely octorber i was diagonsed of staph anrus and was given levofloxin 750mg for 20days then in November my period delayed by 2days and when it came on the 3day it flowed for just a day and stopped. So i was given gentamicin injection for 5days. But now i am supposed to see my period on the 7th of december but still now no sign of it yet. pls help me.

  10. I need to see a gynecologist because am having problem with my period lately the irregularities is too much n I want to get pregnant pls wat will I do I have been married but no child yet.

  11. I really like your advice to make sure that you are still seeing a good gynecologist even if you are seeing your regular physician regularly. Do you have any other tips about finding a good OBGYN? My daughter is heading off to college soon. I really want to know what we can to do to help her stay healthy.

  12. I had no idea that beginning at 21 a woman should see her gynecologist annually. That way, they can catch any problems or diseases early. My suggestion would be to get a gynecologist that you like. Then you will more comfortable around them and in asking your questions.

  13. Johnny McCarron March 6, 2017 at 3:52 pm · Reply

    I like that you talked about the importance of seeing a gynecologist even if you have a primary care doctor. The last thing you want to do is miss on possible illnesses because they are simply overlooked. Do you have any tips about finding a good OBGYN? I’m trying to find someone for my wife, but I can’t make a decision.

  14. Gynecologist in Lahore April 5, 2017 at 4:04 am · Reply

    Every female should visit her gynecologist frequently in order to avoid any complication.

  15. Leviticus Bennett May 8, 2017 at 12:13 pm · Reply

    It’s good to know that women don’t need to start seeing gynecologists annually until they’ve reached the age of 21. I’ve become responsible to take my niece around to her doctor’s visits and was wondering how often she needs to visit a gynecologist. She didn’t know either, so I’m glad you could give us some pointers.

  16. OK this is not really comment its a question I have been on the depo shot of last year 2016 and now we are in 2017 and i stop takeing it on the 17of may and have been bleeding on and off .now am in june and still bleeding but only in the day and sometime at night why?

  17. I have always been told to go to the Gynecologist…however I really am afraid to go. My mother is telling me we should go but I don’t want too. I don’t think I will ever go… : /

  18. I didn’t know that it was important for ladies to see a gynecologist annually! I’ll talk to my wife and see if she’s been going. It’s important that she’s healthy, after all!

  19. ever since i had surgery, my period became irregular.pls i am confuse i do not no what to do,i really need a gyneculogist thanks

  20. All this talk about women’s health. And hypothyroidism is NEVER brought up. It’s very common, more common than breast and cervical cancer. But they use the pill to treat well known symptoms of it. And even if you are tested for it, the test is so unreliable. I haven’t been to a gynecologist in 17 years and I’m not dying. Stop being such sheep.

  21. why do I still need to go to a gynecologist, I am 64 years of age and had a hysterectomy at the age of 23.

  22. Shinki Kunihara April 25, 2018 at 4:23 am · Reply

    I feel this article should also include trans men/anyone with a uterus as well. Transgender men and other queer folk still need to go to the gynecologist, despite any misconceptions. Lastly, the gyno/any other uterus related issues aren’t just “a woman thing”. In fact, some women don’t have a uterus at all (I.e, hysterectomy, trans women etc…)
    You’re health is important!

  23. I am 63 years old, and I have never been to a gynecologist in my entire life. As long as I have no problems with my reproductive organs, I will never go to one. There is no need. One time I had to go to a hospital (at age 31) because I had the norovirus, and the medical staff there performed all kinds of unnecessary tests and exams when they KNEW what was wrong with me all along. They performed a pelvic against my will or consent, and it was the closest thing to rape I have ever experienced. They knocked me out with demerol in order to force the speculum inside me. Never, ever, ever again. I have had no problems with my reproductive organs in my entire life. An occasional yeast infection is the only thing I ever had.

  24. I have not been doing my monthly mensulation for past 4months yet not pregnant ,help me

  25. I’m confused. I’m a virgin (abstinate) and have been vaccinated for HPV, and there is no one in my family with any sort of vaginal infections or cancers or diseases. Do I still have to see an OB until I’m planning on concieving?

  26. All of a sudden I have pure white pimples outside me cervix.Im super stress

  27. Why are so many men commenting on this? Do NOT make your wife go if she is unwilling to go. Do NOT try to find one for her. You do not understand how uncomfortable this is for women. Male privilege needs to stop, stop thinking your helping them by making descions for them. Let her go if she wants to go. She can find an obgyn on her own.

  28. Any specific questions about one’s personal gynecological issues should be addressed with one’s physician – not posted here in response to this article. Also, just wanted to say that if women are uncomfortable going to a male gynecologist, then there are plenty of female gynecologists who they can go to which might not be as uncomfortable for th

  29. I disagree. A good Primary Care Provider can provide annual check ups that include breast and pelvic exams. If anything abnormal is found they can refer you to a specialist to treat the problem. In some situations they are better than an OBGYN.

    I was sent to an OBGYN by my PCP for very heavy menses, she did not do an exam only spoke with me and said it sounded like perimenopause. 2 months later I had my annual exam with my PCP and he found a breast lump, my screening mammogram scheduled for the same day was changed to a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. They were normal, nothing seen even with the tech marking the lump and feeling it. My PCP sent me to a surgeon who recommended surgery to remove the lump. Turns out it was Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. A few weeks later the OBGYN office called to remind me to get a screening mammogram. If I had only had the mammogram the OBGYN ordered my cancer would have been missed.

    Ladies do no rely only on mammograms. Please do monthly breast exams and annual exams by your health provider. Mammograms are not 100% I found out later from the surgeon that about 20% of breast cancer do not show up on mammograms.

  30. What is the rule for women in menopause?

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.