The main job of any gynecologist is to perform medical exams of women’s reproductive organs, looking out for abnormalities and possible problems and ensuring overall wellness. Gynecologists are medical experts who are specially trained in women’s health. They typically perform routine “well woman” exams and treat any range of conditions or problems that involve the female reproductive system. Many also have expertise in obstetrics, which involves the care of pregnant women and growing fetuses.
Basic Expertise and Duties
Most medical systems around the world recommend that women of childbearing age visit a gynecologist once a year for what is known as a “well woman” exam. The practitioner will use this exam to take a look at how a woman’s body is maintaining its reproductive capabilities, and to address any problems before they become major issues. The practitioner will typically focus his or her energy on the vagina, the uterus, and the ovaries. Patients typically undress from the waist down, allowing the expert to examine the organs first from the outside, then internally as well. Gynecologists typically use a device known as a “speculum” to open the woman’s reproductive cavity and collect a small number of cell samples that can be sent off for testing to detect conditions like cervical cancer or sexually transmitted diseases. It is also common for the examiner to insert a few fingers into the woman’s body to manually feel for abnormalities. Breast exams sometimes also come within the scope of a gynecologist’s expertise. He or she may gently palpate the surface of the breast to look for unusual lumps that may indicate breast cancer. The practitioner will usually also teach the patient how to do these sorts of exams for herself.
Treatment of Particular Conditions
Gynecologists are also in charge of treating a range of known issues or problems that involve the female reproductive system. Urinary tract infections, heavy or painful menstrual periods, and internal cysts and growths are just a few examples. Basically, any issue a woman has with this part of her body, be it simple discomfort or actual disease, is referred to gynecological experts for treatment and, hopefully, a cure.
Overlap With Obstetrics
Women who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant often have a special set of issues best dealt with by medical professionals trained in the ins and outs of fertility. In nearly all cases, these experts are gynecologists, but they usually also have additional training in a field known as obstetrics. The common acronym OB/GYN is used for a gynecologist with this extra expertise. People with obstetric knowledge are experts in all things pregnancy and baby related. They are the ones who help women conceive, and they also monitor ongoing pregnancies to make sure that both mom and baby are growing and developing properly. This often involves the prescription of certain vitamins and diet recommendations alongside more hands-on care like regular exams, heart rate measurements, and birth training.