Choosing the women’s health group that is right for you is important. Not only do you want to work with experienced and knowledgeable health professionals, but you also want to choose a practice with compassionate providers and competent administrative staff.
Visiting your Gynecologist vs. Your Family Doctor
Some women believe that visiting their family doctor will suffice, but a gynecologist has a unique perspective and specialized training to help you with your reproductive system better. It is essential to have both a primary care physician and a gynecologist. Just as you need a yearly physical exam performed by your primary care doctor, you need an annual gynecologic exam.
Gynecologists deal with fertility issues, birth control, cancer prevention, sexually transmitted infections, and care during and after menopause. Pelvic exams and pap smears need to be conducted by an OB/GYN. Your provider can also help you with clinical breast exams and the need for cancer screenings at all ages.
The Purpose of Your Visit
The purpose of your visit will also dictate which type of doctor you see and help you choose the right women’s health group. Suffer from the polycystic ovarian syndrome, congenital abnormalities or benign conditions of the reproductive tract, premalignant conditions, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory diseases; you need to choose a practice experienced in dealing with these conditions.
What Happens at Each Age?
At each age, gynecological care is essential. Here is what is essential at each stage of your life:
Puberty and the start of the menstrual cycle. Once you begin to be sexually active, you need regular OB/GYN appointments. This is a great time to find your women’s health care provider, begin your relationship, and develop trust. Here is what will happen on your first visit.
Estrogen, progesterone, and androgen are at peak levels. Your regular screenings with your OB-GYN should continue. This begins your family planning stage. Your annual exam will include a breast, abdominal and pelvic exam. Contraception and fertility options are usually discussed at this time.
You could begin to experience hormonal shifts that can affect your menstrual cycles. This is when your uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts risk increases. It is recommended that you be screened for the human papillomavirus (HPV). Pregnancy in your mid to late thirties can be complicated.
It is essential toget the appropriate screenings and maintain your regular OB/GYN visits. Your pap smear at this stage will determine how often you will need to return for your next pap test.
Menopause symptoms can begin as early as the late ’30s. Discuss any symptoms with your OB/GYN. Mammograms usually startat this age if they have not before this time. Discuss your provider the proper frequency for your pap smears and pelvic exams at this stage of your life. This is the time for regular bone density screenings and colonoscopies.
Your Fifties and Beyond
In the U.S., many women begin menopause in their early 50’s. This stage can mean significant changes to your body. In the ’60s & ’70s, painful conditions can occur due to reduced estrogen production. It is also important to continue your visits and focus on detected early-stage cancers.
There are times when meeting with your OB/GYN is vital. If you have any of these issues, it is time to schedule your appointment with your provider:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge or odor
- Changes in your menstrual cycle
- Appearance of lesions
- Urinary problems
- Pelvic pain or bloating
- Painful sex
- Spotting after sex
- Vaginal bleeding post-menopause
Questions You Should Ask
Before choosing your women’s health group, make sure that you ask questions. You need to determine that your doctor can maintain a relationship with you for years to come.
- Do you provide all kinds of obstetrics and gynecological services?
- How responsive are you? Do you quickly respond to calls and concerns?
- Do you have an after-hours emergency line?
- What are your specialties?
- Is lab work done on-site?
- How quickly can I be seen for emergency conditions?
- How easy is your appointment scheduling system?
Things to Consider
You want to make sure that your women’s health group is affiliated with a well-equipped hospital that can care for a variety of medical conditions. Your provider should have access to state-of-the-art technology. Get a feel for your compatibility, you want to be able to trust and easily communicate with your provider.
Choosing your Houston OB/GYN should be done with care and consideration. Your practice should make you feel welcome and comfortable. You should be able to communicate with your provider and the office staff.
SW/OBGYN was founded by physicians who are experts in Obstetrics and Gynecology. We have nine physicians, a nurse practitioner, and an office staff of 50. We strive to deliver the highest quality medical care and treatment to our patients in Houston and the surrounding areas. Our providers have privileges at Houston Methodist Sugar Land and Memorial Hermann Sugar Land. Learn more about our doctors. We welcome you to give us a call today or visit to schedule your appointment or inquire about our services.