What Is The Role Of A Gynaecologist?
A Gynaecologist is a medical specialist who looks after the health and wellbeing of women of all ages. With an in-depth knowledge of the reproductive system, organs and women’s general health they provide specialist care for woman of all ages through from teens to elders.
The role of a Gynaecologist includes promoting optimal health for women preparing for and at the early stages of pregnancy. The Gynaecologist will monitor medical disorders such as blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid disorders and keep an eye on the wellness of not only the Mother, but her baby as well.
Obstetricians, who deal with the pregnancy part of gynaecology are there for the delivery of the baby, whether this is a normal birth, a delivery with the aid of instruments or a caesarean section. Gynaecologists/Obstetricians are Specialists who undergo years of intensive training in both medical and surgical aspects of women’s care, both during pregnancy and at other times of their lives.
Other specialist areas of health that you should see a Gynaecologist for include:
Infertility affects 1 in 6 Australian couples and generally speaking, women are advised to attend their Gynaecologist if they haven’t fallen pregnant after trying for a year. There are a number of factors which can be investigated, including checking on egg production, the structure of reproductive organs, hormonal conditions and lifestyle factors. The Gynaecologist will also investigate and manage infertility in males.
Your Gynaecologist will not only be able to assist in achieving a pregnancy, but also monitor the pregnancy and your health all the way through until the birth of the child.
Hormonal disorders cause a range of conditions including Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), abnormal body hair growth and other menstrual problems such as lack of period, heavy-flow periods and painful periods. These are all common that are treated by Gynaecologists.
These hormonal conditions are treated and managed with a variety of techniques, and hormone manipulating medications. Where required, the Gynaecologist can also perform major surgeries such as a hysterectomy through minimally invasive keyhole surgery. This means that patients spend only a minimum amount of time in hospital before they are back on the road to full recovery. Gynaecology has led the way in the field of minimally invasive keyhole surgery for many years.
The management of bladder control has long been the province for Gynaecologists.
The control problems can usually be treated and managed in conjunction with Physiotherapy programs involving pelvic floor strengthening exercise programs.
In some cases when all other options have been exhausted minimally invasive surgical techniques may be required and bladder function is tested through a technique called urodynamics which involves tiny surgical incisions and a minimal amount of time off work.
Some bladder control difficulties may arise due to development of a prolapse, whereby pelvic organs may fall down from the position they normally occupy, causing symptoms. Gynaecologists have a variety of procedures which can be employed to help restore women’s anatomy and fix the problems that they are presenting with. At times surgery may be required and this is where the high level of training of the Gynaecologist allows for a good outcome for prolapse problems.
Gynaecologists have, for many years been involved in preventative medicine for women and the success of the cervical screening test (pap smear) has been unparalleled in medicine.
Being able to sample a few cells from the neck of the uterus (cervix), using an instrument called a speculum means the virus that can cause cancer of the cervix can be detected early and treated using a very minor procedure, rather than allowing detection at a later date, where major surgery or other therapy may be required to treat the advanced cancer change.
Currently, a cervical screening test is advised every five years and while it is initiated by General Practitioners, most abnormalities in the cervical screening test are managed by the Gynaecologist. There is a procedure called a colposcopy, whereby the neck of the uterus could be carefully examined and biopsied in the Gynaecologist’s rooms and treatment instigated following this small procedure.
Post-Child Bearing Years
The transition from fertility to post-child bearing years is an area which Gynaecologists have a particular expertise in. Managing symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats by hormone replacement therapy and a variety of other measures are areas in which the Gynaecologist is extensively trained. Hormone replacement therapy has improved things for women undergoing a period in their life where changes in hormones produce a number of symptoms, which can readily be controlled using the expertise of the Gynaecologist.
The health of women from early days until very old age is very capably in the hands of Gynaecologists.
Please give me a call on (07) 3353 3100 if you would like a consultation. You will require a referral letter from your General Practitioner for your consultation.
How Often Do I Need Pre-natal Visits?
The first antenatal visit happens quite early on in the pregnancy and subsequently the pregnant woman is seen every month up to 28 weeks. After that visits are every two weeks and following that, in the last month until delivery, weekly reviews are best.
During a Gynaecologist’s visit the woman is asked about her past history, including any pregnancies. She is asked about contraceptive use and about other illnesses she may have had in the past and any operations. Family history is important to know in most fields of medicine and we like to know what medication a patient is taking. It is important to be aware of any allergies. At the visits, the patient’s abdomen is examined for any abnormalities and a gentle internal exam is performed to assess any abnormalities in the pelvis. Sometimes an ultrasound is performed, either with an external (trans abdominal ultrasound probe) or a vaginal ultrasound is performed. This is rather like having a pap smear done. Sometimes a speculum exam is performed, in which a small device is used to visualise the neck of the uterus (cervix). A cervical screening test (pap smear) may be performed or any swabs may be taken if deemed necessary.
Following this, a plan of treatment is constructed and women are always asked if they have any questions at the end of the gynaecological interview. Usually a follow-up appointment is arranged so that progress in the success of treatment can be monitored. There may be a number of other tests required including scans, or blood tests which need to be followed up.
When Should You Go To The Gynaecologist For The First Time?
The Gynaecologist is a medical specialist and is normally referred by a General Practitioner or Family Doctor.
Reasons for going to see a Gynaecologist may involve concerns about difficulty falling pregnant, abdominal pain, problems with periods, problems with bladder or bowel control and a sensation of prolapse or a dragging sensation in the pelvis. A Gynaecologist will see patients with abnormal cervical screening tests (pap smears) to further assess and treat them.
If you have gynaecological problem or if you are pregnant, it is import to see a Gynaecologist.
In the case of pregnancy, you should see an Obstetrician. An Obstetrician is a Gynaecologist who also deals with pregnancies, from planning and early visit, regular monitoring and through to birth.
How Do I Prepare For My First Gynaecological Appointment?
It is important to have a referral note from your GP or family doctor and to bring along any reports or investigations, including blood tests, scans or any swabs that may have been done. It is wise to have an empty bladder before the gynaecological exam.
Women should attend Gynaecologists when advised by their General Practitioner. The frequency of gynaecological visits depends on the particular condition for which the patient has been seen, for example, towards the end of pregnancy visits may even be every week. If it is a concern about getting pregnant and requires IVF, then this may be every few days.
To discuss any questions you may have about any topics discussed in this blog, book a consultation to see me by calling (07) 3353 3100 and speak with our friendly team.