5 Nonpregnancy Reasons to See Your OB-GYN
What do obstetrician-gynecologists (OB-GYNs) actually do? If you said that they provide pregnancy care and treat menstrual disorders, that’s true—but it’s only part of the answer.
OB-GYNs are the experts on women’s health and well-being at every age. That includes not only reproductive health concerns, but also menopause issues and overall health maintenance.
What your OB-GYN can do for you
These are some services that you may not have known your OB-GYN can provide.
Well-woman visits are full checkups scheduled every year. This type of visit promotes health and wellness through preventive care. Among other things, you may:
Answer questions about your health history
Receive a physical exam, vaccines, and/or screenings (see below)
Discuss your lifestyle habits, such as your diet and physical activity
Learn about ways to improve your health
Screening tests are designed to catch diseases early, when they may be easier to treat. Talk with your OB-GYN about how often you should be screened for cervical and breast cancer. Plus, your OB-GYN can advise you on screening for high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Menopause care includes learning how to manage the symptoms of menopause and discussing whether hormone therapy is right for you. You can also turn to your OB-GYN for advice on handling vaginal dryness or sexual changes. Plus, your OB-GYN can recommend steps for protecting your heart and bone health.
Urinary incontinence care provides help for bladder control problems. Ask about exercises to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Sexual healthcare includes the management of issues such as painful sex or loss of sex drive. Your OB-GYN is also your go-to expert on birth control, safe sex practices, and testing for sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
Is this the same thing as primary care?
If you think this sounds a lot like what your primary care provider (PCP) does, you’re not wrong. There is some overlap in the services that PCPs and OB-GYNs provide.
However, there are also key differences, so many women have both an OB-GYN and a separate PCP who practices family medicine or internal medicine. Family medicine focuses on overall health for the whole family. Internal medicine focuses on health conditions that affect adults.
And obstetrics-gynecology? That focuses on a lot more than you probably realized. If you’re interested in any of the services listed above, ask your OB-GYN about them at your next visit.