With time spent doing errands, going to work, taking care of family, and staying active, many busy women don’t have the time to spend going to multiple doctors – but almost every woman has a gynecologist.
Perhaps you are wondering whether you could use your gynecologist as a primary care physician (PCP)? Let’s talk about what an OB/GYN provides and what this specialty doctor would probably recommend for your overall healthcare.
Can My OB/GYN Be My Primary Doctor?
A good gynecologist is focused on your overall health and well-being. While their foremost concern is women’s health, especially your reproductive health and how it is affecting your body, many gynecologists offer other wellness services as well – such as cholesterol screenings, thyroid checks, and vaccinations. Most gynecologists are trained to address basic health issues like blood pressure, cholesterol, and thyroid levels.
Your gynecologist can screen you for these basic conditions and be your first line of defense. If they see a chronic issue or something that needs further diagnostics or examination, they are prepared to recommend and refer you to the appropriate specialist who can give you the care you require.
The key is to have a good relationship with your gynecologist and to feel comfortable with the doctor. Make sure they know that you are treating them as your primary care physician so that they can give you a comprehensive checkup and refer you to other doctors when necessary.
What to Expect During Your Well-Woman Exam
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has put forth recommendations for what gynecologists should offer at annual well-woman examinations. These guidelines are based on your age and risk factors, and include lab tests, screenings, evaluations, and counseling.
Your gynecologist will also answer your questions about your overall health and other issues like diet and exercise. Yearly Well-Woman labs will include screenings for cholesterol, thyroid, blood sugar, and hemoglobin; you can also get vaccinations and immunizations such as flu shots, the Tdap vaccine, and the HPV vaccine if appropriate.
If your gynecologist does not feel comfortable being the one to oversee these general-health tests, they will likely recommend a provider who will be easy for you to see. Your OB/GYN knows you, so they will know what type of general practitioner to refer you to if necessary. They will likely refer you to their own PCP, or to a medical colleague they respect.
Ask Your Gynecologist for a Recommendation
While many gynecologists are thoroughly qualified to serve as your PCP, they may only want to focus on gynecological or obstetric medicine. Likewise, their practices may not be outfitted with qualified staff to provide PCP services, or your insurance may view gynecologists as a medical specialty – and therefore you must go to a PCP for a referral.
The best way to ensure you get the best quality healthcare is to find a primary care doctor you trust. That doctor should have the training, skills, and bedside manner that fit your needs and your personality, and the doctor should make you feel comfortable. If you do not feel comfortable, ask your gynecologist for a different recommendation or referral.
Primary Care Providers in Greater Cleveland
If you are looking for a gynecologist, a primary care physician, or you would just like a doctor to check something that is bothering you, Wooster Community Hospital is here for you. We have medical specialists and generalists in all fields, and we work as a team to take care of you and your whole family.
To schedule an appointment, contact our friendly team today by calling us at (330) 263-8100 or talk to a physician now via our Telehealth option. We look forward to being your healthcare provider for a lifetime of health and wellness.