DR. RIGHT? YOUR ULTIMATE TIPS TO FINDING A GOOD GYNECOLOGIST
July 16, 2021
Visiting a gynecologist should be normalized in an effort to take care of the feminine reproductive health, be it for the young or old. It should not be shied away from, either you are sexually active or not as it is an important procedure in identifying any problems associated with the female reproductive system. Reminiscing on our previous interview with Dr. Frances Wurie Sesay who teaches and lectures at the College of Medicine, Sierra Leone at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, she explains to Ariana diaries that: We are not in a culture where annual checkups are a norm. Partly due to some lack of knowledge, but also because of cost. Let’s be realistic, we don’t have insurance. For somebody to just say “I am going to make an appointment, when they are not ill”. First of all people don’t even have personal doctors, most of the time. They just go to the nearest health center or hospital when they are sick or think of something of that sort. So when I did the first TV Show, I was talking specifically about when to go to your gynecologist. I mentioned having an annual visit especially if you are sexually active. I mentioned that for a young girl, an adolescent girl, one who has started her menses or the one who is 16, 17 who has not started her menses, does not have any breast buds that a visit is important as a general check-up. If she has started her menses to talk about hygiene, to talk about mood swings, to talk about what to expect. Women have to learn how to do their monthly breast exam, on their own at home, in the shower or when they are lying on the bed, after their menses. That is important. What you also have to be is observant, we have normal vaginal discharge, and so, what’s abnormal! What’s abnormal is if there is an awful smell or if you have any vaginal itching, colour change. Discharge doesn’t have to do with you being promiscuous. It doesn’t mean that at all. There are different reasons as to why you would have less discharge or even more copious discharge, especially depending on the time of your monthly cycle but there should be something there that is not offensive. That is kind of cream white or clear, which does not have any foul smell and does not itch. That is normal. If women are aware of those aspect of their bodies and those aspects of their health. They then become their own ambassadors. They know when something is wrong. So, it’s like hey! This is different from last month, something going on here, now I need to go to the Dr. for sure. That’s when you go when there is a problem, but in the absence of any problem, what is important is a wellness visit. You should visit your Gynecologist for the following reasons: To do a regular pelvic exam- an annual exam, which checks the lower part of your abdomen and your private to ensure there is nothing wrong. Also to have a conversation, are you eating well? Are you sleeping well? Are you on any vitamins, or make sure you don’t have any underlying conditions, are you mentally ok? You are dealing with this human being holistically, it’s not just about physical well-being. You have to think, because if this woman has like marital issues, stressed with the job, stressed with the kids, whatever the case may be it affects her as well. It affects how her body works. So, all of that, that’s why I keep saying priority is having somebody you can talk to. We act sometimes as counsellors. When you sit with your patient if something is going on she should feel comfortable enough to tell you. ‘Na dis dae morna mi or na dis dae mona mi ‘and you’ll probably put two and two together and say this probably the reason why this is happening or that is happening. It’s very important that we advocate for yearly visits even though I am very cognizant of the associated costs! That is where the challenge is, hopefully we will get to a point where we have a national insurance scheme that would be one of the pluses, where people take charge of their health especially if they do this wellness checks. They will be able to detect things early on so hopefully, then we will be able to treat them early on and it would never become the advance stage of whatever it is, that is what is important.
HERE ARE 6 THINGS YOU SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR IN YOUR GYNECOLOGIST:
Make sure they are highly recommended
There’s nothing better than getting a recommendation directly from someone you’re close with who’s pleased with her care. Ask around for people who have a good relationship with their OB-GYN. Listen to what they like about them, and if it sounds like they might be a fit for you, get the details and set up an appointment.
Know who’s in your network
Start by figuring out which OB-GYNs are in your network. Choosing an OB-GYN in-network usually means your insurance will cover more of their services. This can help you better understand your coverage options and avoid unexpected surprises down the line. If you’re not sure where to look, a good place to begin is your insurance provider’s website.
Think about your own personality and communication style
We’ll cover how to get a read on a potential OB-GYN’s manner a little further down, but before that, start with yourself. For example, if you consider yourself more serious, would you want a similar OB-GYN, or someone who can bring a little levity to your visits? Do you want your OB-GYN to just give you the facts, or would you prefer a gentler demeanor? Think about the “must haves” you’re looking for in your OB-GYN – and what kinds of personalities tend to mesh well with yours – to help you more clearly figure out if a doctor feels right for you when you visit.
Check their history, location and specialty
Once you’ve got your eye on a potential OB-GYN, find their online biography. Check to see if they’re currently practicing at a clinic that’s convenient for you. Board certification – when an OB-GYN has completed extra training and exams beyond their licensure to be recognized as an expert – might be important to you. Also see if you can find details about any specializations. For example, you might want an OB-GYN who’s especially interested in managing heavy periods. Or if you’re pregnant, you might want an obstetrician who’s experienced with gestational diabetes.
Know that your decision isn’t final
Keep in mind that you’re not stuck with your decision. You’re in control of your health care. If your OB-GYN relationship doesn’t seem to be working out, try to talk about your concerns. Sometimes it might be a simple matter of clearing up a miscommunication or misunderstanding, and then everything goes smoothly. But if you feel you need to switch to a new doctor, that’s okay, too. It’s always your choice, and many times your OB-GYN will be part of a larger clinic where you can easily set up an appointment with a different doctor.
It’s common for patients to feel guilt when they want to switch doctors. Don’t! We realize that we can’t possibly be the best fit for every patient. We just want you to find the best fit, whether that’s with us or another doctor.
Be sure they have positive reviews
See what other people are saying about your potential OB-GYN by reading reviews left for them online. Patient satisfaction surveys can tell you what to expect regarding scheduling, availability, office environment, doctor approachability, bedside manner and a whole lot more.
Thanks for the reminder that it’s important to also look into whether a gynecologist is highly recommended or not. I’d like to talk to one soon because I have been having a lot more cramps during my period these past few months. I want to know if this is something I should be worrying about.