Although family practitioners and internists can treat men and women, some female patients prefer to see a medical professional specifically trained in women’s health. As a result, they often consult accredited obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) health care providers. These medical specialties have the expertise required to manage various aspects of women’s health care, including pregnancy and disorders of the reproductive system.
While the education and training for these allied fields are often conducted simultaneously, they are two distinct medical specialties. While obstetricians can deliver babies and care for pregnant women, gynecologists provide preventive reproductive health care. An OB/GYN is a medical professional who is trained to perform both aspects of patient care and treatment. Obstetrics and gynecology are often treated as a single specialty for certification purposes.
Obstetrics focuses on the health of pregnant women, the prenatal health of their unborn children and the postnatal care of the mother while she recovers. They do not treat diseases of the reproductive system. Obstetricians monitor fetal development and the mother’s health. They are also trained to handle complications during the pregnancy, labor and delivery, such as fetal distress, an ectopic pregnancy and preeclampsia, along with placental abruption, prolapsed umbilical cords and obstetrical hemorrhage.
Gynecology is the medical specialty that deals with the care of a woman’s reproductive system, including the vagina, ovaries and uterus. Gynecologists perform routine screening tests like breast examinations, Pap smears and surgical procedures, including tubal ligations and hysterectomies. They treat diseases and disorders, such as vaginal infections, infertility and cancer of the reproductive organs, as well as prolapsed pelvic organs and urinary incontinence.
A gynecologist can confirm a pregnancy and refer the woman to an obstetrician if necessary. Some gynecologists discontinue their obstetrics practice to focus on related areas, like the treatment of reproductive system disorders and infertility. Based on their extensive education and training, gynecologists can serve as a woman’s long-term primary care physician. They can also provide medications and coping strategies for women experiencing menopause.
While some women choose to remain childless throughout their lives and only need gynecological care, many women require the expertise of physicians with obstetrical training. Whether you need long-term care, health screening or assistance with a pregnancy, an OB/GYN is fully trained to provide the care that you need.
At South Lake OB/GYN in Clermont, we offer extensive services in both obstetrics and gynecology. You can schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns, and we can perform a comprehensive examination. Contact us today to book your consultation.