Gyno info

We know: Your gyno gets you. But some symp­toms re­quire out­side help

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

She knows the things you tell only your mates – and some stuff you’ve never even shared with them (um, that STI you got last year). And un­like your besties – or even some boyfriends – your gyno’s seen you naked un­der harsh flu­o­res­cent light. It’s no won­der that you two share an in­ti­mate bond and when it comes to any­thing med­i­cal, she’s your ideal first call.

In fact, she may be all her pa­tients’ ideal first call: nine in 10 women aged 18 to 44 want the op­tion of hav­ing an ob­gyn as their main doc­tor, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey.* 70 per cent of women say they’re more likely to be ‘open and hon­est’ with lady­part docs than with their GPs (be­cause, re­ally, why hold back when you’re al­ready stripped down and spread­ea­gle?).

Part of this stems from sheer fre­quency. Many women in their twen­ties see gy­nos more than any other doc­tor, for birth con­trol, STI test­ing, and Pap smears. And if they’re strapped for time or have sky­high in­sur­ance de­ductibles, they may try to pack as much into one visit as they can (e.g., ask­ing a gyno about all sorts of non­vag­re­lated is­sues). In some ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, a gy­nae­col­o­gist may lit­er­ally be the only doc­tor avail­able, through free clin­ics and Fam­ily Plan­ning Aus­tralia.

‘We tend to be the sole health­care provider for young, healthy women,’ con­firms gy­nae­col­o­gist Dale Bear­man. And that’s cool... well, most of the time.

While gy­nos are typ­i­cally happy to stray a bit out­side their med­i­cal spe­cialty, there are some things their train­ing just doesn’t cover. Fol­low our handy guide to what they can and can’t treat.

GYN-OK

COM­MON IN­FEC­TIONS

Gy­nos can han­dle UTIs, strep throat, and si­nus in­fec­tions and other up­per­res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems. ‘We are able to pre­scribe med­i­ca­tion for these un­com­pli­cated con­di­tions,’ says Dr Bear­man.

BA­SIC MEN­TAL HEALTH

They are trained to screen for post­par­tum de­pres­sion, but many ob­gyns are also versed in is­sues like mood dis­or­ders and do­mes­tic vi­o­lence. ‘We vary in what we feel com­fort­able with,’ says ob­gyn Dr Tamika Au­guste, ‘but we of­ten dis­cuss things like stress and de­pres­sion with our pa­tients’. If a case seems se­ri­ous, Dr Au­guste will re­fer to a spe­cial­ist.

HEADACHES

‘We can de­ter­mine if a pa­tient needs to see a neu­rol­o­gist,’ says Dr Bear­man. ‘Mi­graines are of­ten men­strual­re­lated, and we can treat them with birth­con­trol pills.’

WEIGHT MAN­AGE­MENT, SMOK­ING, AND DRUG USE

Gy­nos of­ten pro­vide tips on healthy be­hav­iours or rec­om­mend ad­dic­tion treat­ments. ‘Pa­tients are some­times sur­prised when they come in for a breast exam and I start ask­ing them how much they smoke,’ says ob­gyn Dr Rae­gan McDon­aldMosley. ‘But we may be the only one who sees a young woman in a given year, so we try to ad­dress her health needs holis­ti­cally.’

GY-NO-NO

CHRONIC CON­DI­TIONS Re­pro­duc­tive dis­or­ders aside, you’ll want a spe­cial­ist for long­term is­sues like al­ler­gies or ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome. If you feel some­thing brew­ing, your GP can screen you and sug­gest the right doc­tor.

GEN­ERAL DIS­EASE PREVEN­TION Most ma­jor dis­eases – aside from gy­nae­co­log­i­cal can­cers – are out of gy­nos’ ex­per­tise. To pre­vent di­a­betes, heart dis­ease and more, you’re bet­ter off see­ing a GP at least every few years in your twen­ties. ‘We re­ally fo­cus on catch­ing a broad range of dis­eases at an early stage,’ says Dr Sharon H. Bergquist.

EMER­GENCY SYMP­TOMS

For short­ness of breath, heart pal­pi­ta­tions and ma­jor al­ler­gic re­ac­tions, don’t wait for a call­back from any doc­tor’s of­fice. Get to the hos­pi­tal, stat!

TIME TO STEP AWAY FROM THE STIRRUPS?

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