OB/GYN: What Is the Difference Between Obstetrics and Gynecology?

OB/GYN: What Is the Difference Between Obstetrics and Gynecology?

The doctor and nurse practitioners at Mirabile M.D. Beauty, Health & Wellness have practiced gynecology in the Kansas City Metro area for over 25 years. We have found that when women, especially young women, think of women’s health doctors, they rightfully think of OB/GYNs. However, some OB/GYN physician’s focus on various aspects of a women’s health and may specialize in either gynecology, obstetrics. or both. We want to explain the differences between these types of care so that you can find the best women’s healthcare provider for your needs.

Gynecology

Although obstetricians and gynecologists both specialize in women’s reproductive health, there are several key differences in these two types of physicians. Gynecology is the medical field that specializes in the reproductive health of women. Gynecologists are physicians who receive special training in preventing, diagnosing, and treating issues related to women’s reproductive organs. These specialists offer a wide spectrum of care, but the most common services include contraception counseling and treatment, hormone therapy, gynecology, and well woman exams as well as surgical and minimally invasive treatment for gynecological conditions.

During contraception counseling, gynecologists will provide patients with birth control options, such as intrauterine devices, birth control pills, and other methods. Hormone therapy can benefit women of all ages and help with PMS, perimenopause, and menopause.

Gynecology and well woman exams play an important role in the overall health and wellness of women. Gynecologists perform pelvic exams, pap smears, and breast exams. They can also run Dexa scans, which measures bone mineral density. This test assesses the risk of osteoporosis or bone fractures, which is common in women as they get older.

These appointments and exams are key to preventative care. For example, gynecologists can perform hereditary cancer risk assessments, especially as they related to breast and ovarian cancers. Gynecologists will screen for pelvic, organ, or urinary tract problems, allowing them to diagnose and treat patients with chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, and abnormal pap smears. In addition to diagnosing and treating problems related to women’s reproductive organs, gynecologists can perform minimally invasive surgery as well as some more major procedures like hysterectomies.

When Do I Visit a Gynecologist?

A young woman should start seeing a gynecologist in her 20’s or when she becomes sexually active. However, gynecology is just as important as women get older and are past childbearing years. At Mirabile M.D., we provide patients with hormone therapy at every phase of life; however, hormone management during menopause is particularly beneficial and effective in maintaining moods and an overall sense of well-being. Additionally, screenings for ovarian and breast cancers are important at every age but become increasingly critical with age.

It is recommended that women visit their gynecologist at least once per year. At these annual appointments, patients can expect routine checkups such as pap smears. Many women will also opt for an STD test during this appointment.

Obstetrics

Obstetrics is the field of medicine that oversees the health of pregnant women before, during, and after birth. An obstetrician, or OB, will care for a pregnant woman to ensure a safe delivery process for both the mother and child.

During obstetrician appointments, the doctor will run tests and performultrasounds to make sure the baby and mother are healthy. There is a long list of tests that an expecting mother should anticipate during her OB appointments. These tests include blood pressure checks, urine tests, and blood tests that make sure the mother and baby are healthy throughout the nine months of pregnancy. OBs will also test the baby for congenital disabilities and genetic conditions.

Obstetricians can perform a range of procedures related to pregnancy, such as cervical cerclage, dilation and curettage, cesarean delivery (C-section), vaginal delivery, episiotomy, circumcision, forceps and vacuum deliveries and much more.

When Do I Visit an Obstetrician?

Many women will take over-the-counter pregnancy tests following their missed period. Although these tests are usually accurate, an OB will run an official urine and blood test to determine a woman’s pregnancy status. After that, pre-natal care involves regular OB appointments at least once a month with more frequent visits in the third trimester of the pregnancy.

After delivering 7,500 babies, Dr. Mirabile stopped the obstetrics portion of his practice so he could focus exclusively on gynecology. Our medical team provides gynecology care for women at all stages of life with a specialty in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy during peri-menopause and menopause. Contact us at (913)888-7546 to schedule a gynecology appointment at our Overland Park office.

 

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