Gynecologists are the best choice for women’s health and reproductive needs. Their specialized knowledge regarding reproductive disorders, vaginal health, and gynecological cancer allows them to screen and treat these female-specific disorders. However, a gynecologist can’t replace your primary care provider. For annual checkups, immunizations, and acute care for sickness, a general practitioner is more effective. But, we’re not talking about general care today. Instead, we’re focusing specifically on gynecological health. This brings us to the third part of this series providing practical advice for choosing your first gynecologist.

Choosing Your Gynecologist What To Consider

Before jumping into scheduling an appointment with the first gynecologist you Google online, there are variables to consider. Key points to prioritize include what specific needs or preferences you have. If you have a pre-existing condition such as endometriosis or PCOS. You may choose a specialty doctor to ensure the best experience for monitoring, and managing your disorder. Additionally, they can help with symptom reduction and fertility preservation for the future.

On the other hand, if you have general needs, you can choose to work with a traditional gynecologist. As for preferences, you may prefer a female doctor instead of a male doctor. Or, you might want a doctor that’s close by to prevent a long commute. Decide on these things and begin researching different gynecologists that align with your priorities. Create a list of various gynecologists to narrow down which one would be best for you. Further considerations include what insurance they accept, recommendations, credentials, work history, special training, accreditations, and performance history.

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Do They Accept Your Insurance?

If you’re insured, check with your provider to see if the gynecologist is covered under your plan. Many insurance plans provide a directory of providers that are in-network. Check to see if your insurance provides this feature; if so, this can be a time-saver.

Are They Highly Recommended?

Another option for choosing a gynecologist is reaching out to family and friends for a recommendation. This is beneficial because close family and friends won’t recommend a person that doesn’t provide quality care. You may want to add them to your list of considerations to research.

Do They Have Solid Credentials?

A board-certified gynecologist that attended a reputable medical school indicates their knowledge in the field. Additionally, it can give you an idea regarding the standard of care you can expect. An added bonus is if they have an affiliation with a well-renowned hospital. Furthermore, it boosts their credibility for providing excellent care. Keep in mind that these factors are important but not the end all be all. Good and bad gynecologists come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. They can attend the best schools and have amazing credentials but are the wrong doctor for you. So, include this information as part of your research and take care to look at the whole picture-especially regarding their track record.

gynecologist credentials

Lastly, take note of their work history and if their practice is well established. There’s nothing wrong with gynecologists with a short work history and new practice. However, a seasoned gynecologist has first-hand knowledge of various conditions and issues. Whereas those with a new practice don’t have much experience. On the other hand, new gynecologists may offer more affordable rates to build their practice and attract new patients.

Which gynecologist you choose will depend on your comfort level, needs, and budget. If you have only general health concerns, a more affordable gynecologist with a new practice may work. However, if you have specific needs such as a reproductive disorder. Or your risk of developing a reproductive disorder or gynecological cancer is higher, an experienced gynecologist may prove more beneficial.

What Specialties Do They Have If Any

Many times gynecologists specialize in specific fields. Some choose to focus specifically on general gynecology. Others focus on specific conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, infertility, or gynecological cancer. Being at an increased risk of one or more of these disorders may require working with a specialist. They will have more training and experience to screen, diagnose, treat, and manage such conditions. Additionally, if you currently have one of these conditions, they can monitor and treat you. Yet, if you don’t have any specific concerns working with a general gynecologist is perfectly fine. 

Do They Have A Good Track Record?

One of the best places to determine a doctor’s level of care is to read their reviews online. What are current and past patients saying about them? Are their comments positive or negative? Did they provide specific feedback or details regarding their experience? Was it complicated for them to schedule their appointment? Did they receive adequate treatment from the front staff and nurses? Was the wait time long, or were they efficient? How was the doctor during their appointment? Were they patient, attentive, and listened to their concerns and pain points? Or were they rude, brisk, and off-putting? How well did the doctor explain things and answer questions to the patient’s satisfaction?

gynecologist performance record

The observations made by these patients provide real insight into what you can expect at your appointment. They detail how you’ll be treated from the time you schedule your appointment until you finally meet with the doctor. Reviews provide a picture of the overall experience and doctor’s demeanor. However, learning about disciplinary actions, complaints, past or pending malpractice lawsuits reveals the big picture. Having any type of disciplinary action or lawsuit is a red flag. This reveals their inability to provide competent care as a gynecologist.

You can access reviews by doing a quick Google search about the doctor’s practice.  Additionally, the search feature offered by  insurance providers include basic information about practitioners as well. However, visiting docinfo.org is the better option for accessing disciplinary actions and lawsuits against a doctor. They can provide information regarding a doctor’s background and flag any complaints, disciplinary actions, or malpractice lawsuits.

Take Your Time And Shop Around

Gynecological care is intimate. Hence why trust and comfort will be high on your priority list. Taking the time and researching beforehand gives you a feeling of confidence. Which helps you prepare for your first well-woman exam. However, despite all the research, you may have a negative experience with your doctor.

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If you feel your pain points aren’t acknowledged during your appointment, they don’t listen, your symptoms are invalidated, your questions go unanswered, or you don’t feel comfortable. You’re not crazy, and getting a second opinion is a good idea. You deserve to have your issues addressed, questions answered, feel validated and comfortable.

Working with a qualified gynecologist means you know your health and well-being are in trustworthy hands. They provide patient-centric care based on current technology and information. You may find a doctor that provides this type of care on your first try. Or, it may take a few tries to find your Goldilocks doctor. Regardless, it’s important to continue to advocate for your health until you receive the best level of care for your reproductive health. See Well-Woman Exam Expectations You Should Have For Your First Exam To Make It Easier

How confident do you feel about choosing your first gynecologist?  But, before you rush to go and schedule your appointment, there are a few things you should know about insurance and how it plays a role in choosing your gynecologist and scheduling your appointment. In the next post of this series, you’ll learn more about this process.