We can say that this is the medical professional most present in the lives of women, at different stages. In puberty and adolescence, in the introduction to contraceptive methods, in the beginning of sexual life, in pregnancy, in the treatment of medical conditions, in menopause and in many other issues, it is the gynecologist who can count on.
Because it is so important for women’s health, it is essential to know what this professional does and when to look for him. In the following text, we describe this medical specialty. Good reading.
- 1 What is the gynecologist?
- 2 Natural gynecology
- 3 Gynecology and Obstetrics
- 4 Infant Gynecology
- 5 What is it for and when to go to the gynecologist
- 5.1 Early sexual life
- 5.2 TPM
- 5.3 Irregular menstrual cycle
- 5.4 STDs
- 5.5 Cervical cancer
- 5.6 Endometriosis
- 5.7 Polycystic ovary
- 5.8 Discharges
- 5.9 Dysmenorrhea (colic)
- 5.10 Breast pathology
- 5.11 Hirsutismo
- 5.12 Pregnancy
- 5.13 Infertility and difficulty in getting pregnant
- 5.14 Guidance on contraceptive methods and safe sex
- 5.15 Menopause
- 6 How does the consultation with the gynecologist work?
- 7 Performance of the gynecologist
- 8 What are gynecological exams?
- 9 First consultation with the gynecologist
- 10 How much does a consultation with a gynecologist cost?
- 11 Common questions
What is the gynecologist?
Gynecology, considered the science of women, is the medical specialty responsible for studying, diagnosing and treating physiological and pathological issues of female health, specifically that of the reproductive system (ovaries, vagina and uterus) and breasts.
So, gynecologists are specialized professionals who provide care and give special attention to women’s health.
There are several diseases diagnosed and treated by this specialty, such as STDs discovery, prevention of cancer of the cervix, monitoring the use of contraceptives, discovery and pregnancy monitoring, diagnosis and prevention of breast cancer and other conditions.
Usually, the first contact of women with gynecology professionals occurs in adolescence, when the pediatrician is not the most suitable doctor to monitor and resolve issues that involve, for example, the beginning of sexual life.
Generally, gynecologists also work as obstetricians, accompanying women during pregnancy and at delivery, a medical area known as gynecology and obstetrics .
To maintain a healthy and preventive routine, it is recommended that the woman go to the gynecologist at least once a year, so that he can assess which tests are necessary and ensure good sexual, reproductive and hormonal health.
Originating in the Andean countries, natural gynecology proposes an alternative way of diagnosing and treating diseases by promoting greater body awareness. It is considered a movement and not a specialty of traditional medicine.
Bringing a more humanized aspect, this type of approach promotes the woman’s self-knowledge in relation to her own body. Thus, they can better understand the emotional and physical signs of illness, the menstrual cycle or any other condition.
Despite the name, this method does not seek to understand exclusively the clinical changes related only to the organs of the female reproductive system, as it understands that the organism works in an integrated manner.
Natural gynecology helps in the knowledge about sexuality, fertility or who wish to put aside the use of contraceptives, for example.
The professional in natural gynecology employs a different look at the service and can resort to the use of herbs, teas, integrated therapies, emotional assistance and other alternatives, always taking into account the woman’s feelings and well-being.
It is common for gynecologists to also work or have extensive knowledge in obstetrics, due to the proximity of the areas.
While the gynecologist works in the various spheres of women’s health, the obstetrician turns to the gestational period, childbirth and the postpartum period.
Usually, the doctor’s specialization covers both areas, making it often difficult to separate them, as soon as during pregnancy, the obstetrician will be able to meet the intimate health needs of the woman as well.
Child gynecology or child pubertal gynecology is considered a subspecialty in the area, as it specifically serves children and adolescents. Complaints brought to the doctor’s office may vary according to the girl’s age.
From 8 or 9 years old, for example, the doubts that may arise refer to puberty, breast growth, hair or the beginning of menstruation. Generally, menstrual cycles start around 12 to 14 years of age, so in this age group it is common for patients to visit the gynecologist to understand issues such as colic and irregular menstruation.
In addition, it is up to the professional to provide guidance and sexually educate the girls, as a way of making them aware of the importance of carrying out exams, adopting contraception measures and maintaining health care routines.
The ideal is for the woman to visit the gynecologist regularly, and it is recommended, at least, to consult once a year, to prevent diseases and complications associated with infections or sexual life, for example.
However, the search must be immediate in the face of any symptom or if any of the conditions below occur:
Early sexual life
It is common for girls to seek guidance from a gynecologist at the beginning of their sexual life, due to the doubts that may arise in relation to the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and also to start using contraceptive methods.
The professional can be reached when the symptoms of PMS (premenstrual tension) become intense enough to disrupt the patient’s daily life. Due to hormonal changes, during this period the woman may present changes in mood that are very uncomfortable and it is up to the doctor to manage the condition in the best way.
Irregular menstrual cycle
Irregular menstruation is understood to mean menstrual cycles that show some variation at the normal rhythm of the woman, which may be constant or occasional changes.
The causes are diverse, and may indicate changes in the organism or an unwanted pregnancy.
Changes in the use of medications (contraceptives, for example), excessive physical exercise, inadequate nutrition, stress or gynecological diseases can also interfere in the cycle, which in these cases tends to regularize spontaneously again.
STDs are infections that can be caused by different agents, such as viruses and bacteria. When left untreated, they can lead to serious complications or progress to other pathologies.
Infection caused by the HPV virus is the main risk factor for cervical cancer. With tests such as the pap smear , an examination requested by the gynecologist, it is possible to investigate the presence of an infection early on and begin preventive treatment.
Not only to reduce the risk of cervical cancer, but also to prevent other sexually transmitted STDs without the correct use of condoms, regular consultation with the specialist is essential.
The Endometriosis is a disease in which the endometrial tissue outside the uterus grows, this being the fallopian tubes, ovaries and bladder. In addition to the endometrium, other tissues that should remain inside the uterus can spread to other areas, causing chronic inflammation.
The disease causes severe pain, especially during the menstrual period. There are some symptoms that may indicate this condition, such as heavy menstrual flow, pain in the “belly of the belly” or during sexual intercourse.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is an endocrine disease that causes variations in a woman’s hormone levels. This change in hormones is responsible for the formation of cysts in the ovaries, which can have different sizes.
Irregular menstruation, small cysts on the ovary and high production of male hormone (testosterone) are some of the symptoms of the disease.
There are some types of vaginal discharge, such as brown, white and yellow discharge, for example. Depending on the type, it does not become a concern as it is a natural secretion of the body (usually white discharge ), but only a gynecologist will know how to evaluate it.
When you notice discharge, especially when accompanied by a bad smell, itch, pain or other discomfort, it is recommended to consult with this doctor.
Read more: Milky white discharge: what is it?
Dysmenorrhea is a clinical condition in which the woman has severe cramps during the menstrual period, so strong as to disturb the daily lives of these patients.
The cause of dysmenorrhea is related to the release of a substance produced in the uterus called prostaglandin. This substance is responsible for increasing the contractions in the uterine muscle and impairing blood circulation in that region, which ends up causing pain.
This condition, however, can also be caused by other coexisting diseases, such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine malformations or by an inflammatory reaction to the use of contraceptive methods such as the IUD.
It is also known that there are two different types of colic, divided into primary or secondary. Primary colic is that present since the first menstruation (menarche), considered natural to the woman’s body.
Secondary colic can occur after long periods without pain. It is usually associated with the presence of other diseases, such as endometriosis, inflammation and tumors.
The gynecologist should be contacted when a breast condition is suspected, so that examinations can investigate the condition. In different types of breast cancer, for example, the gynecologist has a fundamental role in encouraging the performance of exams and self-exams.
In routine exams, the professional usually makes palpation of the breasts, to check for the possible presence of nodules or any other anomaly.
In patients older than 35 years, mammography can now be performed and in women below that age, breast ultrasound is usually performed.
When any of these exams reveals the presence of nodules, the gynecologist should refer the patient to a mastology doctor, who should request a biopsy to confirm whether the nodule is benign or malignant, and continue to monitor the patient.
Hirsutism is a hormonal disease that causes hair growth in women in regions of the body where it is more common in men, such as the face, for example.
There is no exact cause for this to happen, but there are some associated risk factors, such as hormonal variation, irregular menstrual cycles and acne .
When suspecting or after confirming a pregnancy, it is important to seek guidance from an obstetrical gynecologist. They are responsible for guiding the patient regarding pregnancy care, as well as collaborating for the prevention and treatment of complications during this period.
Infertility and difficulty in getting pregnant
Women who wish to become pregnant, but who find it difficult to do so, should go to the gynecologist to assess the health and integrity of their reproductive system.
It is important that the gynecologist always guides the patient to maintain a preventive quality of life, as some habits can interfere with fertility. Thus, during consultations, the doctor should ask the patient about this desire to become pregnant and guide the woman to lead a healthier life.
In the case of women who have polycystic ovary syndrome, for example, a more balanced diet can help the ovaries to function. Weight control also contributes to hormone levels being adequate.
In cases of female infertility, for example, you can start hormonal treatment or perform in vitro fertilization , ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination.
Guidance on contraceptive methods and safe sex
The gynecologist is responsible for guiding patients in the use of contraceptive methods, whether hormonal or not. Consulting with this professional is essential, as he will know the best method according to the needs of each patient.
In addition, gynecologists are the best prepared to answer questions about male and female condoms , guiding on the importance and the correct way to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STD and STI).
Menopause is a period in which menstrual and ovulatory cycles come to an end, due to the end of the production of female hormones in the ovaries. During this period, some symptoms such as excessive heat, decreased libido, difficulty sleeping and changes in mood may appear, being necessary to treat and monitor them.
The end of menstruation usually occurs in the 50s, but it is recommended that the woman prepare for this stage of life with the accompaniment of the gynecologist.
Thinking of a preventive lifestyle, the ideal is to carry out at least one consultation a year with the gynecologist, for healthy women who do not have any hormonal treatment, for example. Other conditions, such as starting contraceptives or treatments for cancer, polycystic ovary and menopause, may require more frequent consultations.
The consultation with the gynecologist can occur for several reasons and be referred in different ways, depending on the professional and the patient’s need. But, in general, it is divided into two processes: interview (anamnesis) and clinical examination.
In this type of interview, the gynecologist establishes a profile of the patient through a series of questions. In that first moment, he will listen to the patient’s main complaints and investigate the duration of the symptoms presented.
Questions related to gynecological and medical procedures prior to the consultation can be asked.
Questions related to menstruation, such as intervals, delays, duration and flow, are usually asked or reported by the patient during this interview.
In the case of patients who already have an active sex life, the gynecologist should ask about the use of contraceptive methods, libido, advise on adequate protection to avoid STDs and other doubts that the woman has.
The patient may be asked about habits such as smoking , a history of illness and the date on the last menstrual cycle so that the risks and benefits of each contraceptive method are assessed.
Gynecological clinical examination (pap smear)
The clinical examination made by the gynecologist takes place with prior guidance to the patient, so that she can go prepared for the consultation. It is important that the gynecologist clarify the dress, position and how this test should work.
In the examination, the woman must have an empty bladder and remove only the undergarments, such as pants and underwear.
Gynecology is a medical specialty that has some areas in which the professional can improve. Know the main ones:
The gynecologist, in this area of expertise, specializes in the diagnosis of different types of breast cancer. During this investigation, you can request a computerized mammogram, an x-ray exam done on a device called a mammograph, which allows a more accurate analysis of the presence of a possible nodule.
Bone densitometry is an imaging test used to diagnose osteoporosis , and is recommended for women who are menopausal, who use corticosteroid drugs continuously, who have thyroid-related hormonal problems and other conditions that can impair bone health.
There are gynecologists who also work with a focus on this type of exam, so bone densitometry is also considered an area of expertise.
Gynecologists specializing in fetal medicine are responsible for accompanying pregnant women during this period, requesting genetic tests, ultrasounds or even more invasive procedures, when necessary, to diagnose and preserve the health of the fetus and the mother.
In this area of performance of gynecology, which focuses on human fertility, there is work done with other medical areas and health professionals, such as psychology, urologist, biology and genetics.
Together, they are responsible for contributing to the treatment of women who wish to become pregnant, but who have difficulty. The gynecologist specialized in this area can perform tests to analyze the patient’s fertility, introduce hormonal treatments and perform IVF.
Sexology is an area within gynecology that studies and proposes solutions to patients who have problems related to sexual life.
In addition to acting in the awareness and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, sexologist gynecologists also play an important role in the treatment of complaints such as reduced libido, pain during sex, difficulty in having organisms and other issues.
In addition to performing the delivery, the obstetrician gynecologist is the doctor responsible for guiding and accompanying the woman throughout the gestational period, investigating and treating possible complications.
It also helps women who wish to become pregnant, but who for some reason have difficulty. In these cases, this professional helps to investigate the condition that is preventing this pregnancy from occurring.
The requested tests are done as a means of prevention and also for diagnosis in cases of symptoms. In general, the main exams are carried out to analyze the region of the vaginal canal and the cervix, which help the professional to draw a panorama of the patient’s intimate health. Know the main ones:
Also called cytological examination of the uterine cervix, the pap smear aims to prevent cervical cancer, a disease whose main triggering factor is infection caused by the HPV virus.
Through a collection of cells extracted from the vaginal wall and cervix, it is possible to investigate early on the presence of this and other possible infections.
During the examination, the woman remains lying with her legs supported on a higher support, while the gynecologist introduces a device similar to a parrot’s beak (speculum) to collect a sample of cells.
In general, it doesn’t hurt, but it can be an uncomfortable exam, especially when the woman is not calm and relaxed, as she can contract the muscles of the pelvic area and end up feeling pain at the moment.
The result of the examination indicates whether there is an infection and which is the causative agent. The report may take a few weeks to be ready. In the case of cervical cancer, for example, the diagnosis is not defined by the pap smear, other tests may be necessary to confirm.
It is important to note that every sexually active woman must undergo the exam periodically, especially within the age group of 20 to 65 years.
Clinical breast examination
Similar to self-examination, in this diagnosis the gynecologist examines the patient’s breasts to check for signs of disease, such as the presence of lumps, swelling, changes in the shape and color of the breasts.
It is an image exam done to observe the organs of the pelvic region, such as the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, in addition to veins and arteries close to these organs.
It helps in the investigation of diseases such as endometriosis, vaginal bleeding, ectopic pregnancy (fertilized egg outside the uterus), polycystic ovaries, infertility and other conditions.
Pelvic ultrasound is similar to the common exam, in which the ultrasound device is placed in the belly, non-invasively, but it can also be done inside the vagina, a process called transvaginal ultrasound.
In this mode, the images are more detailed, which allows a more assertive analysis of the organs of the female reproductive system for diagnosis.
Performed through the use of a device called a colposcope, colposcopy is an image examination that makes it possible to view the cervix and vagina in much more detail.
The colposcope is a device in which the gynecologist can see the genitals more clearly, as they are able to enlarge the image and promote better visualization.
Because it is a device that has magnifying glasses and lights, the gynecologist is able to have a good view of the vaginal canal and cervix, helping better to identify lesions, for example.
There are some requirements for it to be accomplished. For example, it should be done only on women with an active sex life.
The woman must also be out of her menstrual period, preferably having an empty bladder and not having had sex for the past 48 hours.
It is not common for the gynecologist to perform a clinical examination at the first visit. Usually, the first visit to the gynecologist happens right after the first menstrual cycle, between 9 and 15 years of age of the girl.
At that time, the doctor should ask questions regarding her cycle, the symptoms she presents (colic, breast pain, mood swings) and explain to the patient how menstruation works.
It is possible that there is a feeling of shame or insecurity before the first consultation with the gynecologist, so it is important that professionals are able to establish a relationship of trust with patients.
The use of contraceptive methods, sex education and information about sexuality can and should also be part of the consultation, with early information being the best way to raise awareness of women about the importance of health care.
The price of an appointment with a gynecologist may vary according to the region where you live. In general, most health plans cover consultation.
For those who do not have a health plan, it is possible to consult SUS, free of charge, or in the private network, with values ranging from 80 to 120 reais, on average.
Can I see a gynecologist online?
It is possible to find gynecologists who perform online care and help patients with their doubts. These consultations, despite facilitating access to information, should not replace a face-to-face consultation . The analysis of symptoms and the performance of exams is essential for a diagnosis to be established correctly.
In addition, it is important to research and consult the credibility of the service provided over the internet. Informing yourself is essential, but the consultation with the doctor should not be missed.
When should I perform my first gynecological exam?
There is no consensus regarding the ideal age to consult with the gynecologist. The best thing is to look for them whenever they have symptoms or around 21 years old.
What to do before the gynecological consultation?
There are some recommendations and tips that should be followed before consulting with a gynecologist. These guidelines are made so that the exams can be performed without any impediment. In such cases, the woman should:
- Schedule the appointment after 7 days of menstruation ;
- Empty the bladder before the consultation and the performance of any specific exam (except those that request otherwise);
- Avoid sexual intercourse the day before the consultation, so as not to cause changes in the vaginal pH;
- Avoid vaginal showering, as it may interfere with the Pap smear;
- Avoid vaginal creams for 3 days before the consultation;
- Try to be as calm as possible, because during the exams, the contraction of the muscles can cause pain;
- Wear clothes with 2 pieces, avoiding dresses or overalls. It is recommended because it is more practical and comfortable for the patient herself;
- Take care of hygiene, always taking a shower.
These are the main recommendations, and it is not necessary for the woman to be shaved . This decision is up to the patient’s discomfort or not in relation to the hair, but it does not interfere with the exams.
Will I need a gynecological exam if I am a virgin?
The need to perform gynecological exams depends on the symptoms presented by the patient. Girls who are still virgins can do them when necessary, but they must inform the professional.
It is important to remember that, like the use of tampons, gynecological exams do not interfere or break the hymen, a skin that partially covers the entrance to the vaginal canal.
Present at different times in her life, the gynecologist is certainly one of the most important professionals for women’s health.
We seek in this article to reinforce how much it is necessary to maintain a routine of preventive consultations and how this professional can help in the treatment and diagnosis of various pathologies. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share this information with your friends and family!