How Do I Find the Right Gynecologist for Me?

Reviewed by
iStock

Question:

How do I find a good gynecologist?

-Curious About Sexual Health

Answer:

There are many factors to consider when looking for the right gynecologist to fit your specific needs. A lot of it depends on what exactly you’re looking for. Do you only need a standard checkup? Or are you currently experiencing strange symptoms or another problem, like difficulty becoming pregnant?

First, it’s important to understand the different specialties within obstetrics and gynecology. While an obstetrician specializes in pregnancy-related care, gynecologists specialize in women’s reproductive health in general, including preventive care like cancer screenings and testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). An obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) covers both of those areas.

Some women’s health doctors are even more specialized:

  • Reproductive endocrinologist: Specializes in issues including pregnancy complications, reproductive disorders, hormonal issues, and menopause.
  • Gynecologic oncologist: Specializes in cancers related to the reproductive organs.
  • Urogynecologist: Specializes in pelvic floor disorders.

Where to look

Once you figure out what kind of doctor you want to see, you can start researching options in your area.

Your health insurer’s website is a great place to find reputable gynecologists in your area who are covered by your insurance. Many have a directory that you can search based on different factors, like specific insurance plans, gender, location, specialty, and more. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) also has a directory you can search by state, name, or zip code.

Once you find names, you can also research the doctors on different reviews websites, like Healthgrades or Zocdoc, to see what other patients are saying about them. You can even use Yelp to read reviews. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all online reviews are reliable.

Furthermore, you can always ask your friends, family, and primary care physician about recommendations for a trusted gynecologist.

Other factors to consider

When it comes to feeling comfortable with your doctor, you may also want to consider the gender you would like your doctor to be. Some women may be more comfortable with a female doctor, while others may not mind having a male doctor. Regardless of what you choose, the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics says that patients should be able to request a chaperone to create a more comfortable atmosphere during physical exams. For example, if you have a male doctor, you may request he be accompanied by a female nurse while doing procedures or vaginal health screenings.

It’s also important to consider how soon you need to see the doctor. If you are considering a new doctor, you should verify that the office is accepting new patients. If so, ask how long you will have to wait for your first appointment. If you have an immediate need or problem, how soon the doctor can see you is a serious factor to consider. If the doctor can’t see you promptly, the office may suggest an appointment with one of their nurse practitioners or physician assistants in the office to get you seen sooner.

If you have a question for our HealthCentral experts, please submit here.

You should know: The answer above provides general health information that is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment recommendations from a qualified healthcare professional.

See more helpful articles:

How to Prepare for a Visit to the Gynecologist

Top 3 Myths Your Gynecologist Wants You to Stop Believing

Common Concerns About Vaginal Health, According to an OB-GYN