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Gynecology Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy In the United States, J. Marion Sims is considered the father of American gynecology. Gynecology is typically considered a consultant specialty, in other words the gynecologist is asked by another doctor to evaluate the patient and render an opinion, suggest or carry out treatment. Women are often "referred" to a gynecologist by a General Practitioner or Family Practitioner if the condition requires training, knowledge, surgical technique, or equipment unavailable to the referring doctor. In the U.S. many health insurance provide for gynecologists to provide primary care in addition to aspects of their own specialty. Therefore, some women opt to see a gynecological surgeon without another physician's referral.

The main tools of diagnosis are clinical history, examination and laboratory testing. Gynecological examination is carried out with instrumentation such as the speculum which consists of two hinged blades of concave metal or plastic used to retract the tissues of the vagina and permit examination of the cervix, the lower part of the uterus located within the upper portion of the vagina. Gynecologists also perfrom a bimanual examination, with one hand on the abdomen and one or two fingers in the vagina, to palpate the cervix, uterus, ovaries and bony pelvis. A rectovaginal exam is usually done for complete evaluation of the pelvis, particularly if any suspicious masses are thought to exist. Male gynecologists often have a female chaperone (usually a nurse) for their examination. An abdominal and/or vaginal ultrasound can be used to confirm any abnormalities detected by physical examination or when suspected based on the patient's history.

Some common conditons dealt with by a gynecologist are:

  • Infertility
  • Cancer and pre-cancerous diseases of the reproductive organs including ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina, and vulva
  • Amenorrhea (absent menstrual periods)
  • Dysmenorrhoea (painful menstrual periods)
  • Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual periods). This is a common indication for hysterectomy.
  • Incontinence of urine
  • Prolapse of pelvic organs


The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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