When to see a gynecologist

Older woman talking to her doctor

Scheduling an appointment with an obstetrician or gynecologist isn’t always about pelvic exams and Pap smears.

“This is just a small part of what we do,” says Nebraska Medicine OB-GYN Katie Lessman, MD. “In fact, most of our time is spent treating and managing issues related to the reproductive system and providing preventive health maintenance.”

To clarify, an obstetrician specializes in caring for women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. A gynecologist focuses on reproductive health, which includes the health of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and other organs of the female reproductive system. Most OB-GYNs practice obstetrics and gynecology as they are taught together during their training.

Some of the most common gynecological disorders seen by OB-GYNs include:

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Menstruation problems
  • Birth control
  • Pelvic pain
  • Menopausal medicine
  • Ovulation
  • Polyps
  • Gynecological cancers
  • Fibroids
  • Hormone disorders
  • Sexually transmitted infections

An OB-GYN can perform diagnostic procedures, surgeries and other treatments related to these disorders. “We have extensive training in obstetrics and gynecology and devote much of our time to providing prenatal care and managing gynecological issues,” says Dr. Lessman.

“We can also serve as a woman’s main doctor for their annual well-being check-ups. We will keep you on schedule with preventive health screenings and consult with you on important issues like nutrition, exercise, safe sex, pregnancy prevention and planning. If you develop issues beyond our scope of care, we can refer you to a primary care doctor or specialist.”

Dr. Lessman recommends establishing a relationship with an OB-GYN in your teens or early 20s, especially once you become sexually active. “It’s good to have a relationship with your doctor before you need them so you feel comfortable discussing problems and seeking care from them.”

Need an OB-GYN?
Schedule an appointment with one of our OB-GYNs at 800.922.0000.