With all your health care options, figuring out which doctor to see for your gynaecological concerns can be overwhelming and confusing. Dr Nicolette Rivera, a general practitioner with a special interest in women’s health, weighs in.
A general practitioner is best suited for the following gynaecological care :
-Annual well-woman checks (including a breast examination, pap smear test and any blood tests required)
-Sexually transmitted infections
Your general practitioner may refer you to a gynaecologist for the following:
-Ante-natal care (at eight weeks of pregnancy)
-Hormonal abnormalities (e.g. Polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS)
-Diseases needing surgical intervention (e.g. Ovarian cysts, fibroids)
-Any other issue that they are unable to diagnose or treat
When should a young woman begin to seek gynaecological care?
-Women should see their GP when they become sexually active in order to get contraceptives and sexual health advice. It is also recommended to complete your HPV vaccination course before becoming sexually active.
-It is only necessary to see a gynaecologist if your GP has referred you or in pregnancy.
When should a young woman begin Pap smears for cervical cancer prevention?
-The South African Guidelines recommend that women have their first smear test at age 25 years old. If you are diagnosed with HIV before 25 years old, you should have your first smear done at that time.