Women should establish both a Primary Care Physician and an OB-GYN to manage their health
If you’re like many women, you have an OB/GYN who you would follow to the moon and back. He or she delivered your baby and has seen you at your best and your worst. You don’t miss your annual gynecologist visit. But who do you see when you’re sick? Do you try and tough it out, or do you turn to urgent care? A better answer: establish a primary care doctor who can manage your overall health, including sick visits, along with the care you receive from your OB/GYN and other specialists.
Your primary care provider takes care of your general health. But to manage your whole health—over your entire life—you’ll likely need to assemble a team of healthcare providers. For women, at the top of the must-have specialists list is a gynecologist.
Your Primary Care Provider:
The primary care provider (PCP) you see likely will be a physician who is a family or internal medicine specialist. He or she focuses on healthcare for men and women of every age and is trained to treat most medical conditions.
Primary care physicians diagnose, treat and manage most chronic illnesses in addition to providing preventive healthcare, including checkups, immunizations, screening tests and counseling on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Primary Care Appointment Checklist:
Be prepared for your next primary care physician checkup with this checklist:
- Blood pressure—Ask your doctor what yours is and what it should be.
- Family history—Discuss when you should be tested for diseases that have affected family members.
- Blood tests—Discuss why they are important.
- Thyroid function—Ask your doctor when you should have your thyroid tested.
- Bone mineral density (BMD)—Ask your doctor what your BMD should be.
- Weight/BMI—Assess risk factors for diseases and conditions associated with obesity.
An obstetrician-gynecologist, or OB-GYN, is a physician who specializes in the care of women of all ages. He or she provides a wide range of services, including:
- Prenatal, pregnancy and postnatal care
- Screenings, such as pap tests, clinical breast exams and pelvic exams
- Postmenopausal care
- Surgery, including procedures to treat conditions of the urinary tract and pelvic organs
It is important to share with your OB-GYN the same type of information you give your primary physician, such as medications you take, surgeries you have had in the past and any symptoms or pain you have noticed.
Gynecologist Appointment Checklist:
Be prepared for your next visit to the gynecologist with this checklist:
- Contraceptive—Ask if you are on the correct one for your lifestyle.
- Sexually transmitted disease—Talk with your doctor about screenings because they are not part of a routine pap test.
- Mammograms—Discuss with your doctor if you are age 40 or over.
- Human papillomavirus—Ask about testing or immunization.
- Fibroids—Discuss the signs with your doctor.
Dr. Jennifer Lapeyrolerie is a New Orleans native. She attended Xavier University to earn her degree in Pharmacy. She then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her M.D. at the University Of California Los Angeles School Of Medicine. After Medical school she moved to Houston, TX to complete her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Texas Health Science Center. She has been at Touro for many years and sees patients of all ages.