Sometimes, the only thing more difficult than finding a pair of pants that fit right (thank you, yoga pants) is finding the right gynecologist. I mean, this doctor usually asks more personal questions than just “when was your last menstrual cycle?” You reveal a lot of intimate things with your gynecologist. And, there are a lot of factors to consider: male vs. female, younger vs. older, close to home vs. far away, in-network vs. out of network, etc. The struggle is real.
We can’t help you with the health insurance part (sorry), but we can give you four quick tips to narrow down your choices and help you find the right gynecologist for you.
1. Start with the WHY
Ask yourself, “Why am I looking for a gynecologist?” The answer will help you find the specialist you’re looking for. Maybe it’s the routine checkup or Pap smear. Maybe you’re looking for STD testing, birth control, or even start planning a pregnancy. It could even be a hormonal question. Whatever your reasons are, asking “why” can lead to the right healthcare practitioner.
- Are you experiencing urine leakage (which 1 in 3 women suffer from) when you laugh, sneeze, cough or workout? Look for a urogynecologist or urologist.
- Are you due for an annual checkup, Pap smear or looking for birth control? Look for a gynecologist or an obstetrician and gynecologist (OBGYN).
- Are you interested in learning more about pregnancy, childbirth or birth control? (Especially the pregnancy part.) Look for an OBGYN or midwife.
- Are you curious about vaginal rejuvenation or intimate issues like vaginal laxity or sexual dysfunction? Look for a urogynecologist, gynecologist or an OBGYN. You can also use a Provider Finder for a specific treatment or procedure to see who is closest to you.
2. Referral, referrals, referrals
Obviously, we’re not all on the same health insurance plan. But, odds are at least one of your friends or family members has the same next network as you. And, who better to suss out a good doctor than someone you trust?
If you can’t (or don’t want to) ask someone, no worries! This is what the internet was invented for. Simply google the provider you’re looking into and check out their reviews on Google, HealthGrades, Rate MDS or RealSelf (for providers offering elective treatments). You can also use social media to get recommendations or check out a provider/their practice.
41% of people in a recent survey said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility.
Also, don’t forget about the old-school, classic tactic: calling the office. If you call, you can directly ask questions about the doctor, their credentials, the practice, and if they’re accepting new patients.
Extra tip: make sure your provider is board-certified and does not have any malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. Find a review site and determine what qualities you’re looking for in a provider. Check out our next tip for more things to look for in reviews.
3.) Check for more than someone caring
It doesn’t matter if your healthcare provider is female or male, short or tall, brunette or blonde, as long as you feel comfortable with him or her. You want a doctor that makes you feel at ease, but especially when they’re checking up on your vaginal/pelvic area.
“The staff [SpaVie Medical and Laser Aesthetics] is welcoming and friendly. What a beautiful place. They were able to answer all my questions and made the process comfortable and easy! – Patient review on RealSelf
Care extends beyond bedside manner. Of course, we want (and deserve) a doctor that is kind, compassionate and provides thorough, high-quality care. But, if a provider truly cares about their patients, he/she will continually seek innovative, clinically-proven treatments.
“I believe patients deserve options supported by evidence-based medicine. This is especially true for procedures using new technologies and devices.” – Dr. Bruce Allan, Calgary, Alberta
Healthcare is constantly evolving. Every day there are new studies, new treatments and new protocols that can help improve a patient’s quality of life. Compassion and innovation go hand in hand. Usually, healthcare providers who are truly committed and care about their patients are constantly look for the best treatments to meet their patients’ needs.
4.) You can change your mind
If you’ve checked out tips 1-3 and still end up with a healthcare provider that doesn’t suit you, we have great news: you can change providers!
If you pick a gynecologist for your annual exam and he/she rushes through your appointment, minimizes your concerns, or isn’t as attentive as you’d like, you can change. There are many amazing healthcare providers, and statistically speaking, you’ll find the right one for you.