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What is gynecology?

Gynecology is the medical specialty that addresses the health and diseases of the female reproductive system.

Gynecologists perform pelvic exams and Pap tests to screen women for signs of infections or diseases, including cancer. They also provide information on reproductive health issues, including family planning. Most women need to see a gynecologist regularly, starting between ages 13 and 15. Early visits may not include any exams or tests, but they give doctors and women a chance to talk about reproductive health issues and develop a relationship before any health concerns come up.

Gynecologists can diagnose, treat and offer advice on health problems such as:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Infections.
  • Menstrual disorders.
  • Hormone disorders.
  • Uterine fibroids.
  • Cervical polyps.
  • Ovarian cysts.
  • Infertility.
  • Cancer of any of the reproductive organs.

Gynecologists have completed medical school and an additional four years of training in women's general and reproductive health. Some women turn to their gynecologists for overall healthcare.

Many gynecologists are also trained in obstetrics, which means they can care for women during pregnancy, labor and childbirth, and after childbirth.

For more information on gynecology, visit the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website.

Reviewed 5/26/2021

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