Quick Tips: Can You Use Your Ob/Gyn as Your GP?

By , By Woman's Day Staff

Having trouble finding a general practitioner you like? Consider asking your gynecologist to step in. Seeing one person you’re comfortable with (instead of two you’re so-so about) could lead to better care, as long as you don’t have any medical issues that might require a specialist. But you must ask her if she’s willing to accept the responsibility of monitoring your overall well-being, not just your reproductive health. If she agrees to be your main provider, she should be able to do everything from screening you for diabetes and heart disease to refilling your prescription for allergy meds, in addition to giving you a Pap smear and breast exam.

Some gynecologists only want to serve as specialists; others are happy to provide general care but they won’t necessarily think about monitoring, say, your cholesterol levels, unless you make it clear that you’re not also seeing another primary care doctor such as an internist.

Lissa Rankin, MD, ob/gyn, founder of OwningPink.com.

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Do you have trouble finding a doctor that you like? Would you consider asking your gynecologist (or other specialist doctor) to treat you for general wellness that would usually be under the guidance of a general practitioner?

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DO discuss this with your OB-GYN. Some only want to do surgery; others are pleased to provide primary care. When I was practicing, one thing I was most proud of was that I did primary care (lots of counseling, at least 30% of what health care was needed was nutrition related) AND KNEW WHEN TO REFER. However, I know other specialist who only want to be in the OR. Report
I have a great relationship with my primary physician. While I no longer live in the same city where she works, I continue to drive to see her because she knows my 11 year history with her! I have her do my yearly physical, including the pap, so that one doctor is handling all the basics! Report
I'd let the specialists stick to their specialty. Choose a good primary care physician that will focus on your general care, but refer you to a specialist when the need arises. Report
My ob/gyn does my yearly bloodwork to check my cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. and then mails me the results (because I want the actual #s) which I then forward to my PCP. Then I see my PCP for any non-gyn illnesses. Works well for me. Report
If it is for your yearly physical I think it is fine to use your ob/gyn. However, sometimes they get called to a delivery and so other visits need to be rescheduled. And it is not always easy to get in for a short appointment if you are sick or having an issue. Report
You would also have to make sure that your ob/gyn is willing to TREATyou if a problem arises. it's not just about screening. if you actually do end up with a problem, like diabetes and high cholesterol, your ob/gyn should be comfortable with treating these problems as well as be comfortable with the meds used to treat them. Your ob/gyn (If they agree to take care of all your healthcare issues) would be the point person in coordinating your care with various specialists and would have to make sure that any recommendations made by these specialists are actually carried out. And they would definitely have to be willing to fight the good fight with the insurance companies, which is a daily occurrence in my office. Report
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