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Should I Have Both an Obstetrician / Gynecologist & Primary Care Doctor?

by Dr. Staci Tanouye

Primary care doctors versus OB/GYNs – here’s why OB/GYN Dr. Staci Tanouye says it’s important to see both.

Every year, it’s a good idea to schedule a regular visit with an OB/GYN in addition to a routine visit to a
primary care doctor. Why is it important to have both types of doctors? It’s a common (and important!)
question. Although it’s a personal preference, I highly recommend having both a primary care doctor
and a gynecologist to keep a monitor on your overall health.

Pros of Having an OB/GYN

The female body is complex and beautiful – and lucky for you, some doctors get specific training on that
anatomy. Gynecologists are uniquely tuned into the reproductive system – including vaginas, periods,
sexual health and more. They can dive deeper than a primary care doctor into your questions about
female health to find the right treatments or solutions for different conditions. Gynecologists have more
complete training in things like pelvic exams, fertility, Pap smears and contraceptive options. Although
primary care doctors can answer many of those questions too, they might end up directing you to an
OB/GYN for an examination or follow up visit. And for women who are trying to get pregnant, OB/GYNs
are essential for guiding those women through safe pregnancies and deliveries.

Pros of Having a Primary Care Doctor

I would recommend against seeing an OB/GYN in place of a primary care doctor. It’s a good idea to also
see a primary care doctor since they can examine the entire body and order tests for other medical
concerns not related to the reproductive system, such as blood tests. Primary care doctors can also
typically fit patients in more quickly for questions that come up unexpectedly, like colds/flus or sprained
ankles. Some insurances may require primary care doctors to make referrals for you (instead of
OB/GYNs) to see specialists for other specific parts of the body.

I fully support seeing both a primary care doctor and an OB/GYN! Each doctor’s expertise can help you
answer questions and find the best treatments to take care of both your overall health and your female
health. Never be afraid to talk to your doctors about unique questions or if anything in your body seems
unusual. They are here for you!

Author Summary:  Staci Tanouye, MD, OB-GYN is a physician in a private practice and an expert in
adolescent health, sexual health, reproductive health, and menopausal health. She has become one of
the leading gynecologists on social media with the mission to educate women and all people with vulvas
to love their bodies through knowledge and empowerment.

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This is not intended to be medical advice. Everybody is different so please make sure to consult your physician if you're having issues. Do not delay or refrain from seeking professional medical advice from your physician because of something you have read on this site.