Is a Gynecologist the Same as a Primary Care Doctor?

Is a gynecologist the same as a regular doctor that you go to for checkups? Or do you need to have two different doctors?
Raissa

Gynecologists and primary care doctors specialize in different things.

Gynecologists are trained to focus on women's health issues. Primary care doctors (also sometimes called "general practitioners") are the doctors we see for regular checkups and immunizations, and when we're not feeling well. Family medicine doctors, internists, and pediatricians are all primary care doctors.

Some primary care doctors provide routine gynecological care like breast and pelvic exams, but others don't. It all depends on the doctor. Primary care doctors who do provide gynecological care may still refer patients to gynecologists for more specific care if they think it's needed.

Ask your primary care doctor if she or he does routine gynecological exams. If not, ask for the name of a gynecologist.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: May 2011

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