My first visit to the gynecologist was not what I expected; I was confused, afraid and uncomfortable. After many hours in the waiting room, I finally walked in and saw him. The doctor was a middle aged man who was not too chatty or ‘warm’ but he got the job done. I was young and naive; I was scared because the pain in my abdomen was getting worse as the days went by. I was all alone and looking for consolation but the doctor’s personality was not very warm. In retrospect, I would have chosen differently.
I didn’t really have a criteria when choosing the doctor. After various campus clinic with recurrent pain, the campus doctor just told me to go see one of the doctors on the insurance list. I used the nursery rhyme ‘inky pinky ponky’ to help me choose one. There was nothing objective about this choice; though the campus doctor backed my decision.
Over the years, as I’ve turned different chapters in my health story I’ve had to choose other gynecologists. A couple of doctors later, I finally have a list of factors that I consider before I settle on a gynecologist.
1. Your need
It is important to know why you are looking for a gynecologist. Is it for a routine visit-pap smear, mammogram, vaccine? Are you looking for an obstetrician to walk with you through your pregnancy? Are you having complications with your period-pain, irregular menses, other condition such as PID, Endometriosis, PCOS? Are you having a difficult time conceiving?
2. The doctors speciality
Gynecologists are not exactly a one size fits all.
Some conditions are better treated by a specialist. Based on your need, consider what the doctor specializes in, then narrow down the list. If your struggling to conceive, a fertility specialist would be a better fit compared to an Obs/Gyn.
3. Payment services
If you are using an insurance cover, find out if the doctor take your insurance cover and what the limit is. It is also important to inquire what the consultation fee is, just incase you need to pay the consultant out of pocket.
Does the doctor have very long lines? Are they only available on certain days? Are they available on phone in case of an emergency? If your current schedule is not flexible then a busy doctor will be difficult to keep up with.
5. Hospitals They Can Operate At
Incase you need to be admitted and have a surgery, find out if the doctor can perform the surgery at your preferred hospitals.
Ask around and objectively analyze other people’s experiences with the doctor. Remember that everyone’s experience is personal and two people may differ in opinion.
Do you feel more comfortable with a male or female doctor? Your doctor should make you feel comfortable and not like your privacy is being infringed upon.
Do you prefer a young doctor or an older one with more motherly or fatherly tendencies? Consider which age group makes you feel more at ease.
If you feel a doctor who shares your faith beliefs will be able to walk with you better, look for one.
10. Your Instinct
Visit the doctor and trust your instinct, listen to your inner voice. Make sure you settle for a doctor who inspires confidence, and lets you know that you’ve been heard and are in safe hands.
All the best in your search.