What is a gynaecologist?

A gynaecologist is a doctor who specialises in diagnosing and treating disorders of the female reproductive system.
Gynaecology is combined with obstetrics (maternity care) to form a single speciality of obstetrics and gynaecology. This means that your gynaecologist is skilled in both areas. If you are wondering how to become a gynaecologist, know that candidates will first study for a degree in medicine, then complete an internship for one year, a residency for at least one year and then undergo vocational training for six years. A gynaecologist will also need to gain a fellowship from The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

What does a gynaecologist do?

First of all, a gynaecologist can perform a range of tests. An example of these tests is the cervical screening test, which aims to prevent cervical cancer, or test to diagnose other cancers of the female reproductive system.

If action is needed, your gynaecologist can put together a plan and administer treatment, liaising with other specialists to provide joined-up care.

Of course, gynaecologists deal with a wide range of disorders, not just cancer. They can help with issues to do with the urinary tract, the pelvic floor, menstruation and hormones, as well as sexually transmitted infections and the menopause. In short, any disorder or disease that affects a woman’s reproductive organs.

When to see a gynaecologist

It’s good to visit a gynaecologist once a year for screening to ensure good health and to pick up any problems early on. You should also consult a gynaecologist if you experience abnormal vaginal bleeding, or pain in the pelvic region.

What is the difference between an obstetrician and a gynaecologist? As mentioned above, a gynaecologist will also be trained as an obstetrician and vice versa.

But it’s still good to know more about the differences between these two specialities. As we’ve already learnt, gynaecology deals with issues to do with a woman’s reproductive system, which includes the uterus (womb), vagina, vulva, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Obstetrics focuses on caring for women during pregnancy, childbirth and the period just after childbirth. As part of this service, an obstetrician-gynaecologist can advise on pregnancy planning, monitor the health of the mum-to-be and her baby, and deliver babies.

Women who are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy or develop complications such as gestational diabetes will especially benefit from seeing an obstetrician.

Gynaecologist cost in Australia?

The cost of seeing a gynaecologist in Australia will vary according to what the appointment is for.

For the initial consultation, you will need a referral from your GP in order to quality for a Medicare rebate. Gynaecologists often charge in excess of $250 for a first appointment, which attracts a Medicare rebate of $75.05. Fees for subsequent appointments are lower, however, the Medicare rebate drops to $37.70.

If you need certain specialist services, such as fertility tests or surgery, the costs could vary enormously.

Obstetricians often charge a set fee for their services during pregnancy, however, extra will apply for ultrasounds, tests and in the case that you require an emergency cesarean.

It’s best to find out from your gynaecologist what the costs will be before you commit to an appointment.

How do I find a gynaecologist?

If you are experiencing gynaecological issues, your first port of call will be to your GP. They will take note of your symptoms and examine you, and may order tests. If they feel you could benefit from specialist care, they will refer you to an obstetrician-gynaecologist.

If you wish to search for a gynaecologist yourself, you can do this easily with Whitecoat, you will be provided with a list of trusted and reviewed healthcare professionals near you.

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