Gynaecology and obstetrics : Specialists

What is gynaecology and obstetrics?

A female orientated branch of medicine.

Gynaecology is the study of the woman’s reproductive system, e.g. ovaries, fallopian tubes and womb.

Obstetrics is a surgical specialism which deals with pregnancy, childbirth and the time after this – called the post-natal period.

Doctors who work in this specialty include gynaecologists, obstetricians and abdominal or vaginal specialists.

What does a gynaecologist do?

A gynaecologist deals with problems relating to the female reproductive system. These include:

  • Menorrhagia (heavy periods)
  • Dysmenorrhoea (painful periods)
  • Amenorrhoea (no periods)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Infertility
  • Prolapsed pelvic organs
  • Cancer of any of the reproductive organs, e.g. uterus

They can perform regular screenings for breast and cervical cancer as well as regular check ups.

In regard to surgery, here are some of the operations undertaken by gynaecologists:

  • Tubal ligation
  • Hysterectomy (removal of the womb)
  • Dilation and curettage: known as a ‘D and C’
  • Oophorectomy (removal of the ovaries)
  • Laparascopy: to investigate cases of pelvic pain
  • Cervical excision: to remove pre-cancerous cells from the cervix

What does an obstetrician do?

He or she specialises in the care of women before, during and after their pregnancies. An obstetrician is also a surgeon which means that they are able to perform a Caesarean section or other similar surgery if necessary. They can perform tests during the ante-natal period and are also on hand during delivery to monitor the process as well as dealing with any unexpected issues.

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