Female or Male?
Perhaps a first decision to make about choosing a gynecologist is whether the physician is a woman or a man. This is purely a subjective matter and dependent on a patient’s personal preference. For some people, this factor is of no importance. A patient might rely more heavily on a recommendation from someone else.
For those concerned with the sex of the physician, things to consider include:
- A teenager or young adult might prefer a female doctor, in whom they can confide
- A senior patient might feel more comfortable with a female doctor, due to modesty reasons
- Some female patients just feel more comfortable with a male gynecologist
- All gynecologists, no matter what their sex, should be gentle and understanding, and listen to patients’ concerns and questions
No matter how good a gynecologist is, nothing beats a personal recommendation from a family member or friend. Isn’t “word of mouth” how many businesses blossom? And gynecology, although a health practice, is still a business.
Try a recommended gynecologist, especially if you are hesitant from previous experiences. If you trust your family and friends, chances are you will trust their recommendation. Some gynecologists’ reputations precede them, with good reason. If one or more people are raving about a particular doctor, why not see if her or his reputation holds up?
A Gynecologist’s Experience
Another factor to consider is how long a particular gynecologist has been practicing. It may be biased, but in actuality, a gynecologist should have some years under her or his belt, especially if a patient has some chronic gynecological health issues. It’s good to find a doctor who has been in the field for a while, and perhaps has been with a particular practice for a few years. This is not to say that you shouldn’t give a new doctor a chance. If you have no known gynecological health issues, this can be perfectly fine.
On the other end of the spectrum, seek out a gynecologist who isn’t near retirement. Find one who will be your doctor for many years. Oftentimes, doctors within a few years of retirement do not take new patients anyway.
Large or Small Practice?
What sort of office environment appeals to you? There are still small gynecological practices, with one, two, or three doctors in one location. These offices seem to be more intimate, where the office staff and the gynecologist really know your name and face.
The advantage of larger/multiple offices is that you can get an appointment more quickly if you are willing to visit one of the other branch offices. Also, larger practices often have evening and weekend hours, since there are more offices and more doctors to rotate these “off-hours” shifts.