What’s the Difference Between Physician and Gynecologist

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Dr. Manu Lakshmi

1 Feb 2022

Physicians play a vital role in the healthcare system. A physician assesses a medical problem, makes the diagnosis & recommends treatment. A physician is a practitioner of internal medicine and treats most commonly with medication for non-surgical conditions. A physician guides on staying healthy, avoiding disease by understanding the risk factors, and organizing chronic disease care for overall healthy life. Apart from conducting regular checkups and immunizations and giving treatment for not feeling well, some physicians do provide routine gynecological care such as breast and pelvic exams. Whereas, most physicians refer patients to gynecologists for more specialized care, for instance, white discharge treatment in Chennai, as gynecologists are trained to focus on such specific women’s health issues.

Difference between roles of physician and gynaecologist

A physician is a general practitioner

A physician performs multiple roles such as communicating with patients, nurses, other doctors, and members of the medical team, to arrive at the diagnosis, to determine the best course of treatment, and to follow up on recovery. Physicians need to have extensive medical knowledge and strong interpersonal skills to execute their roles efficiently and provide quality care for patients. They supervise medical staff and update themselves with medical practice standards and laws. The key functions of a physician are to:

  • Order investigations and tests in order to analyse their results.
  • Refer patients to appropriate specialists when require.
  • Prepare treatment plans.
  • Educate the patient on treatment options.
  • Explain purpose and effects of medications.
  • Conduct basic medical procedures.
  • Create patient record and maintain medical history.
  • Identify symptoms and diagnose illness or medical condition.
  • Provide advice on improving patient health.

Gynecologists specialize in women’s health

Gynecologists are specialists in women’s health and treat women of all ages starting from puberty till old age. Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of specific conditions of the female reproductive system is the focus of practice for gynecologists. A wide range of issues, including menstrual problems, fertility issues, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), hormone disorders, abortions, and others. Gynecologists may also specialize in taking care of pregnant women and monitoring births and postpartum progress. Advice on family planning, treatment of diseases, monitoring of childbirth, and therapy for cancer patients are some of the main services provided by gynecologists. Gynecologists improve the life of female patients by:

  • Performing regular annual exams such as pap smear on women
  • Arrive at the diagnosis of a medical condition by analysing records, reports, test results or examination findings in a woman.
  • Illustrate procedures, discuss test results and prescribe medications for conditions like irregular periods treatment in Chennai.
  • Save patient information by collecting and recording medical histories, reports and examination results.
  • Monitor pregnant women over the duration.
  • Prevent and treat infections of the cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes.
  • Identify symptoms of cancer of the reproductive organs.
  • Refer patient for other specialist consultation and advise when necessary.
  • Provide post-natal care and lactation support to new mothers.

The difference in qualification for physicians and gynaecologists

Many years of study and experience working with qualified medical doctors are involved in becoming a physician. Candidates aspiring to become physicians undergo years of formal education where they learn how to diagnose patients and train to provide quality care. History of medicine, a detailed understanding of symptoms, and research diseases are some of the areas of study. The course of education requirements includes a medical degree from a medical school that usually takes four years and then a medical internship for a year of on-the-job training. Physicians may choose a specialty from their internship. physicians can apply to become board certified registered medical practitioners (RMP) to gain the license and practice medicine. They may also choose to spend three to seven years of residency for post-graduate training in their specialty such as gynaecology, under the supervision of experienced doctors.

Gynaecologists are thus, physicians who have completed specialized training in the study of the female reproductive system and treatment of female conditions. Residency programs and certification processes must cover gynaecology and may cover obstetrics in combination. Gynaecologists may further focus on advanced subspecialty training areas that include:

  • Breast care
  • Family planning
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Paediatric, adolescent or menopausal gynaecology
  • Pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery

Difference in seeing a physician or gynaecologist

A physician often serves as the first contact for people suffering from any illness. Physicians provide diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of common illnesses and conditions, hence a person may have to visit the physician at least a few times in their life. Some of the common illnesses treated by physicians include:

  • Bronchitis
  • High or Low Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Asthma
  • Bladder Infections
  • Pain
  • Respiratory and Sinus Infections.

A gynaecologist can treat a girl or a woman at any age. Annual screening or symptoms such as pelvic, vulvar, and vaginal pain or abnormal bleeding require a visit to the gynaecologist. Common issues treated by gynaecologists are related to:

  • pregnancy, fertility, menstruation and menopause.
  • Contraception, sterilization and pregnancy termination
  • Pelvic disorders
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Endometriosis
  • Urinary and faecal incontinence
  • Noncancerous changes such as ovarian cysts, breast disorders, vulvar and vaginal ulcers.
  • Premalignant conditions like endometrial hyperplasia and cervical dysplasia
  • Tumours and cancers of the reproductive tract and the breasts
  • Structural abnormalities of the female reproductive organs
  • Pelvic inflammatory diseases, including abscesses
  • Health issues relating to sexuality
  • Sexual dysfunction

Physicians care for the whole patient and increasingly operate as the center of a patient’s health care experience. Apart from family medicine and pediatrics in practice, some physicians may also specialize in women’s health care but they cannot double as gynaecologists without the necessary qualification and experience. However, women may start visiting a gynaecologist right from their early teens and continue to attend the best hospital for gynaecology in Chennai for general health issues too.

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Disclaimer: The content of this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem, and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a healthcare professional. If you have questions or concerns or you feel that you have symptoms regarding a health or medical condition, you are recommended to contact your physician or get in touch with chennaigynecologist.com for proper treatment.

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