Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - University of Virginia - 21

WEBSITE

OB-GYNs

When many women think of doctors,
gynecologists are often at the top of the
list-and for good reason. OB-GYNs
are the go-to resource for all things
related to the pelvic area-from menstruation and pregnancy to vaginal
dryness and menopausal issues.
It might feel embarrassing to talk
about topics such as heavy periods or
painful sex, but OB-GYNs are there to
help, and they've heard it all.

Internal Medicine
Doctors

Internal medicine doctors, also known
as internists, are trained to treat adults
for a wide range of issues and often
serve as primary care physicians.
"The internist is probably the one
you would go to for an annual health
exam" to look at issues such as high
blood pressure, diabetes and disease
prevention, Rohr-Kirchgraber says.
Plus, most internists now are trained
to do some basic OB-GYN care, such
as Pap tests.
General internal medicine doctors-internists who go into practice
after they finish their basic internal
medicine training-are recognized
as "experts in diagnosis, in treatment
of chronic illness and in health promotion and disease prevention," the
American College of Physicians says.
Their job is to deal with a wide variety
of patient problems, whether simple
or complex.

Family Medicine
Doctors

Like internal medicine doctors, family
physicians treat adults for a wide range
of issues and often serve as primary
care physicians. But unlike internal
medicine doctors, family physicians
are also trained to treat children.
"Family medicine physicians have
been trained in a little bit of everything: some pediatrics, some medicine,

Find the Experts You Need
You'll find a wide range of women's health services at UVA Health System-
named among the top "100 hospitals and health systems with great women's
health programs" by Becker's Hospital Review. It's easy to find a UVA specialty
or primary care provider. Start at uvahealth.com/womenshealth.

some surgery," Rohr-Kirchgraber says.
"They're very adept at treating the
whole family."
And they treat a lot of adults. The
American College of Physicians says
85 to 90 percent of patients at a typical
family medicine practice are adults, the
same population seen by internal medicine doctors.

Having It All

So do you need to have both an OB-GYN
and an internal medicine doctor or a
family physician?
"It certainly doesn't hurt to have one
of each, but it's not always necessary,"
Rohr-Kirchgraber says.
Medical and family histories can
sometimes help you decide. For example, if you have a family history of colon
cancer or melanoma, it's probably best
to have an internal medicine doctor or a
family medicine doctor.
"If you're interested in getting pregnant soon, then having an OB-GYN is a
good idea," Rohr-Kirchgraber says. "If
you're 40, you're done having kids and
there isn't that much more you need,
seeing a general physician who can
do your Paps and pelvic exams, that's
totally fine-as long as you're getting
it done."
Just be sure to call ahead and confirm
that your healthcare provider can do
what you need, Rohr-Kirchgraber says.
"A lot of internal medicine physicians
do some OB-GYN care, but not everyone is comfortable doing Paps and pelvic
exams," Rohr-Kirchgraber says.
Pearson recommends asking practical
questions such as "Are the exam rooms
set up to do Pap smears?" and "Do you

MAKE THE
MOST OUT OF
YOUR VISIT
Whether you see a doctor frequently
or once in a great while, you'll want to
have a productive visit. Here are some
ways to set yourself-and your provider-up for success.
3 BE ON TIME. And keep in mind
that doctors will try to do the same.
Sometimes that doesn't work out. For
example, a patient before you at the
OB-GYN may find out about problems
with a pregnancy and need more time
for her visit. So try to be patient.
"Be mindful that we are trying really
hard," says Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber,
MD, past president of the American
Medical Women's Association.
3 MAKE A LIST. Write down what
you want to discuss during your visit.
If you rely on your memory, you're
likely to forget something you really
want to talk to your doctor about.
3 BRING YOUR MEDICATIONS.
Make sure you know what prescriptions you're taking, along with important pieces of medical history such
as drug allergies. This will help your
doctor have a complete picture of
your health and avoid potential complications from drug interactions.

have the sexually transmitted infection
testing materials on hand?"
Once you find the right doctor or
doctors for you, you can rest easy
knowing your healthcare team meets
all your needs. ■
S UMME R 2018

21


http://www.uvahealth.com/womenshealth

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