Going to an appointment with your OB/GYN isn’t always fun. Usually it’s not an appointment anyone is looking forward to. That can be especially true if you’re seeing a new doctor. Sometimes finding a good match for your healthcare needs and goals can be a challenge. You might start to wonder if having a male OB/GYN is a good idea or not, while you’re in this process.
Many women might not feel comfortable with a male OB/GYN but others may prefer a man over a woman. Having a preference for one or the other isn’t a bad thing. Being comfortable at your appointment is essential to getting the treatment and care you need. So does it matter if you have a male OB/GYN? Let’s talk about it.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Having A Male OB/GYN?
As with any other doctor, there are always pros and cons to having a male (or female) provider. For example, in the past, studies have shown that male gynecologists prescribe more medications than their female counterparts. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to send you to see a specialist.
You may also want to consider other factors. A male OB/GYN may be very empathetic and helpful but he’s not going to fully understand what it feels like to have a vaginal exam, or even how painful period cramps can get. Education and experience will help with that but he won’t know that feeling first hand.
This is a big reason many women prefer female providers. Having someone who knows what it’s like first hand can’t be replicated. However, you may want to make sure a female gyno isn’t subbing their own experiences and feelings for yours. If you’re struggling to get someone to take your symptoms seriously, it’s time to find a new doctor.
Related: What Should I Be Asking My Gyno During A Visit?
Which Is Better: A Female or Male OB/GYN?
Gynecology and obstetrics is heavily dominated by female doctors but that doesn’t mean they are “better” at the job. It just means this particular field has a higher number of women practioners than others. What makes a doctor better than another is more about an overall experience.
If you’re looking for a new gynecologist, consider the whole picture. What are your own comfort preferences? Does your potential new doctor have good reviews online? You could even consider things like how easy their office is to get to from your home, how friendly the staff is, or whether or not they have after hours assistance available.
Once you get an idea of what you need for your own care, you can start to narrow down what is better for you. You may be surprised to find that with a bigger overall picture in mind, a male OB/GYN is a great fit for you. Sometimes it’s good to keep an open mind when searching for a new doctor. This is one of those times where you may need to do that to find the best fit.
What If I’m Uncomfortable With A Male OB/GYN?
That’s completely fine. If you’re uncomfortable with a male, then you definitely have the right to have a female gyno. If you use a practice that rotates doctors then you may need to make sure you mention your preference so you don’t wind up with a male provider. They’ll be able to note that on your chart so everyone is aware.
You have the right to be as comfortable as possible when you’re at your doctor’s office. It’s entirely up to you on whether or not you want a male to perform vaginal exams or help you through a pregnancy. Remember to be clear about your needs with your providers so you don’t wind up in an uncomfortable emergency situation.
It’s not always easy to be clear about things when you’re worried about your health so it may be best to pick a new gyno when you’re going in for a routine exam vs. an acute issue. The more you talk with your provider the more they can help you, so never hesitate to speak up. You totally have this.
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.