fertility basics

When to See a Gynecologist or Fertility Specialist

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Gynecologist looks after a number of gynecological issues like PCOS, Fibroids, Endometriosis, PID, Blocked Fallopian Tubes, Irregular periods and many others to improve overall reproductive health. Fertility specialists help you in conceiving with the help of fertility treatments and assisted conception techniques such as IVF, IUI or Surrogacy.

It is of utmost importance to identify gynecological issues and their symptoms so that you know when is the time to see a Gynecologist or a Fertility Specialist. Let’s find the difference between two disciplines Gynecology and Infertility to end up in consulting the best specialist for your treatment or medical problem. Gynecology is a discipline that deals with the female reproductive system and overall health. A gynecologist is a primary health care medical expert who takes care of problems concerning women including hormonal issues, pelvic disorders, breasts, UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), and cervical cancer.

Fertility Specialist (Reproductive Endocrinologist), on the other hand, is a doctor that takes care of the issues specific to infertility, its evaluation and treatment. Fertility doctors are specially trained in reproductive endocrinology and assisted conception techniques. They study and practice fertility treatments for many years after completing their graduation and post graduation in gynecology and obstetrics.

Shall I visit a gynecologist or fertility specialist for my problem? Confused! Don’t worry and go through this article to know when to visit a gynecologist or fertility doctor.

Here is the list of the reasons you need to understand so that you know why you should visit a nearby gynecologist or infertility expert.

When is the time to visit a gynecologist?

Gynecologists can be approached if you experience issues such as diseases, malfunctioning, or other problematic conditions of female reproductive organs like uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vulva vaginal region, cervix or breasts.

1. An infection

It is normal to have a certain odor around the vaginal area, which is caused by the vaginal discharge. Fishy smell could be an outcome of bacterial vaginosis. Some other conditions that may lead the intimate area to smell foul are yeast infections or STDs (sexually transmitted disease). Gynecologists help in identifying the cause of the foul smell and provide appropriate treatment to treat vaginal infections.

infection in vagina

2. Sores around private area

If you happen to see sores around the vaginal flora, you have to get it checked for it could be an infection caught from your partner. Apart from the sexually transmitted ones, Bartholin's cysts, as well as ingrown hair cysts, can be the other reason that cannot be counted as sexual.

3. Discharge that is yellow, green or cloudy in color

If you are getting a discharge, which is of different colors other than white or clear, then it could be an indicator of a bacterial infection or an STI. Your lady doctor can easily identify this and help you in getting relief.

4. Pain during sex

Pain during sex is referred to as dyspareunia. It can be a result of Vaginismus (spasm in the vaginal muscle) or infections in the vagina and cervix. So if you are experiencing pain during intimate moments make sure you have an appointment fixed with your gynecologist.

5. Burning sensation while urinating

Dysuria is the medical term for painful urination that can indicate a urinary tract infection. Accompanying signs could include foul-smelling urine, blood in urine or fever. Sexually transmitted infections or in some cases kidney stones can also be the reason making it inevitable to see a gynecologist.

burning sensation while urination

6. Abnormal uterine growths

Fibroids or polyps can be the cause of those frequent heavy periods, reason enough to rush to your doctor.

7. Medical conditions

Endometriosis, PCOS etc. are some of the major reasons that cause irregular periods or no ovulation in addition to other related symptoms. A Gynecologist will examine them thoroughly and take the decision if it has to be managed with medication or require surgery for correction.

8. Multiple miscarriages

Miscarriages can be normal with no serious implications but in some cases, it may become necessary to get immediate medical attention. For those experiencing multiple miscarriages, a uterine condition, fibroids, polyps could be the possible cause hence it is recommended to see a gynecologist.

9. Irregular periods / Menstruation

While planning for a baby, if you see a long gap between your periods or don’t get them at all then you should head to a fertility expert. A number of conditions mainly PCOS can be held responsible for it and needs to be taken care of.

10. Birth Control

Family planning is an important step in one’s life. If you want to be on birth control be it the intrauterine device or oral contraceptive pills, you should visit a gynecologist for proper guidance.

birth control

When should you see a Fertility Specialist / Doctor?

Fertility doctors are well-trained in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) that include mainly In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), Testicular Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (TESA), Micro Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA), and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) etc. Following are the situations when you should pay a visit to an infertility doctor.

1- Treatment doesn’t work

If you are under any fertility treatment from a gynecologist and you think it is not working, then you may want to go to a specialist.

2. Semen analysis is abnormal

If after the test reports, you find semen analysis to be abnormal; you need to see a fertility specialist. For minor abnormalities, your fertility doctor may prescribe you medication that can set it all right back to the normal.

3. Trying to conceive for more than 1 year

If you are trying to conceive from a long time and still unsuccessful then it is a right time to visit a fertility specialist. For those trying to conceive, it is important to know that it is normal that the process may take a time of few months. Yet, it has to be clear that if a woman under the age of 30 has not been able to get pregnant on her own even after a year of trying then there are fair chances that she might have a medical condition that needs to be addressed by an expert. Same goes for a woman across the age of 35 who finds herself unable to conceive for a period of 6 months or more. Sometimes high BMI can also come in your way of getting pregnant.

A healthy BMI is crucial to the efforts to get pregnant. A BMI value lower than 18 and higher than 30 is considered to be detrimental for conceiving whereas a value close to 25 is deemed suitable for the same. So if you feel that your BMI lies on a higher or a lower side do consult a fertility doctor.

4. Uncontrolled thyroid condition

When you have a thyroid that is abnormally high or low, it can lead to infertility, miscarriage, and abnormal development of the brain in fetus. A fertility specialist will analyze your thyroid health status and prescribe medicine to keep it under control.

uncontrolled thyroid condition

5. Multiple pregnancy loss

A septate uterus or scar tissues contribute to multiple miscarriages in many cases. So if you have faced pregnancy loss more than twice then it is the time to check with a fertility doctor.

6. When you are above 40 years

For women who have crossed the age of 40 should seek advise from a fertility doctor. This is due to the fact that the quality of eggs deteriorates at a faster pace whereas the possibility of miscarriage goes up to a greater extent. Eggs formed in women who are over the age of 40 years have a greater number of abnormal chromosomes. Hence getting advised by a fertility specialist at this age should be considered seriously.

7. Early menopause

If you experience early menopause or if your mother has a history of perimenopause then it is a necessity for you to see a reproductive endocrinologist to assess your chances.

8. If you seek ART assistance

You have tried all the means and methods to conceive naturally and now have finally been advised by your gynecologist to take help of a fertility doctor for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).

If you require treatments like IUI, IVF and other related treatments, it is a fertility specialist that you will have to get in touch with.

ElaWoman will help you in finding the best gynecologist or fertility specialist in your location and getting a prior-appointment. In case you have any problem related to your reproductive health, pick your phone and call us at +917899912611.

Dr. Anupama Rao

About The Author

Obstetrician, Gynecologic Surgeon Dr. Anupama Rao
Mumbai

Dr. Anupama Rao is a consultant Obstetrician, Gynaecologist and Infertility specialist with over 2 decades of experience. She is highly experienced in treating infertility cases. The doctor is currently pursuing her expertise at Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital located in Mumbai and Fortis Hospitals located in Mulund west, Mumbai. She holds expertise in Hysterectomy (Abdominal/Vaginal), Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Normal Vaginal Delivery (NVD) etc. She got comprehensive training in IVF from the highly experienced IVF experts. Dr. Anupama has also been an Associate Medical Director of Hope infertility clinic in Bangalore. For more information and contact details visit elawoman.com

7 Comments

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Varun Kapadia

Women with PCOS causing infertility should opt healthy living habits along with medicine like Clomid, Letrozole and many. IVF and surrogacy are also good options for PCOS patients.

Oct. 12, 2018, 11:34 p.m. 4.5

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Tanya Maan

Thanks for sharing this piece, I was looking forward to having regular checkup as I want to conceive. It was really knowledgeable.

Sept. 29, 2018, 1:12 a.m. 5.0

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Sanjana Rana

My thyroid got treated by medicine. But still, I am unable to conceive. Does thyroid cause infertility?

Sept. 12, 2018, 11:12 p.m. 5.0

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Sikha Upadhaya

I have pain during sex due to my dryness problem. Is it normal or I should have any treatment?

Sept. 12, 2018, 10:49 a.m. 4.5

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Anandita Das

I am looking for IVF treatment. Do I need to visit fertility specialist?

Aug. 30, 2018, 12:56 p.m. 5.0

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Megah Rani

I am trying to conceive for the last 1 year, should I visit an Infertility specialist?

Aug. 30, 2018, 11:47 a.m. 5.0

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Som Praveen

Aug. 24, 2018, 3:58 p.m. 4.5

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