What is a Gynecologist?

A gynecologist is a medical doctor that specializes in women's reproductive systems. Separate doctors that specialize in treating women have existed for centuries, and these ancient specialists are the forefathers of today's gynecological doctors and researchers. Gynecologists are also sometimes refered to as women's doctors, women's specialists, ladies' specialists, female specialists, and ovarian specialists. Gynecologists are often at the forefront of debates over women's health and modern healthcare.

Despite serving women, the great majority of gynecologists are men, which some people claim adds an interesting dimension to the realm of doctor-patient care. Every single woman needs to visit a gynecologist at some point in her life. This is because a gynecological specialist is the best kind of doctor to make sure that a women's reproductive organs are functioning optimally and in good health. While a general physician may be able to pinpoint and treat minor women's health issues, the expert opinions of gynecologists are absolutely necessary when it comes to certain aspects of women's health. Gynecologists are important medical personnel that make a difference in many women's lives.

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What does a Gynecologist do?

A gynecologist performs a variety of tests and exams focused on women's health. Gynecologists are responsible for performing the standard yearly exam on adult women to ensure their reproductive health. During this exam, the doctor will physically examine the woman, perform a pap smear, perform STD tests, complete a breast exam, and monitor the woman's use of birth control. Gynecologists are also sometimes certified as obstetricians, and will monitor the health of the mother and the fetus during a pregnancy.

In addition to the above, a gynecologist must also monitor some of the same medical conditions in women as her general practitioner. For example, if a woman has diabetes, her gynecological specialist must inform her of how her disease is impacting her reproductive organs. Gynecologists also diagnose problems that women may be having with their reproductive organs, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome or cervical cancer. They may also check for vaginal infections and urinary tract infections in women complaining of lower abdominal pain or sexual pain. Gynecologists also sometime perform minor surgeries on women's reproductive organs, such a tube tying.

What does it take to be a Gynecologist?

In order to be a gynecologist, a person must complete years of rigorous schooling and education. First of all, a student must graduate from high school with high marks. This student must then take a pre-med track during their undergraduate career. Most aspiring gynecologists major in fields like Biology, Women's Studies, Chemistry, and Exercise Science. It is imperative that an aspiring gynecologist maintain a high GPA during their undergraduate years, as well as perform well on the MCAT. Next, one needs to be admitted to and complete medical school. After medical school, the doctor must complete their internship and residency, which can take anywhere from three to eight additional years, on top of the eight years of post-secondary education already completed in undergraduate and medical school. It is a good idea for the doctor to then become board certified by completing the requirements laid out by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

What is the workplace of a Gynecologist like?

Gynecologists are generally self-employed physicians who own their own practice, or partner in a practice with other gynecologists. Some of these doctors may start out by seeking employment in the practice of another. Other gynecologists are employed by hospitals, state agencies, and charitable organizations. Still, other gynecologists work in colleges and universities providing medical care or completing research. Some of these gynecologists are also professors in university medical programs.

All gynecologists work in either a medical or an educational field, sometimes both. Gynecologists are needed throughout the globe, and the demand for doctors in this profession is only growing. In the US alone, the job market for gynecologists is expected to grow 24% over the next decade, which is well above the projected national average. Most gynecologists report that they enjoy their work, however, many also report that their work is stressful and takes a lot of time away from their family and social life. The workplace of a gynecologist is fast-paced and ever-changing, and almost always requires doctors to work nights and weekends.

Some gynecological offices are very high-end, while others are bare bones and cater to rural or low-income patients. The more well-off a doctor's patients are, the less stress that doctor reports experiencing in their work life.

How much does a Gynecologist earn?

On average, gynecologists make between $200,000 and $400,000 a year. On an hourly level, most gynecologists make more than $100 an hour. This makes the career one of the highest paying careers in the nation. Even in the current dour state of the economy, the demand for gynecologists is only expected to grow, and their wages are expected to increase as a result. Gynecologists also report higher earnings than many other specialists or other medical doctors. Though not paid as much as plastic surgeons, gynecologists are considered to be some of the highest paid medical professionals in the entire healthcare industry. Of course, the exact level of pay for gynecologists varies between different locations and the income of the patients that they serve. Those in higher-income areas of major cities make more, while those employed in lower-income or rural areas generally make less.

Learn more about being a Gynecologist

Employment Stats

Doctorate degree required

Growing by 14.4% over the next 8 years

$217K Average annual salary