What is a gynaecologist?
A gynaecologist is a specialist doctor who manages conditions that affect the female reproductive system — which includes the vulva, vagina, uterus (womb) and ovaries.
How do doctors become gynaecologists?
A gynaecologist has completed at least 6 years of additional specialist training after qualifying as a doctor.
In Australia, the training allows doctors to become both gynaecologists and obstetricians, who specialise in the care of women during pregnancy and birth. But in practice, most who work in cities choose to be either a gynaecologist or an obstetrician. Some gynaecologists who work outside cities do both.
In Australia, most gynaecologists are Fellows of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), with the initials ‘FRANZCOG’ after their name.
What does a gynaecologist do?
Gynaecologists diagnose and treat conditions specific to women. They can offer medical, hormonal and surgical treatments. Gynaecologists see their patients in a clinic or surgery and many operate in both public and private hospitals.
Women might see gynaecologists about:
- period problems, such as irregular or heavy periods
- pain in the lower abdomen
- unusual vaginal bleeding or pain
- infertility, contraception or family planning
- concerns about their pelvic floor
- cancer of the ovaries, cervix or uterus
- menopause or hormone replacement therapy
Some gynaecologists are sub-specialists in particular areas. You may be referred to a:
- gynaecological oncologist, who treats cancers of the female reproductive system
- reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist, who manages hormonal and conception problems including with IVF (in vitro fertilisation)
- urogynaecologist, who specialises in treating bladder and pelvic-floor problems
- obstetrics and gynaecology ultrasound specialist
How much does a gynaecologist cost?
If you see a gynaecologist in a private hospital or in their surgery or clinic, you’ll most likely pay a fee.
Some private gynaecologists bulk bill, meaning Medicare will cover the full cost.
Private health insurance may cover some of the costs of seeing a gynaecologist in a hospital. But you can't claim on private health insurance for the costs of seeing a specialist outside a hospital. Ask your health fund.
Ask your doctor or their staff about any fees you’ll be charged, and what Medicare will cover.
You don't need a referral to see a specialist. However if you don't have one, neither Medicare nor private health insurers will be able to contribute to the cost.
How do I find a gynaecologist?
Ask your general practitioner (GP), or a trusted friend or relative to recommend a good gynaecologist. You can use the healthdirect Service Finder to locate a gynaecologist in your area.
You can also visit the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists site to find a specialist.
Where can I go for more information and advice?
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This information was originally published on healthdirect - What does a gynaecologist do?.
Last reviewed: June 2022