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About Obgyns

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Obstetrics-gynecology 101


Obstetrics and gynecology are two branches of medicine commonly practiced together but with different focuses. Obstetrics is a field of medicine focused on women’s health care during pre-conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and post-delivery. Gynecology focuses on concerns and conditions specific to women and girls, especially those of the reproductive system.

While obstetrics and gynecology are two different branches of medicine, many providers have experience and education in both. A health care provider who practices in these fields is known as an OB/GYN. OB/GYNs are medical doctors (MDs) with over a decade of training and clinical practice. An OB/GYN offers diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive care for women starting around the age of 12-13. They perform annual exams, STI screenings, and other procedures to maintain the health and wellness of a female patient. They can also offer prescriptions for birth control methods and sexual health counseling.

Some common reasons for seeing an OB/GYN include:

  • Questions or concerns about the female reproductive system, including breasts, uterus, vulva, ovaries, and urological symptoms
  • Issues or concerns regarding fertility, pregnancy, menstrual health, and contraception
  • Issues regarding incontinence
  • Questions about sexual health, libido, and sexually transmitted diseases
  • Concerns about urinary tract infections (UTIs) and yeast infections

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that girls first see an OB/GYN between the ages of 13 and 15. A family medicine provider or pediatrician will handle health issues related to the reproductive tract before adolescence. A preliminary visit with an OB/GYN may only include discussing puberty, menstrual periods, and sexual activity. Most girls will not need a pap smear or pelvic exam on their first visit unless they are experiencing abnormal pain or bleeding.

In subsequent visits, the OB/GYN will perform a pelvic exam and general physical exam to get a complete picture of the patient’s overall and reproductive health.

Pap Smears and Pelvic Exams


Pap smears and pelvic exams are routine but crucial procedures that help OB/GYNs screen for conditions related to the reproductive tract, sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), and certain types of gynecological cancers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly 94,000 women were diagnosed with a form of gynecologic cancer every year between 2012 and 2016. Pap smears and pelvic exams have dramatically reduced deaths caused by gynecological cancers. In fact, regular pap smear screenings have been shown to lower the incidence and mortality of gynecological cancers by 80%.

The American College of Gynecologists recommends that women receive pap tests every 3 years, starting at 21. They also suggest that women see an OB/GYN once every year for a routine check-up.

Pap tests are used to screen for cervical cancer, usually done at the same time as a pelvic exam and/or HPV test.

A pap smear is a routine test that consists of a cell sample taken from the vagina. The OB/GYN will open the vaginal walls with a speculum and use a small brush or swab to collect cervical cells. These cells are then examined under a microscope for signs of infection or disease.

A pelvic exam is a visual and physical examination of the vagina to detect uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, gynecological cancers, and signs of an STI.

During a pelvic exam:

  • The healthcare provider will start by examining both legs for any abnormalities
  • The vulva is visually examined for bumps, irritation, sores, or redness
  • The OB/GYN uses a speculum–a plastic or metal device that spreads open the vaginal walls–to conduct an internal exam of the vagina
  • The OB/GYN will insert two lubricated fingers into the vagina while applying pressure to various areas to feel for any signs of infection or other irregularities
  • In addition, the OB/GYN may insert a lubricated finger into the rectum to check the muscles between the anus and vagina and to physically detect any tumors in the rectum, lower part of the vagina, or behind the uterus

This exam only takes a few minutes. While the exam may sometimes be uncomfortable, you should never feel pain. If you feel pain during the exam, inform the OB/GYN immediately.

To relieve tension during a pelvic exam, breathe deeply and slowly throughout the procedure, release your stomach muscles, and try to relax your shoulders. Of course, you can always ask your OB/GYN questions about what is happening. Some patients find this helps relieve tension and uncertainty around the procedure.

Common Conditions Treated by OB/GYNs


OB/GYNs have the clinical experience and education to diagnose and treat hundreds of acute and chronic conditions related to the female reproductive system.

Some of the most commonly treated conditions include:

  • Abnormal Bleeding: Uterine bleeding outside a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle.
  • Endometriosis: A disorder in which the tissue lining the uterus grows outside of it.
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): An infection caused by bacteria in the female reproductive organs.
  • Ectopic Pregnancy: A pregnancy outside the uterus, often in fallopian tubes or ovaries.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI): Bacterial infections of any part of the urinary system, including the bladder and urethra.
  • Menopausal Symptoms: Hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, etc., due to hormonal changes associated with aging and menopause.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): A condition characterized by irregular menstrual cycles and higher levels of certain hormones causing various symptoms such as infertility or hair loss.
  • Breast Health Issues: Regular screenings for lumps, cysts, fibroids, and other breast abnormalities are essential during an OB/GYN visit to maintain good breast health over time.

In addition, OB/GYNs help detect, diagnose, and treat various gynecological cancers, such as uterine and cervical cancer. They can also help with issues around fertility–the ability to conceive a child–and sexual health. An OB/GYN can prescribe birth control to women of any age and provide counseling around STI prevention and safe sex practices.

Booking an OB/GYN visit in Fort Worth


OB/GYN visits are fundamental to women’s health and the health of the reproductive system. Sesame has partnered with hundreds of OB/GYNs nationwide—including in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area—to offer comprehensive and affordable care regardless of insurance status. Sesame connects you directly with providers, not insurance companies, so you can get high-quality care without worrying about networks or hidden fees.

Here’s how to book a visit:

  • Search "OB/GYN" in Sesame’s search bar
  • Explore the list of nearby service providers
  • Choose from video or in-person services
  • Choose a time that best accommodates your schedule
  • Book your visit!

Yep, it’s that easy. Don’t wait to get the health care you need. Book an in-person or video visit today.

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