That is a question that comes up at every program. I think that you have to find out if your doctor is interested in treating women before, during, and after menopause. If not, ask for a referral to someone whose primary interest is the care of the menopausal woman. I know that most doctors are referred to us by friends, family, and other physicians, but we do need to stop and think about >the referrers and consider whether their medical needs and criteria for care and relationship with a physician are akin to ours, rather than simply accepting a referral un-questioningly. Sometimes we act on others’ advice because it’s fast and it’s easy and we don’t have to think too much about it. Do think about it! Think about your own comfort level! Think about your desire for a relationship in which you participate; think about what you need to know about your own body, and how it changes.
Pay attention to your symptoms, and know which ones to report to your doctor. If you’re not sure, report them anyway.
Should a woman continue to see a gynecologist FOR HER YEARLY EXAMINATIONS AFTER HER CHILDBEARING YEARS, OR SHOULD SHE SWITCH TO A GENERAL PRACTITIONER?
There is no rule here. I have a gynecologist whom I see religiously twice each year for the type of examination and tests that I mentioned in the answer to question 114. I consult my internist for other medical issues, conditions, or problems. With the enormous body of new and changing medical information and the many research findings that doctors have to keep up with, I believe in seeing both. However, the field of family practice continues to grow, and physicians in that field usually are trained to handle general medicine, obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics, so a family practitioner may fill the entire bill for you. In any instance, if I were happy with my gynecologist throughout my childbearing years, ano he or she is interested and competent in the care of menopausal women, I would stay in that practice and be happy that I had found the right doctor for me.