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Ask a Gynaecologist: Four common questions

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Jeffrey Braithwaite London Private GynaecologistHarley Street Gynaecologist Mr Jeffrey Braithwaite is one of the top gynaecologists in London, and has amassed a wealth of professional knowledge and experience. Mr Braithwaite has been in private practice since 2000 and working as a gynaecologist for over 25 years. He sees patients from his clinic at 25 Harley Street, and performs surgery at The Portland Hospital as well as the Weymouth Street Hospital.   In this blog, he answers four common questions asked by gynaecology patients.

What is gynaecology? And what’s the difference between a gynaecologist and an obstetrician? 

Gynaecology is the care of everything to do with the female reproductive system, including fertility, female cancers and the menopause.  Obstetrics deals with pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum care. Many gynaecologists are obstetricians as well, as I am, and so can provide care from pre-conception to after the birth. In the US this is so prevalent that doctors in my field are called OB/GYNs. For example, I can advise on fertility issues and carry out prenatal testing and ultrasound scans. 

What problems do women usually see a gynaecologist about? 

Women can encounter gynaecological problems from adolescence right through to their 50s or 60s. Gynaecologists can investigate and treat issues such as pelvic pain, ovarian cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, period problems, cervical cancer and fertility concerns.  Whilst I can do fertility investigations and carry out procedures such as follicle tracking and hormone tests, I will refer patients if they need to pursue IVF. 

What can a consultant gynaecologist do that a GP can’t? 

General Practitioners do not have the specialist training that gynaecologists do. Some general practitioners have passed the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists exam, and will have the letters DRCOG after their name. This means they have an interest in the area, but will not have studied it in the depth that a consultant has. Consultants focus entirely on gynaecological issues, and often have access to specialist scanning equipment and tests that GPs don’t have.  

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