How much does gender matter when choosing an OB/GYN?
October 3, 2012 in Medical Care
One assumption you might make is that women must be inherently better as OB/GYN’s because of their personal experience of being female, but this isn’t as much of a plus as it might seem. Sometimes your personal experience may actually impair your ability to empathize with someone having a different experience from you. If I was female and never experienced painful menstrual cramps and you (my patient) were terribly bothered by them, I might discount your experience. Deep understanding and empathy come from participating in the care of thousands of women with gynecologic problems and all the different experiences they have, and choices that they make.
Another legitimate concern is that women are more comfortable with having a women seeing and examining their reproductive organs. I completely understand that for your initial visit, all other things being equal, you may have less anxiety when a woman is the one you talk to for 10 or 15 min about your most intimate bodily functions and then they poke and probe at your most private areas. But, other than that initial contact, the rapport and ongoing experience you have is much more important than the gender of the doctor. I have had the privilege of training obstetrician gynecologists for more than a decade and I have seen sensitive and gentle practitioners of both genders as well as insensitive and rough practitioners of both genders.