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    Do you have a primary care provider?

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | August 12th, 2019

    Do you have a primary care provider?

    I hope the answer is yes for you and your family members, especially the other women in your life. The Today Show had an article titled, “Bikini Physical’ Keeps Woman From Getting Comprehensive Medical Care’. In the article, they mentioned a study of more than 45,000 women that revealed that half only visited their OB/GYN. Less than 6%visited a primary care physician.

    We know that adults who have a primary care physician are less likely to die prematurely. They are more likely to find diseases like cancer early when it is treatable. The health care cost is less when you have a primary care physician.

    Although some may classify OB/GYNs as primary care physicians, if your OB/GYN is only checking your breasts and doing a pelvic exam, that is not enough. My recommendation is that you have a primary care provider, either a Family Practice physician or an Internal Medicine physician along with your OB/GYN.

    By having a primary care provider

    • You can develop a good relationship with your primary care provider which leads to better communication.
    • You can catch health issues early.
    • You will be less likely to use the Emergency Department.
    • You will be able to manage your chronic disease better.
    • You will save money.

    How do you find a primary care provider?  Ask your OB/GYN, Ask your relatives, Ask your friends. Once you find one, go to the website and read about the provider. Make sure that they can offer the services that you need. Some providers have a special interest and have obtained additional certificates. For example, I am an OB/GYN and do general OB/GYN work, however I received my certificate to be a NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner.

    You may find that there may be a wait to establish care with a primary care provider. Do not let that dissuade you. Make the appointment. Remember you did not have one before reading this blog. You can always ask to be on the waiting list. Please encourage everyone to establish care with a primary care provider.

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    The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

    The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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