Do I Need a Referral to See a Gynecologist?
It isn’t uncommon for Canadian women to wonder whether they need a referral to see a gynecologist.
So we created an article to help remove the mystery surrounding gynecologist referrals and what to expect during your appointment, so you’re prepared!
In Canada, to see a OB GYN, you need a referral from your family doctor or General Practitioner (GP), walk-in doctor or specialist. The reason you need a referral is that your first line of defense is your family doctor (GP or walk-in doctor), as they have your detailed medical history on file. Hence, they’re in a position to decide if you need to see a gynecologist.
Accessing Gynaecological Care If You Have A Family Doctor
If you have a family doctor, they routinely provide you with gynecological care, such as pap smears. However, if your doctor feels you should see a gynecologist during a routine check-up, your doctor will refer you to a gynecologist.
Accessing Gynaecological Care If You Do Not Have A Family Doctor
However, if you do not have a family doctor, don’t fret; there are plenty of ways to see to your gynecological needs! If you’re overdue or it’s recommended you see a gynecologist, then you can gain a referral from:
- A walk-in clinic doctor.
- Community health centres such as public health units, sexual health clinics or nurse practitioner clinics.
- Locate a family doctor that is accepting patients.
- If it’s an emergency, then please go to the hospital to have your concerns immediately addressed!
Gynecologist or Family Doctor: When To Consult Your Family Doctor
A common question we get is, when do you need to see a gynecologist? Good question! Here are the top reasons to consult a doctor before reaching out to a gynecologist:
- For any discomfort and changes to your pelvic or vaginal area that requires an exam or imaging.
- For questions or concerns regarding the female reproductive system.
- For an age-appropriate preventative health exam, like a pap smear.
- For questions regarding getting pregnant or about your menstrual cycle.
- For birth control contraception.
- For implanting or removing an IUD.
- For general sexual health concerns regarding painful intercourse or libido concerns.
- For acute conditions that require antifungal or antibiotic treatment.
- For advice on managing chronic medical conditions before getting pregnant.
Preparing For Your Gynecologist Appointment
Ultimately, the reason for your appointment varies depending on what’s brought you to the specialist. But, whatever your reason, know that your gynecologist is a fully qualified doctor that specializes in the female reproductive system, so breathe easy and trust that you’re in good hands!
As you prepare for your gynecological appointment, there are some key points to bear in mind:
- Upon your arrival at your appointment, be prepared to give a detailed account of your health concerns. It’s important that you’re honest with the gynecologist so that they can provide you with the best possible help.
- Gynecological exams can be uncomfortable.
- There is no need to wax before your visit.
- It’s normal to have body odour; your gynecologist will tell you if there is a problem.
- If you’re on your menstrual cycle, unless it’s urgent you see the gynecologist, it may be best to postpone.
- You should avoid tampon use, intercourse, or vaginal douching two days before your visit for best results.
- If you prefer, you can have someone present in the room.
How To Get A Referral To See A Gynecologist?
In Canada, to see a gynecologist, it’s required that you have a referral from your doctor, which makes sense because they know your medical history. Thus, if they see something during a routine pap smear, they will send you to a specialist for a second opinion.
Whatever your reasons for needing to see a gynecologist, know that your care is their top priority, so come armed with questions and concerns — don’t be shy — so they can assist you in any way possible.