Annual Gynecologic Exam; GYN or PCP?

“I’m no longer having babies so I don’t need to see my OB/GYN anymore”.  Sound familiar?  Well I’m about to tell you why this is NOT true.  Your OB/GYN or GYN provider is the BEST person for you to see on a regular basis, especially as you start the difficult transition to the peri-menopause and menopause.  As a dedicated women’s health specialist, I spend all my time and energy to make sure that I know the latest information to ensure the best health for my patients.  Women’s health care is all I do so I can concentrate on the most up-to-date and cutting edge preventative care recommendations and treatments that are appropriate.  I find that many times I am able to reassure patients referred to me by their PCPs for very common gynecologic issues that their PCPs are just not familiar with. In the highly sophisticated and ever changing arena of modern medicine, you can count on me to know the latest information. It can be very confusing to try to keep up with “information over-load”; I can help you to understand and help you decide what health choices are best for you.   Understanding why certain recommendations may have changed (pap smears) and why some should not change (annual mammograms) helps to make you feel more comfortable.

“I have to have PCP referral for everything so I can’t see my GYN because I have to see my PCP every year.”  This is a common misconception.  Many women are not aware that there is a law in the State of Maine since 2003 that requires all major carriers that employ Maine residents to allow an annual exam with their gynecologic health care provider WITHOUT PCP referral; even HMO plans.  So you can have an annual with your PCP and with your GYN and both will be covered.  As all I do all day long is pelvic exams, I’m pretty good at it! Pelvic exams with normal and abnormal findings are my specialty; I can give you direct feedback and recommendations without you having to see another person and without the unnecessary anxiety of waiting for answers.

The last important point is that as a women’s health specialist, I have extensive training and experience in managing the unique challenge of peri-menopausal and menopausal hormonal changes. What most women are not aware of is that peri-menopausal changes can occur as many as 10 years before menopause! Since the average age of menopause is age 51, that means some women can begin to notice changes in their early 40’s. Not only do I have extensive knowledge of standard “HRT” but I also know what alternative and natural therapies and supplements may be helpful…and harmful! I dare say most Primary Care Physicians are not able to devote the time necessary to really help you in this way.

So please come back to see me….I want to continue providing you the best care possible!

Dr. Anne Rainville, MD, FACOG