Gynecologists are medical doctors who specialize in women's reproductive and other health issues. They typically deal with the health of the reproductive system but also can treat matters of urinary and rectal health. Typically, a gynecologist works out of his or her own office or in a hospital. The average annual salary for obstetrician-gynecologists was $212,570 in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One of the most important job functions of a gynecologist is preventive care. Most doctors recommend that young women start having a yearly exam once they turn 18 or become sexually active. The doctor performs an exam to assess reproductive and breast health in order to catch any diseases or illnesses in their early stages. She also addresses any health questions or concerns of the patient and tracks the patient’s health history.
Illness and Disease
There are many health issues and diseases that can occur involving the reproductive system. It is the gynecologist’s responsibility to help diagnose and treat these occurrences. The gynecologist will typically order appropriate lab tests and then will be responsible for explaining the results to the patient and recommending a course of action. He may also administer treatment or perform surgery to correct any abnormalities.
Pregnancy and Birth
Gynecologists provide care and support for childbirth all throughout the pregnancy of a woman. In fact, most doctors recommend talking to your gynecologist before you even try to get pregnant, in order to make sure that you are healthy enough to carry a child and address any health concerns. A gynecologist will schedule frequent appointments with pregnant patients in order to closely monitor the health of the mother and unborn child. Besides addressing any problems in the pregnancy, the doctor provides constant support and information for the woman.
Research and Public Health
Outside of directly caring for patients, a gynecologist also has some responsibilities to educate the public. Sometimes this is done by submitting facts and statistics about certain diseases and procedures, while still keeping the patient identity private. Some doctors conduct research studies of experimental drugs and procedures in order to promote the advancement of medicine. Others may be involved in public health campaigns that educate the public about issues such as prenatal care, sexually transmitted diseases and birth control.
As with all medical doctors, the amount of education required to be a gynecologist is very demanding. Typically, a doctor will spend four or five years in undergraduate studies, another four years in medical school and then will spend the next three to eight years as an intern and resident. A physician must also be licensed by the state, which usually requires proof of education from an accredited school, a certain number of training hours, passing a national exam and applying for a license.
2016 Salary Information for Physicians and Surgeons
Physicians and surgeons earned a median annual salary of $204,950 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, physicians and surgeons earned a 25th percentile salary of $131,980, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $261,170, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 713,800 people were employed in the U.S. as physicians and surgeons.