Male OB/GYNs Share Why They Wanted To Become Gynecologists.
Male gynecologists of Reddit were asked: "What made you want to be a gynecologist and how has it affected your view of women?" These are some of the best answers.
1/14 95% of the time I'm with a patient on one of the best days of their life. That is hard to pass up.
2/14 I remember when I was a student... it was my first day in OBGYN, they asked me to help the attending... basically I held the labia apart. I was a virgin of course, I'd never touched a vagina up until that point. Anyways, it was scary to say the least. Then seeing that baby pushed out, and the attending cutting open the vagina a bit... It was chaos, screaming, blood, poop, and stink was everywhere. Then to top it off... POP! I had goop all over me. I didn't know what to do. I wanted to run out and take a shower... but alas I was patient until the very end.
After it was over I remember asking a senior med student... "What was it like when you first saw that?" he replied "It was a freak show". Indeed, that's what it truly was. I spent the rest of my rotation walking around the wing pretending to be busy. Just couldn't do it. Until my first c-section of course... that's another story.
3/14 I'm a fourth year male med student going into OB/GYN. Absolutely loved my 3rd year rotation - from L&D to gyn onc OR w Da Vinci, and from outpt clinic to reproductive endo, I loved every moment of it. I literally could not imagine doing anything else. Plus, OB/GYN has a huge role to play in global health.
But the female preference for female providers does worry me somewhat - and honestly, it is entirely understandable. Crappy doctors though, are found in every specialty and every hospital. I hope that my future patients will give me a chance, and would value a skillful, compassionate provider (which I hope to become) above my gender. However, one could argue that now there are more than enough female OB/GYN that are skillful and compassionate, and with all things being equal, why would one choose a male OB/GYN?
That is one of the reasons why I think I will possibly sub-specialize rather than become a general OB/GYN (although I would be missing out on the variety). I suppose I will find out through residency!
4/14 I never thought I would do OB. I actually detested the idea until I started medical school. I was all about doing ER for a long time, at least until I saw a c-section. That sold it for me. A few years into residency I hope to get into an MFM fellowship to work with the complications of pregnancy. As a dude doing Ob/Gyn, I get it. I don't have those parts. I don't have periods. I don't get pregnant. It doesn't mean that I am not compassionate. I try to treat everyone the way that I would want to be treated if I were in their shoes. I talk to people like they are people - being a doctor is cool and all, but it doesn't make me better than them. I think that, while I lack true firsthand experience, I get where a lot of women are coming from when they have complaints. I know most people think I have a gross job but I think I am pretty fortunate.
5/14 As a male resident physician specializing in ObGyn... Well labor and delivery are such a rush for me and they are a wonderful experience 99% of the time. That other sad 1%? It is just as important that they have a supportive and caring doctor, if not more so. In no other specialty do people come to see me so often because they're healthy.
C-sections (when indicated) are really enjoyable from a technical perspective. Reaching in and pulling that head out is awesome. When I deliver a baby to a family who really wants that baby, man the feels. Plus I get to be the first person to hold them. Welcome to the world little one!
6/14 I'm on my 3rd year rotation with OB/GYN now and I love it, much more than I could have predicted. Here's why.
There is nothing like labor and delivery. Being a part of that moment for a family is a profound and humbling experience. The patients usually have good lives that get even better with your care. As already mentioned, it's nice to be working with patients who are generally healthy, but have an issue that is causing them real concern and you can actually do something about it. The surgery is very impressive. C-section as "surgery with a prize" is a great description, that only begins to convey the special nature of that operation. It's a fast moving procedure that requires definitive and deliberate action and results in a new life. It's the best operation I've seen thus far. The other surgery can be very technical and nerdy, with robots and such, which is awesome as well. The technical aspect is engaging. Treatments for infertility combine top shelf aspects of surgery, laboratory work, endocrinology, technology, and patient interaction. It's impressive.
How has it affected my views towards women? I have a greater respect for them. The strain put on a woman dealing with an OBGYN issue, both physically and emotionally, can be intense. What's more, it can be utterly private and isolating. Women will share things with their doctor that they can't even talk about with their spouse. To realize how many women deal with these problems without any support, and come into the clinic & walk out again acting as if nothing happened, has been an impressive realization. I wish communication about "lady parts" were more straight forward and acceptable. Simply understandings some basic details of things like contraception, fertility, normal body development and std's would be very beneficial for both men and women.
One other thought. A male OB/GYN does note the body type, physical characteristics, personal history, hygiene, emotional state of, and overall composure of his patient. This is not because he is judging them, but because it is clinically important and determines the best treatments/care he will provide.
7/14 I considered going into OB/GYN in med school. One thing I really liked about it is that its usually a happy time for everyone involved. So much of medicine is depressing with lots of death and disease. With OB, the whole family comes to the hospital to celebrate. Plus C-sections are fun. Its like surgery with a prize.
8/14 I'm just finishing my Obs/Gyn rotation in school, so I haven't committed. I love the patient population. In the Obs side people are generally happy/healthy. Helping a woman realize that she can feel how big her uterus has gotten (full of baby) or figure out where the babies head is really thrilling. On the Gyne side the age and health range is MUCH more varied, as is the gravity of the conditions/problems.
Obs can be very tiring, particularly the overnight call. Catching babies is fun, and most of the time very straightforward. It can be pretty intense when things are going badly. Consequences are very high, and you're taking care of two patients (plus hopefully keeping their partner/family calm). I much prefer the gyne side of things. Most of it isn't very serious from a life/death perspective, but makes a HUGE difference in the quality of a person's life. Massively/heavy painful periods won't kill you, but it sure will make your life [hard]. It feels great to help fix that.
On the more serious end of gyne is gynecological oncology. This is my favorite. You get to be a surgeon, a palliative care doctor, and a medical oncologist. My experience is that these docs are the most surgeon-y of the obsgyn folks. They tend to stop practicing the Obs side of things. The spectrum of cancers that they deal with includes some very serious stuff, particularly ovarian cancer. The majority of those patients will only live a few years after diagnosis. Which means that gynonc docs need to be fantastic at the palliative care side of things. Patients shouldn't need to say things like "that doctor was really nice for a surgeon!" Surgeons should consider empathy and counseling to be part of their practice, and patients should expect their surgeons to be more than just talented technicians.
9/14 I know this might be hard to comprehend but it's not about seeing people naked. By the time you make your way through med school and residency you are desensitized to everything. Dealing with feces, urine, blood, pus, and death are everyday occurrences.
Obstetrics & Gynecology is actually an incredibly interesting field. It has elements form all types of medicine involved. One thing that kept me from entering it was the fact that the OBGYN is liable every child they deliver until they are 18 years of age. So if the develops or a defects becomes more pronounced as they age, they can sue. They'll come look at the delivery report and the fetal rhythm strip. Their malpractice insurance is sky high.
10/14 I'm a male in the middle of my OBGYN residency now, planning on doing GYN oncology. I remember thinking before my rotation as a third year medical student that there was no way in hell I'd enjoy it. I was dead wrong. It's a wonderful field, with a good mix of surgery, primary care and emergencies. There are four major fellowships in oncology, urogynecology, reproductive endocrinology and maternal fetal medicine along with other smaller subspecialties. So as a generalist, it's a field that you get to cover a lot of ground in.
The two questions I get asked most are: 1) Doesn't vagina gross you out now? and 2) Are you ever attracted to your patients? The answer is no to both. I find it pretty easy to separate work life from my personal life. I couldn't imaging being in any other field.
11/14 I love babies and I love talking to people about their sex life. It was an easy decision.
12/14 Got interested during med school. Many subjects were
going over my head not keeping my interest, but something fell into place for me when we got to the gynecological cases and diseases. My lines of reasoning suddenly started getting me to the correct conclusions in patient cases, and individual diseases/subjects were easier for me to wrap my head around than in other areas of medicine. When we got around to practical courses and consultations, I also enjoyed the hands on approach to examination and problem solving. In addition, most patients are young and healthy, as opposed to a field like oncology or cardiology.
13/14 I am an OB/GYN, in the field for 25 years. I went into the field because I found that I really enjoyed my interactions with female patients. I have the best possible balance of long term relationships, short term surgical problem solving and delivering babies. Operating is rewarding and challenging and I have the opportunity to use state of the art tech like laparoscopic and robotic techniques to help my patients. I have patients whom I have known from their teens, seen them grow up and start families of their own, and helped them through sickness, divorce, and aging. I am just starting to deliver my second generation, and while the late nights wear me down more than they once did, I am in a group practice, so I don't have to lose sleep too often.
I consider it a privilege to be a part of some of the most intimate and significant parts of my patients' lives. As for the aspect of inspecting genitalia all day, I can assure you that context is hugely important. I may be surrounded by breasts and vaginas all day but I find that a flash of cleavage at a social function is far more arousing than even a perfect breast displayed for a yearly exam. One of my attending professors once told us, only half in jest, that men who went into OB/GYN "either loved women, hated women, or wanted to be women." I hope I am in the first group.
14/14 I never thought I'd end up doing ob/gyn, but I enjoyed my rotation in medical school. The variety of the work is entertaining. We get to do surgery and office visits, and the visits tend to be procedure heavy. L&D is a lot of fun. Also, it's nice to have "healthier" patients, as lots of pregnancy visits are young women who aren't dying. Ultimately, I just felt like fit in with that type of doctor (ob/gyns tend to be work hard/play hard type of individuals). It felt kinda weird to make the decision at first, but once I got used to it I couldn't really see myself doing much else.
"It wasn't me!"
There's not much you can do when the righteous fist of the law comes down on you. Call it a mix-up, or call it a mistake, if someone's pegged you at the scene of a crime there's not much you can do but trust the justice system to prove you innocent. However, that's a gamble, and just because you've been given a "not guilty" doesn't mean the effects won't follow you for the rest of your life.
Reddit user, u/danbrownskin, wanted to hear about the times when it wasn't you, seriously, it was someone else, when they asked: