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Board allows gynecologists to treat more men


(Reuters) - A U.S. professional group that certifies obstetricians and gynecologists has loosened a decades-old restriction on its board-certified members treating male patients, after mounting pressure from doctors and researchers.

The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) had previously said members could not treat male patients except in specific circumstances, such as circumcising babies, treating transgendered patients, and helping couples overcome infertility.

However, opposition had mounted from gynecologists and others who said the policy interfered with medical research and prevented them treating male patients with chronic pelvic pain.

Some obstetricians and gynecologists had also been treating men for cancer, problems such as low testosterone, and cosmetic procedures including liposuction.

"This change recognizes that in a few rare instances board certified diplomats were being called upon to treat men for certain conditions and to participate in research," Dr. Larry Gilstrap, ABOG's executive director, said in a statement Thursday.

"This issue became a distraction from our mission to ensure that women receive high quality and safe health care."


The Dallas-based board eliminated requirements that said certified members treat only women and must devote at least 75 percent of their practice to obstetrics and gynecology, saying instead a majority would suffice.

The policy change matters because board certification, while not legally mandated, is viewed as a paragon of safety by many hospitals, patients, and insurers.

It was intended to protect patients when some gynecologists who were board-certified by the group were practicing in areas outside the board's expertise, such as plastic surgery, ABOG spokesman David Margulies said.

First adopted in the 1930s, the policy had been ignored or opposed by doctors in some corners over the years, and the board had built a list of complicated exceptions over the past months, Margulies said.

"The whole thing became a distraction from the idea that we are here to certify people, to make sure that they have the training they need," Margulies said.

ABOG says on its website it is an independent, non-profit organization that certifies obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States.

It examines and certifies more than 1,700 obstetricians and gynecologists and sub-specialists in maternal-fetal medicine, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, gynecologic oncology and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery each year.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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CaptChas February 01 2014 at 9:43 PM

I guess Most people Don't realize that a Gynecologist Specializes in the ENTIRE Pelvic region of men and women, Not just female genitalia. And is a full Fledged Doctor.

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schlauger1 CaptChas February 01 2014 at 11:20 PM

Capt: Yes, but how many men go one? It's a stigma for both genders, especially males.

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1 reply
bmwrjw schlauger1 February 02 2014 at 1:04 AM

When is it a stigma to see a doctor? The stigma lies on those too ignorant to seek the best possible help available when it comes to health care.

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Gina February 02 2014 at 12:25 AM

Great! Now me and my husband can make appointments together.... LOL Come on honey, it's time for OUR gyno appointment!

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tadamsinc February 01 2014 at 9:31 PM

Some preeeeeeety stupid comments going on below. A Gynecologist is a bonafide physician.
The degree and level of schooling is as thorough and comprehensive as any physician who has dedicated their career to mens reproductive health. The decision to 'specialize' can come very late in a doctors education. Its amusing how easy it is to make a man's 'manhood' feel threatened or humiliated.... merely by suggesting they can have their 'issues' dealt with by a physician who chose to specialize in women's health. Also, if as a man you have never been subjected to 'stirrups', you should question just how comprehensive YOUR doctor is. While it is relatively new in practice, stirrups will get you the proper genital/rectal exam according to todays certified nurse practitioners and physicians. Shine a little light on your junk now and then and you just might avoid common but deadly issues unique to men. Not EVERYTHING is about porn.

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recorby tadamsinc February 01 2014 at 10:28 PM

Urologists are real MD's, too. But they are usually the weak sisters of a med school graduating class.

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ga7smi recorby February 01 2014 at 10:32 PM


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capemaybabe50 February 01 2014 at 6:57 PM


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oceanfloorpatrick February 02 2014 at 5:08 AM

Reconstructive surgery of human nature...

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stampman24 February 02 2014 at 12:03 AM

Sounds like a move to give more opportunity for good research
to be done in this area!

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Dharmalynn February 02 2014 at 1:33 AM

One of the things they didn't mention that might be something an OB/Gyn would treat is gynecomastia (or what is jokingly referred to as "man boobs", or--my favorite--"moobs") It can be the result of hormonal changes, environmental toxins, and as a side effect from certain medications. Not something with which a urologist is likely to have much experience.

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smooothlegs February 02 2014 at 6:36 AM

Oh But Of Course!! Nurse sort here, Men also get Breast cancer. reproductive organs should not Just be for women but afforded to Men as well, another Billing ok for medicine to killing you so slowly with insurance... Nursing Bed side Nursing Observation! Modern Medicine where the MD is Just Not Enough..........

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Paul smooothlegs February 02 2014 at 9:11 AM

Men normally go to urologists, but if that gynecologist a nice looking well built young piece of doctor with low cut blouse and mini skirt I wouldn't mind to go to her for a checkup myself

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Lady Ob February 01 2014 at 7:48 PM

I am an OB GYN physician. We diagnose and treat disease caused by HPV...preinvasive and invasive cancer usually found in female patients but we have the expertise to treat anywhere in the genital track of either sex. We use the colposcope pictured above to examine the cervix, vagina, vulva and anus. Men can have disease anywhere on their genitals or anus and get squamous cancer. That's why their partners get the disease. The urologists aren't interested as they are too busy with prostate cancer, kidney stones, and benign prostatic disease. Also I don't think they'll be willing to learn as our codes for reimbursement are dismally small compared to theirs. So if your wife has disease, consider seeing her gyn. Also GYNs are trained in endocrinology and many of our specialty do sex change operations for the men who desire to be women. I We are the specialists of the genital tract. We know the anatomy.

In order to pay our huge medical malpractice bills many ob gyns are trained to do liposuction and tummy tucks. Again, who better than an ob gyn who does Cesareans to repair the abdominal wall. The ABOG frowned on OB GYNs who turned to predominantly cash business of plastics and who still desired to maintain their certified status.

I am in private practice and have been in practice for 23 years. I practice in Northwest Indiana, in Merrillville, just south of Gary If anyone has HPV disease I am happy to treat the patient. My office is 219-769-7650 Mary Vanko MD

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Mary Lady Ob February 01 2014 at 8:19 PM

Dr. Vanko, thank you for an intelligent responce .. refreshing on this website ..

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savannah Lady Ob February 01 2014 at 10:42 PM

The truth is that it depends on the politics of the medical community on who does what. No matter who has been trained or is qualified.

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recorby February 01 2014 at 10:26 PM

Go ahead and laugh--until you wind up with pelvic pain from a PCa treatment or similar cause. Urologist don't know--OR CARE--about guys who wind up in this situation, and you can be really abandoned by the urological "profession".

I had this problem 17 years ago, and I was in pain for 5 years with almost no relief. After visiting 6 uro's, I went to a female uro, who had experience dealing with women's interstitial pain, and she had me pain free in less than a year.

Uro's aren't trained in pain, because it doesn't happen often, therefore, it doesn't exist to them. Most of them were real asses about it.

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1 reply
duncanstpt recorby February 01 2014 at 10:40 PM

And the gynecologists might have been real pubes about it.

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1 reply
schlauger1 duncanstpt February 01 2014 at 11:31 PM

dun: What's the fricking joke?

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