GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)– It’s National Women’s Health Week.

Experts want to remind women about the importance of having both a gynecologist and a primary care physician monitor their health in all stages of life.

As part of our “Ask the Expert”, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis, 7News Anchor Taylor Murray spoke with an OB/GYN and a Primary Care Physician about the differences in the care they provide.

OB/GYN’s are often seen as the gatekeeper to women’s health.

Dr. Samy Iskandar, an OB/GYN at Bon Secours St. Francis, says gynecologists “really focus on annual pap smears, the female hormone, all of the things associated with women’s care.”

Dr. Iskandar says for health needs outside of their expertise, you will likely be referred out to a primary care physician.

“I have primary care doctors that send me patients that they don’t do female exams for, and I have patients that in my screening I find something wrong their thyroid, their blood pressure is elevated, so I send them back to the primary, so we help each other.”

Dr. Samy Iskandar, OB/GYN, Bon Secours St. Francis

Health experts recommend women get an annual physical.

These exams with a PCP, or primary care provider, usually cover a lot more ground than the annual well-woman exam with the OB/GYN.

“A PCP, which is primary care provider, focuses on a range of conditions that impact overall health, so they provide preventative care. They also treat acute conditions such as cold symptoms, flu, covid, chest pain, or anything like that. They also help manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and such,” Dr. Iddyadinesh said.

Dr. Sanjana Iddyadinesh, a family medicine physician, says there are limitations to using a specialist, like an OB/GYN for all of your medical needs.

“There are things that can be missed. If colon cancer screening is not done, then, if there is a colon cancer, there’s no way of knowing that.. that’s why I believe seeing a PCP is very important, because we don’t want to miss anything like high blood pressure that’s going on or breathing issues, along with just cancer screenings as well.”

Dr. Sanjana Iddyadinesh, Family Medicine Physician, Bon Secours St. Francis

If you have a doctor for your women’s care, but not a PCP, just ask your OB/GYN to refer you to one and vice versa.

Both Dr. Iskandar and Dr. Iddyadinesh say if you establish care with an OB/GYN and PCP within the same health system, the process of sharing medical records can be exceptionally quick and seamless.

To submit a health topic for our Ask the Expert series, click here.