Women's health issues in Germany
the jpoc guide
Germany is not like the UK. There is no real equivalent to the General Practitioner who you would expect to make your first point of call for all healthcare issues. Instead, it is normal for you to visit a specialist of your own choice for any problem.

You do know enough about medicine and German medical terms to choose your own specialist don't you?

For matters that might fall under the general term, "female reproductive health" this will be a Frauenartz or "Women's Doctor."

A lot of women will make a doctor such as this their first point of call for just about any issue and that probably works reasonably well except that any condition that afflicts you will initially be treated as potentially a gynaecological one.

The system is also very fragmented. In the UK, if you were referred to a gynaecologist, you would find that this person was working in a hospital and there you would find all of the normal back up services. In Germany you might find that your Frauenartz takes a sample of your blood, gives it to you in a bottle and tells you to go off to some lab somewhere to have it tested!

You do not need to register with a doctor to visit. That is one of the advantages of an insurance based scheme such as is the case in Germany. This also leaves you free to shop around and switch until you find a doctor with whom you are comfortable.

Language can be a problem. I have yet to meet a doctor in Germany who speaks no English and, in most practices, there will be a receptionist who can speak a little English but that does not mean that you will have no problem. I have met many medical practitioners who do not speak enough English to guarantee no possibility of a misunderstanding. If you are the sort of person who likes to see a GP every couple of months for a reassuring chat, you may have problems in Germany.

The most important thing is not to accept this. Don't assume that you understand if you are even a little unsure. Keep asking until it is clear or change doctor or ask a German friend to help. Don't be shy about the latter. You can be sure that your German woman friends will have no worries about tagging along and translating all of the fine details about your plumbing!

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