Gynecologists Can Treat Men AgainS

In the fall, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology announced they'd clarified the requirements doctors needed to meet to be a board certified gynecologist. Except in a few circumstances, these rules exempted doctors who worked with men their certification. After backlash from that decision grew, the ABOG has reversed that call.

The ABOG rule change was put in place to narrow the definition of what board certified gynecology means, specifically, to exclude doctors who work in "aesthetic medicine, cosmetic surgery, liposuction and psychotherapy." What it ended up doing was angering doctors who work with men for research purposes, like those studying anal cancer among men, for example, or those who wanted to help men with pelvic pain.

The new ruling allows doctors for whom the majority of their patients are women (75%) to continue to be called gynecologists.

"This change recognizes that in a few rare instances board certified diplomates were being called upon to treat men for certain conditions and to participate in research," ABOG's executive director Dr Larry Gilstrap said in a statement. "This issue became a distraction from our mission to ensure that women receive high quality and safe health care."

The definition as it stands now is:

Obstetricians and Gynecologists are physicians who, by virtue of satisfactory completion of an accredited program of graduate medical education, possess special knowledge, skills and professional capability in the medical and surgical care of women related to pregnancy and disorders of the female reproductive system. Obstetricians and Gynecologists provide primary and preventive care for women and serve as consultants to other health care professionals.

The board still wants to make it clear that it doesn't want doctors picking up other specialties that stray too far from gynecology, explaining that it "does not and cannot attest to the knowledge, judgment, skills, and qualifications of Diplomates related to practice outside of the scope of the specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology." Bottom line: they don't know about what you're doing with men, all right?!

Image via NBC