Does Gender Matter When It Comes to Choosing a Physician?

For most of us, the basic qualities that we look for in a physician are pretty universal. At a minimum, we want someone who is well-trained, experienced, knowledgeable, accessible, and with a good bedside manner. But then there’s the consideration of a doctor’s gender. While having nothing to do with a physician’s skill level or expertise, many of us have preferences –  or even requirements – when it comes to the gender of who’s treating us.

Some patients may prefer confiding in a male doctor  Does Gender Matter When It Comes to Choosing a Physician? Photo

Some patients may prefer confiding in a male doctor (

Here’s a look at some of the most common reasons patients have for preferring one gender of doctor over the other:

Discussing Intimate Issues
Everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to discussing health issues. We all know at least one person who is perfectly happy to discuss his or her ailments with acquaintances at the bus stop or in the grocery store aisle. Those people may not have a gender preference for their doctors. But those of us who are more discerning of who we share details about our gastrointestinal health with may be more likely to prefer one gender over another. It may be that a women who’s only used to sharing personal information with her husband prefers a male doctor. Or perhaps a man who confides in his female friends prefers a female doctor.

Intimate Examinations
Beyond just discussing intimate health issues, some doctor appointments entail an examination of our reproductive organs. When it comes to these specialists, many of us may have a preferred gender. For example, women may prefer to see female OB/GYNS and men may prefer male urologists.

Historic Preference
The older generations didn’t have the choices in their healthcare that we have today. In their time, doctors were men and nurses were women. While many of these senior patients may now embrace the changing face of health providers, others may be more comfortable sticking to the same idea of who a doctor is that they’ve held most of their lives.

Of course, not everyone has a gender preference for their doctor. And for those who do, their reasons behind their preferences can be as myriad as their reasons for making an appointment. But with medical school students now being nearly split between the sexes, at least we have a choice in who we see for our care.

To find a doctor who meets all of your requirements – including your gender preference – use the Vitals Doctor Finder.

Tell us about your preference – or lack thereof – in the comments section below.

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