Gynecology is the study of the health care of women, including diseases and normal physical care of the female reproductive system. Gynecology also involves the study of female sexual functioning, as well as functioning of the reproductive system and of the secretions (substances released) from hormones in the female body. Hormones are types of chemicals in the body that affect other cells. Someone who practices gynecology is known as a gynecologist. Gynecologists can perform surgery and also focus on non-surgical care. However, gynecologists do not perform breast surgery. Gynecology is commonly abbreviated as GYN and is also known as gyniatrics.
Since gynecology is almost always studied and practiced along with obstetrics (see obstetrician), these two fields of study are commonly abbreviated as OB/GYN. Obstetrics is the science that deals with the care of women and their fetuses (developing babies) during pregnancy and childbirth, and during the events that come before and soon after birth. Obstetrics also deals with the normal and abnormal functioning of the female reproductive system. Gynecologic and gynecological mean pertaining to gynecology as well as the study of the breasts and the diseases of the female reproductive system.
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The counterpart of gynecology is andrology, which is the medical specialty dealing with the male health, especially those of the male reproductive system and urinary problems unique to men. Gynecology comes from the Greek word "gyne" meaning "woman," and the Greek word "logos" meaning "the study of." Put the two words together and you have "the study of woman."