A Passion For Women’s Health

Dr. Simon Downes is a psychologist and medical student who has been in living in Japan since 1992. He interviews Japanese doctors to learn more about medical practice in this country.

Noriko Noguchi, MD, is an OB/GYN physician in Japan.

Simon R. Downes: Is there a need for more OB/GYN physicians in Japan? Why would students not choose this specialty?

Yes, there is a great need. Students do not choose this specialty because it is very hard. Deliveries of babies in particular are difficult to predict, so students find themselves often staying overnight in the hospital. Compared to other specialties, we spend more time staying overnight in the hospital.

When do students decide their specialty?

First, a resident must rotate through all of the specialties for two years. We average three months per rotation, but it depends on the hospital. Then, the student may choose a specialty.

What made you chose this specialty?

When I was a med student and resident we were able to see many departments. I was interested in this specialty for two reasons. First, we can take care of women throughout their whole life. Second, our specialty includes many sub-specialties. Therefore, we can handle many issues within our department. Fore example, we can do surgeries such as cesareans, hysterectomies, cancer operations, myomectomies, etc…the patient does not need to change to a different department.

Please tell me more about the sub-specialties.

The four main specialties within OB/GYN are Cancer, Obstetrics, Endocrinology and Women’s health. While most OB/GYNs can do all of these, we chose one area. In my case, while I rotated in general surgery, and learned how to do these types of surgeries, I focused on endocrinology.

In conclusion, please summarize why you chose this specialty.

OB/GYN is a specialty that covers all areas, from birth to death…we take care of all women’s health needs from internal medicine to surgery – that is why I love this specialty!

Thank you, Dr. Noguchi.