Visiting the Gynecologist in Japan: The Ultimate Guide
Going to a gynecologist in Japan should not be a nervous experience, but women’s health should be a top priority no matter where you are.
The female body is often a mystery especially to non-medical professionals like us. It is hard to know what is “normal” or what your body needs due to much conflicting information that exists on the internet. Like many women, you may be wondering what’s going on in your body and would like to talk to someone about it. Fortunately, gynecologists are the very reason they exist to help you with concerns that you have.
People visit Gynecologists for a wide variety of reasons. Be it whether for pregnancy-related reasons or simply just wanting a regular body checkup with a doctor. They are there to help you understand your body and listen to your concerns.
What you need to know about visiting a Gynecologist in Japan
First, you would need to decide if you want to find an English-speaking doctor if you are worried about your Japanese speaking skills. Fret not, there are many gynecologist clinics in Japan that have English-speaking staff.
Do not hesitate to ask your Japanese friends and family about recommendations to gynecologists in Japan as well! This can definitely make your life much easier with recommendations from trusted ones! Be whether you need a guide to pregnancy or need consultations about concerns you have, always find a doctor that you will feel comfortable with!
Next, if you are eligible, you would need to have your medical insurance card registered and ready when you are visiting any clinic. This is because visiting the gynecologist can get rather costly if you do not have your insurance to cover you.
Third, always be frank with your gynecologist. Do not worry about them judging you. These gynecologists are trained in handling any kind of issue and problem related to women’s health. You need not feel embarrassed or awkward when talking to them. Should you feel nervous, just remember to take a deep breath and let your doctor know your concerns slowly.
Also check out our guide on:
- Japanese Hospital Vocabulary Cheat Sheet
- Going to a Hospital in Japan
- Guide to Pregnancy and Birth in Japan
What to expect visiting a gynecologist in Japan
You are very likely to be in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable position on your first visit but this is nothing to fear. Your doctor will definitely try her very best to make you feel comfortable and less nervous.
Going to the gynecologist in Japan for the first time will include a pelvic exam and a pap smear test. This is also known as the National Cervical Screening Program or the パップテストが変わりました. These tests and procedures are for your gynecologist to find out any issues such as cancer that you might face. This is so that they can be taken care of as soon as possible. You may require additional tests if you have health problems such as very painful or heavy periods.
Going to a gynecologist isn’t only for pregnant women. It is good to have regular checkups on your body, particularly if you are sexually active. This is so that you can stay healthy for a long time. You should not hesitate to book an appointment with your gynecologist should you feel any pelvic, vulvar or vaginal pain. When you’re experiencing any abnormal bleeding in the uterus, do what your gut tells you: go to a doctor.
More often than not, the gynecologist would just want to talk to you about your health and what to expect at future appointments.
THings to remember to bring along with you on your visit
- Health insurance card or 健康保険被保険者証 (kenkohokenhihokenshasho).
- Identification card or 身分証明書 (mibunshomeisho)
- List of your allergies or アレルギー一覧 (arerugi ichiran)
- List of prescription medicine u are currently taking or 処方薬一覧 (shohoyakuichiran)
Common Questions asked by the Gynecologist
Gynecologists tend to ask many personal questions but these questions are always made confidential from anyone. You need not worry when answering these questions. Just be frank with your doctor. Here are some common questions that they will usually ask.
- When did you last have your period?
- Do you have irregular periods?
- How bad are your period cramps?
- Do you have any uncomfortable itching?
- Are you having protected or unprotected sex?
- Are you using any form of birth control?
- Do you experience any uncomfortable pain during your period?
English speaking women’s clinics in Tokyo
When it comes to health, it’s totally understandable that you’d want to put language barrier problems at the back of your mind.
Being a foreigner in Japan can be difficult if you do not understand Japanese. Thankfully, there’s a lot of English-speaking clinics in Tokyo.
What’s more, is that many of them are staffed by women nurses and employees. Of course, all medical workers are qualified no matter their gender — but we know some people feel safe and more comfortable to have female doctors be the ones checking their downtown region.
Here are some of the gynecologists in Japan that we recommend you visit.
1. Ebine Women’s Clinic
Ebine Women’s Clinic is known for its well-experienced all-female employee. They provide services in comprehensive obstetrical and gynecological care. They also have unique and comfortable communications with their customers. Their services include routine gynecologic wellness exams, adolescent gynecology, infertility treatments, cancer screening and prevention, infant care, breast care, postpartum care.
Location : 1-2-17 Takanawa, Minato-ku
Check out Ebine Women’s Clinic website for more information
2. Tokyo Midtown Clinic
With a special outpatient center, Tokyo Midtown Clinic provides total health support for their patients. This includes a Comprehensive Women’s Clinic that focuses on the advancement and dissemination of women’s healthcare. However, Tokyo Midtown Clinic only accepts appointments made for their outpatient clinic.
Address: 9-7-1 Akasaka, Minato-ku
Check out Tokyo Midtown Clinic website for more information
3. Aiiku Clinic
Since its establishment in 1938, Aiiku Clinic has been committed to delivering standard-setting medical care for mothers and children alike. Aiiku clinic focuses its outpatient clinic services for women of all ages, newborns and children. They offer special admitting and surgical privileges at Aiiku Hospital.
Address: 5-6-8 Minamiazabu, Minato-ku
Check out Aiiku Clinic website for more information
Some common terms to Describe pain in Japanese
ズキズキ (Zukizuki)- To describe a throbbing pain
Watashi wa watashi no i no naka de zukizuki to itami o kanjiru
I feel a throbbing pain in my stomach
ムカムカ (Mukamuka) – When you feel nauseous
I ga mukamukasuru ndesu.
I feel nauseous
くらくら (Kurakura) – When you feel dizzy
Kurakura suru ndesu.
I feel dizzy
Some words you need to know To prepare for your visit to the gynecologist
|産婦人科医||sanfujinkai||Obstetrician and Gynecologist|
|経口避妊薬||keikō hinin-yaku||Birth Control Pill|
|定期検診||teiki kenshin||Regular Checkup|
|子宮癌検査||shikyū gan kensa||Cervical Cancer Screening|
|花柳病||karyūbyō||Sexually Transmitted Disease|
Useful Japanese phrases to use when visiting the gynecologist
It would be good to know some convenient words and expressions that you can use at clinics and hospitals. This is to best convey your symptoms to avoid any unnecessary issues and concerns with your doctor.
|医者と予約したいのですが||Isha to yoyaku shitai nodesuga||I’d like to make an appointment with a doctor|
|予約の変更をお願いしたいんですが||yoyaku no henkou o onegai shitain desu ga||I’d like to reschedule the appointment.|
|英語のわかるスタッフはいますか?||Eigo no wakaru sutaffu wa imasu ka?||Is there a staff that understands English?|
|XX先生は今日いらっしゃいますか？||XX sensei wa kyou irasshai masu ka||Is Dr. XX in today?|
|一日何回飲みますか？||Ichi-nichi nan-kai nomimasu ka?||How many times per day do I take this medicine?|
|生理痛がひどくなってきた||Seiri-tsū ga hidoku natte kita||I am experiencing severe menstrual cramps|
Click below to download our cheat sheet to Japanese Gynecologist Vocabulary in PDF!
Birth Control in Japan
In Japan, most OB/GYNs can prescribe birth control pills, or “piru”（ピル). Its costs are not covered under national health insurance. There are different birth control methods available in Japan and each comes with its own risk and benefits. Not all birth control methods are legal in Japan. Here are common and legal birth control methods in Japan:
1. Birth control pills or 経口避妊薬 (KEIKOU HININ YAKU)
These pills are not available over the counter from drugstores. You would need to get them prescribed by your Gynecologist. They cost around ¥2,000-¥3,000 per month, depending on your doctor and brand of pill. Doctors will usually run blood tests or do a pap smear test to check if you are fit for use.
Fun fact! Did you know that Japan only legalized the use of birth control pills in 1999, this was 40 years after it had already been legalized in western countries.
2. Condoms or コンドーム (KONDOUMU)
Condoms can be easily bought at drugstores and convenience stores. Domestic brands typically cost 600 to 1000 yen for a pack of 12.
3. Intrauterine devices (IUD/IUS)
Intrauterine devices such as coils 子宮内器具 (shikyunai kigu,) or vaginal rings 避妊リング (hininringu) are available in clinics in Japan. These devices cost at least 50,000 yen including the procedure fee.
Abortion in Japan
Abortions in Japan are legal according to conditions of the Maternal Protection Law, and up to 21 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy. This procedure cannot be conducted after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Unless it is medically necessary to do so for the sake of the health of the pregnant women. It can only be done in approved clinics and hospitals by approved medical practitioners.
A consent form must be signed before the procedure either by you or your partner. Abortion in Japan is not covered by Japanese health insurance. The costs of abortions vary by clinic/hospital. They usually cost around 100,000 yen (First trimester) to 200,000 yen (Second trimester)
Do remember to have someone there with you before, during, and after the procedure. This procedure can be both physically and mentally daunting and cause a wide range of different emotions. You may find it helpful to talk about your feelings with your partner or a trusted friend to help manage your emotions.
Do check out the Japan Health Info website for more information about abortion in Japan.
Medical Insurance Card
Hospitals and Clinics in Japan do not typically accept overseas insurance. There are many different insurance providers in Japan with the most common being the National Health Insurance (NHI) – 国民健康保険 (kokumin kenko hoken). Non-Japanese Residents with residence cards (Zairyu Card) can apply for the National Health Insurance. This is under the condition that they stay in Japan for at least 3 months.
Under NHI, patients only pay 30% of the total cost of care at clinics and hospitals. NHI provides benefits for high medical costs associated with surgery and hospitalization and contributes to birthing costs.
To apply, visit the NHI department at your local city hall or ward office and they are usually open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Remember to bring your residence card (Zairyu Card) and passport along with you