The Women’s Health Center at Grace is dedicated to women’s care and committed to women’s health. With a focus on prevention as one primary goal in mind, we offer a wide variety of services and procedures for women of all ages, including teens.
Patient-focused, comprehensive care… the Women’s Health Center at Grace Health System®.
You’ll start with a comprehensive exam, which includes a complete assessment of your current health and medical history. We’ll also complete a physical exam, which can be done by one of our female nurse practitioners if you so choose. We recommend routine tests to screen for early signs of disease, like a Pap smear, Mammogram and simple blood tests. For women who are postmenopausal, we can also perform Bone Density tests to check for signs of osteoporosis.
In addition to screening for sexually transmitted diseases, we can also provide the Gardasil vaccine, with proven effectiveness against Human Papillomavirus or HPV. You can also get your flu shot and other common vaccinations at the Women’s Health Center.
Our services are not limited to just gynecologic needs. We can also coordinate heart health screenings through our Cardiology Center and can also counsel and coordinate care for bladder leakage issues through the Continence Center. For women needing a colonoscopy, we can coordinate the test with local GI specialists. For adolescents, our providers can help patients with menstrual cramps and managing irregular menstrual cycles.
Common conditions treated at the Women’s Health Center include pelvic pain, abnormal uterine bleeding, fibroid tumors and endometriosis among many others. Your doctor can also diagnose and help treat diseases of the cervix, vagina, uterus, and ovaries such as infections and precancerous changes. The Women’s Health Center at Grace is home to one of the region’s only board-certified gynecologic oncologist. With more than 20 years experience, he will work with you and your family in treating your cancer. In addition, he is also highly-trained in genetic counseling, for men and women, as well as testing for hereditary cancer. Our specialists maintain a comprehensive list of diagnostic tools and evidence-based treatment plans to help them resolve many illnesses or disorders. These, of course, include hysterectomy, which is the removal of uterus and/or ovaries. Your doctor will use the least invasive method including vaginal or laparoscopic methods. Our providers and their support teams are expert in performing surgeries including vaginal, abdominal or minimally-invasive laparoscopic hysterectomies.
They can also perform corrective pelvic organ prolapse. More common as women age, organ prolapse condition can occur in women of all ages. Risk factors for pelvic organ prolapse include women who’ve had large babies or have experienced long pushing phases of labor. Laparoscopic techniques are also used to explore and diagnose causes of severe pelvic pain or infertility.
The American Cancer Society says cervical cancer is one of the most treatable cancers if caught early enough. Early detection starts with regular Pap smears. If you have an abnormal Pap smear, your provider may recommend a colposcopy, a minimally invasive biopsy of the cervix and vagina. Colposcopy results that confirm the Pap smear findings may indicate a need for Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure or LEEP. This procedure removes premalignant lesions from your cervix for further testing.
When the childbearing phase of life is finished, you can prevent further pregnancies through a procedure called Tubal Ligation, also referred to as having the “tubes tied”. During this surgical procedure, your doctor will close the fallopian tubes to prevent fertilization. With this procedure, your menstrual cycle, libido and hormone production are not interrupted. There are several ways to accomplish the “tubal” and all options are explained so the patient will be well informed and comfortable.
For the first time in more than 30 years, the American Cancer Society is changing its guidelines about when women should start getting regular mammograms, and how often.
The new rules, published in this week’s JAMA (formerly known as the Journal of the American Medical Association), say women at average risk should wait until they’re 45 to start getting mammograms. Women should get one every year until they’re 55, then get one every other year. Cancer researchers say breast cancers tend to grow more slowly after menopause, making it safe for women to be checked less often as they age.
While mammograms are one of the best known tools for early detection of breast cancer, the new guidelines say doctors no longer need to do breast exams during women’s checkups. Dr. Michelle Sahinler, a Grace Health System® gynecologist, says women should do a breast self-exam monthly, and their doctor should still do a yearly exam. “In the past year, I have detected a breast cancer on a routine breast exam that was not detected by the patient,” she says.
A mammogram can detect tiny tumors long before they are big enough to be felt. But not all tumors are life-threatening. Experts say doctors can’t tell which breast tumors are harmless; so many mammograms produce a “false positive”. These false results can cause women to have surgery, radiation and other unnecessary treatments.
Despite the new changes, the American Cancer Society says it’s still important for a woman to talk with her doctor about her risk, and decide what’s best for her health. If she decides to get a mammogram between the ages of 40-44, can still get one, and women older than 55 can still get one every year. Dr. Sahinler agrees with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) which says women should get a mammogram every one to two years, starting at the age of 40.
The American Cancer Society researchers say the new guidelines are for women who have no known risk of breast cancer. While breast cancer runs in families, Dr. Sahinler stresses that 85 percent of all breast cancer is found in women with no known family link.
An estimated 232,000 women will be diagnosed this year with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die from it.