UI Hospitals and Clinics

Womens Health

Vulvar Vestibulitis
Vestibulitis is a condition that causes redness and pain of the vestibule. Vestibulitis is an inflammation of this skin and the mucous secreting glands found in the skin.
Vaginal Cysts, Polyps, and Warts
The vagina has a lining that can form cysts, polyps and warts. Although these occur often, they are not harmful.
Perinatal (Pregnancy and Postpartum) Depression: Frequently Asked Questions
Information for those who are affected by Antenatal, Postpartum, Perinatal Depression.
Breastfeeding and Benefits of Breast Milk
The healthiness of breastfeeding has been questioned in recent years. This article reviews the benefits and possible downsides of breastfeeding.
Birth Control Pill Fact Sheet
Discover the truth about birth control effectiveness, benefits, and more.
Vaginal Lichen Planus
Lichen Planus is a skin condition which causes inflammation and ulcer-like changes of the skin.
Fibrocystic Breast Disease - FAQ
Fibrocystic tendencies are very common. The signs and symptoms are cyclic breast pain, tenderness, lumps, and nipple discharge.
How to Keep Young Women Healthy
Many adolescent females have special needs and concerns about their bodies as they change. As the average age of puberty continues to drift lower, the physical and emotional issues are presenting themselves to girls still in elementary school.
Five Ways to Decrease Nausea During Pregnancy
Hyperemesis gravidarum is simply increased nausea and vomiting in pregnancy due to the normal increase in one of the pregnancy hormones. If you are experiencing these symptoms it is important to tell your obstetric provider because if left alone, it can cause severe dehydration.
How to Choose a Doctor for Your Child
Jerold Woodhead, MD, a pediatrician at University of Iowa Health Care—Iowa River Landing, offers some helpful tips on finding a doctor for your child.
For Women with Breast Cancer Considering Prophylactic Mastectomy
This article reviews the option of a double mastectomy, whether it is viable option or an overcautious procedure.
Unique Stroke Symptoms in Women
It is important to recognize stroke symptoms and act quickly. Learn the common stroke symptoms and how to react if somebody else is experiencing a stroke.
Sexual Assault: A Women's Health Issue
Sexual assault can affect a woman’s health both immediately and long term. Learn how to reduce you chances of sexual assault and how to respond if sexual assault occurs.
Pap Test Guidelines
For many women, "going to your annual" is a phrase of the past. According to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the cervical cancer screening guidelines have changed for average-risk women.
Overactive Bladder Fact Sheet
Do you spend an excessive amount of time in the bathroom stall? Voiding disorders affect urine storage and release because both are controlled by the same muscle mechanisms. Overactive bladder (OAB) and other voiding disorders can keep you from doing the things you love because you constantly live in fear of being too far away from a restroom.
Preeclampsia Fast Facts
Preeclampsia is definite as a condition starting after 20 weeks of pregnancy that causes high blood pressure and problems with the kidneys and other organs. It was formerly called toxemia.
Vulvar Skin Care Guidelines
Recommended guidelines for healthy vulvar skin includes decreasing and removing chemicals, moisture, or rubbing (friction). Products listed below have been suggested for use because of their past success in helping to decrease or relieve vulvar/vaginal burning, irritation, or itching.
HPV Fact Sheet
HP, also known as the human papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted infection. HPV is passed on through direct skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. There are more than 40 types of HPV that can infect both males and females.
Women's Health
A collection of health tips for women and girls from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Preventive Health Screenings
Everybody is busy. Sometimes we are even so busy that we ignore our health. Sometimes the amount of tests that we think we may need to stay healthy can seem daunting. We are here to tell you that there may not be as many as you think. In every decade, there are Top Tests to Save Your Life. Keep yourself healthy by adhering to these lifesaving tests.
Gynecologic Cancer Fact Sheet
Your first line of defense against gynecologic cancers? Get informed. Knowing the facts can help you recognize the sometimes silent symptoms so treatment can begin in the earlier stages.
Stress or Depression Fact Sheet
In some, stress can lead to serious mental health problems such as depression. Depression is more than just a rough patch. Also known as major depression, major depressive disorder, and clinical depression, it is a serious condition that impacts every facet of your world, such as your social life, relationships, career, physical, and overall self-worth and purpose.
Simple Steps to Better Sleep Fact Sheet
Sleep is an integral, and arguably the most important, part of the Big Three—eating healthfully, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Adequate sleep can also lower your risk for certain diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, just to name a couple. It is important to realize that being fatigued is NOT normal and can be a sign of other conditions such as sleep apnea.
Cervical Cancer Fact Sheet
To live well and avoid the risk of cervical cancer, it is important for women to have Pap smears (also known as “Paps”) done starting at age 21. A Pap checks for changes in your cervical cells and detects infection or the presence of cervical cancer. Being proactive with your health transforms the fear of the unknown to the freedom of peace of mind!
Eight Tips to Manage Your Stress
There are many activities and techniques that can help you manage your stress and keep it at a healthy level. Try some of these tips to help you de-stress wherever you are.
Well-Woman Visit Overview
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognizes the well-woman visit as a fundamental part of women’s healthcare and wellness. Scheduling an appointment annually when you are not sick gives you time with your physician dedicated to maintaining your overall health by providing services based on your age, risk factors, and individual needs.
Vaccine Fact Sheet
As children get older, it is important to remember that protection from some vaccines begins to wear off. Being aware of the vaccine schedule for preteens and teenagers can give your son or daughter the opportunity to give high school and college their best shot.
Menopause: Frequently Asked Questions
Menopause is the point in time when a woman's menstrual period stops and she can no longer get pregnant. A woman has reached menopause after a full year without periods. The years around the menopause when symptoms can be bothersome are called perimenopause.
Breast Cancer FAQs
Breasts: No two are alike. From training bras to breastfeeding to menopause and beyond, breasts show up in some of our most awkward years and change throughout our lives. It’s important to get to know your “girls” at every stage of life in order to protect yourself against breast cancer.
How Can I Control Perimenopausal Mood Swings?
If you experience symptoms of menopause that make you uncomfortable, there are medications and lifestyle changes you can try. Start by keeping a diary of your symptoms, including their frequency and intensity. Then share these with your doctor so that together, you can come up with a treatment plan that works for you.
4 Steps to Overcome Fading Intimacy
In order to overcome fading intimacy in a committed relationship, you have to attract each other over and over again. To do this, you must understand how your partner’s mind and body react.
Tips to Increase Intimacy
There's an old myth that says as people get older they aren't interested in intimacy. It's time to set the record straight! Try a few of these tips to help increase the intimacy in your relationship.
Myths About the Pill (Oral Contraceptives)
3 common myths about birth control pills debunked.
Love Your Selfie: Adolescence Body Image Fact Sheet
Many teens and young adults (girls AND boys) don’t feel good about their appearance. Some of them don’t even realize they have negative thoughts about their body or how they look. If this is you, it may help to know you are not alone.
Adolescence is an Important Time of Change
Keeping young women healthy isn’t limited to the doctor’s office.
Safe Driving Rules for Adolescents
Any attempt to address the health and wellness issues in adolescents has to begin with cars.
Identifying Depression in Adolescent Girls
Depression in teenage girls doesn’t look the same as it does in adults.
Recognizing Eating Disorders in Adolescent Girls
Adolescence is a time of major physical and psychological change, as well as significant changes in social interactions and relationships. Often, eating disorders are an attempt by a girl to regain some control over her body.
Technology and Teenagers: Parents Need to Pay Attention
According to the Pew Research Center’s 2015 report, 92 percent of teenagers use the Internet daily. Parents should pay attention to overuse of technology for a number of reasons.
Common Cold v. Flu
Though the common cold and the flu can often look alike, in general having a stuffy nose, sneezing, and a sore throat are more indicative of a cold while symptoms like fever, headache, body aches, weakness, fatigue, and extreme exhaustion are rarely signs of a cold but are common indicators of the flu.
5 Things You Should Know About Prenatal Care
Prenatal care is the best thing you can do for yourself and your baby while pregnant. These quick tips will start your child’s life out happy and healthy before they are even born.
Pregnancy Power Foods
While pregnant what you eat is more important than how much you eat. Women should consume around 300 extra calories each day to gain a healthy amount of weight. Everything you put into your body while pregnant also goes into your baby’s body. These power foods will keep you and your baby healthy throughout the process of pregnancy. Salmon Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your baby’s brain and eyes. Salmon also provides protein and vitamin B and has low levels of mercury compared to other fish. During pregnancy expecting mothers can safely eat up to 12 ounces of low-mercury fish per week. Low-fat Yogurt It is known that babies need calcium to help their bones grow, but expecting mothers also need it to keep their muscles and nerves functioning and bones strong. Yogurt also contains protein, folate, and active cultures to prevent upset stomachs and yeast infections. During pregnancy mothers should aim to get 1,200 mg of calcium every day. Avocados Avocados contain lots of folate, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. Each of these nutrients are extremely important to help the baby’s tissue and brain grow. Avocados have also been known to ease morning sickness for expecting mothers. Oats and Whole Grains Oats and whole grains are full of iron, vitamin B, fiber, and other minerals essential for a healthy pregnancy. Constipation can also be a common problem during pregnancy and fiber can help ease that issue as well. Whole corn, rice, quinoa, wheat and barley are all healthy options to consider. Carrots and Peppers Your baby’s eyes, skin, bones, and organ development are crucial to having a healthy and happy baby. Carrots and peppers are packed with beta-carotene, which is then converted to vitamin A. Both vegetables also contain lots of healthy vitamin B6, vitamin C, and fiber to keep your digestive tract regular. Lean Meat The proteins in lean meat are packed with amino acids and iron to help keep every cell in your and your baby’s bodies healthy. The iron is great for developing red blood cells in your baby and help increase yours as well. Foods high in protein also help stabilize your blood sugar, which is perfect for hungry moms to be. When pregnant you should aim for 3 servings of lean meat protein per day. Water Even though water is not a food, the health benefits of consuming enough water are immense. Water helps build new cells, deliver nutrients, flush out toxins, and makes you feel full to reduce snaking. Water is found in many other fluids, which are just as effective as a glass of water. During pregnancy you should aim to consume 2 quarts of water a day to lower the risk of dehydration.
5 Ways to Improve Fertility
If you’re trying to get pregnant and it hasn’t been working so far, read these quick tips to boost your fertility and start your family. 1. Control Your Weight Your weight before getting pregnant often gets overlooked, but is an important factor. Keeping a healthy weight will help with conception and keep you and your baby healthier throughout your pregnancy. The ideal BMI is anything below 19 as long as you are also not considered underweight. 2. Protect the Sperm Recent studies haven’t found much of a difference in the boxers vs. briefs debate, but more of difference when exposed to heat. Hot tubs and hot baths are known to affect a man’s fertility. Other things like long term exposure to laptops and cells may also affect the fertility in a man. 3. Watch Your Beverage Intake Women who consume more than 5 cups of coffee a day or 2 or more alcoholic drinks per day decrease their fertility by nearly 60%. Consuming caffeine and alcohol in moderation prior to becoming pregnant is fine, but you will have to cut it out completely when pregnant. 4. Quit Smoking Smoking cigarettes negatively affects a woman and man’s fertility. Men that smoke while trying to conceive a child reduce their sperm count and can damage their DNA. Quitting smoking before a woman gets pregnant also reduces the risks of miscarriage compared to quitting while pregnant. 5. Utilize the Fertile Window The fertile window is known as the 6 days that end on the day of ovulation. You are most likely to get pregnant within the 3 days before ovulation, which occurs 14 days prior to the menstrual period. To track your ovulation you can use a smartphone application or a simple calendar.
4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Cervical Cancer
While these recommendations will not completely prevent cervical cancer, they will lower your risk and help protect you from the disease.
Inside Look at 7 Types of Birth Control
Every form of birth control has pros and cons, but the most important aspect is choosing the right one for you. Before choosing a type of birth control you should talk to your doctor about your overall health, if you want to have children someday, possible side effects, how often you have sex, and your comfort level using these different methods. Female Condom This type of a condom is inserted inside the woman’s vagina and keeps sperm from getting into her body. These can be inserted up to 8 hours prior to having sex, but a new condom should be used each time. You should not use it the same time you use a male condom. Male Condom Male condoms are designed to be placed over the penis and prevent sperm from entering a woman’s body. A new condom should be worn every time and are most effective when used with a vaginal spermicide. Condoms can be made of latex, polyurethane or a “natural/lambskin”. Oral Contraception This form of birth control is better known as “the pill.” It is taken daily to prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg. The pill also creates a change in the uterus lining and cervical mucus to prevent the egg and sperm from joining. There are many forms of oral contraceptives and you should talk to your doctor about which is best for your health. The Patch The patch is a form of birth control similar to the pill. It releases the hormones progestin and estrogen to stop the ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens cervical mucus to prevent the sperm from joining with an egg. The patch should be worn on the lower abdomen, buttocks, outer arm, or upper body for 3 weeks and then taken off to have a period. Vaginal Ring The vaginal ring is commonly called NuvaRing, the brand name. This form of birth control is a thin, flexible ring that also releases the hormones progestin and estrogen to stop the ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens the cervical mucus to keep the sperm and egg from joining. The vaginal ring should be worn for 3 weeks and taken out during the fourth week to have a period. Implantable Rod The implantable rod may also be known by its brand name, Implanon. The rod is flexible and match-stick sized that gets implanted under the skin of the upper arm. Progestin is released, which changes the cervical lining and cervical mucus to prevent sperm from joining with an egg. This form of birth control can be effective for up to 3 years. Emergency Contraception Emergency contraception is used when a woman has had unprotected vaginal intercourse, meaning no form of birth control was used or the birth control method did not work. It is better known as Plan B One-Step or the “morning after pill”. An oral pill is taken to prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg or keeping the sperm from joining with an egg. It should be taken as soon as possible or within 72 hours after unprotected sex for the best chances of it working.
6 Safe Exercises for Pregnant Women
While pregnant it should be your main priority to keep you and your baby healthy. The right types of exercise will help relieve some discomforts like back pain and sleeping troubles. Exercise can also lift your spirits with the endorphins, feel-good chemicals, your brain will release during and after a workout. You should always talk with your doctor before starting or continuing exercise while pregnant to ensure it is safe for you. Swimming Swimming is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that is easy on your joints and can help relieve your swollen ankles. You will receive a full body workout and feel light in the water. Yoga Yoga is the perfect exercise to ease your back pain and help you relax throughout your pregnancy. It will strengthen your core muscles and even make labor more comfortable. Many moms-to-be try prenatal classes to keep it gentle and really focus on relaxation. Walking Walking is one of safest and most beneficial forms of exercise during pregnancy. You can choose to walk outside or on a treadmill to help tone your muscles and improve your mood. Many women can walk right up until their delivery. Stretching Stretching is a great way to ease some of the aches and pains your changing body may be experiencing. Targeting your pelvic, hip, and thigh muscles can help relieve some lower back pains and keep you limber throughout delivery. Indoor Cycling Riding a stationary bike will take a load off your legs and is safer than riding outside. Cycling will boost your heart rate without adding extra stress on your joints. As your stomach grows it is smart to raise the handle bars to stay comfortable on the bike. Low-Impact Aerobics Low-impact aerobics are perfect for your heart, lungs, and toning your body all over. Water aerobics or traditional aerobics often have beginner and prenatal classes to fit the needs of your changing body. If you are currently a high intensity exerciser you should lower the intensity the farther you get into your pregnancy.
How to Control Your Hot Flashes
A hot flash occurs when the blood vessels near the surface of your skin dilate in order to cool down. You will feel a quick feeling of heat and your face may become red or flushed. Your body sweats to cool down and release the heat. Hot flashes occur during and before menopause to some degree in almost all women. Stay Cool Keeping your bedroom cool and using fans at night will help reduce night sweats and make it more comfortable for you. You should also wear light layers made with natural fibers, like cotton, to help release the heat. Practice Deep Breathing Deep breathing will often help you relax and help lower your heart rate when getting a hot flash. For optimal results you should aim for 6 to 8 breaths per minute. It is smart to practice for 15 minutes in the morning and at night. Exercise Daily exercises like walking, swimming, bicycling, and dancing can all help reduce the amount of hot flashes you get. It is very important to stay hydrated during and after exercise as well. Avoid Triggers Most women cannot prevent hot flashes, but avoiding common triggers may help reduce the severity and frequency of your hot flashes. Some common triggers include: stress, alcohol, caffeine, tight clothing, spicy foods, heat, and cigarette smoke. If your hot flashes become more severe start occurring so frequent that it makes living your life harder, you can talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. Hormone replacement therapy can help prevent hot flashes in many women, but should be discussed with a doctor.
Steps Toward Better Health: In Your 20s
During your well-woman visit, you’ll discuss the steps you need to take, as well as the screenings and shots you need, based on your age, health habits, risk factors, and family history.
Steps Toward Better Health: In Your 30s
Do you know what you should be doing in your 30s to live a healthier life? Use this list! Pledge to follow one or all of the steps below. Then get the conversation started at your next checkup with this list. During your well-woman visit, you’ll discuss the steps you need to take, as well as the screenings and shots you need, based on your age, health habits, risk factors, and family history. It’s a time to check in on how you’re doing, how you'd like to be doing, and what changes you can make to reach your health goals. In addition to talking with your doctor or nurse about your health, you may also get a physical exam and perhaps certain shots and medical tests. General health Get an annual well-woman visit Get my blood pressure checked Eat healthy Maintain a healthy weight Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days Quit smoking or don’t start Limit alcohol use Get a seasonal flu shot Ask what other shots I need Talk to my doctor about any domestic and interpersonal violence Reproductive and sexual health Choose the right birth control if I have sex Talk to my doctor about whether I plan to have children in the next year Talk to my doctor about when I need a Pap and HPV test Talk to my doctor about my risk for sexually transmitted infections and need for screening Get an HIV test at least once in my lifetime Diseases and conditions Talk to my doctor about getting my cholesterol checked if I have a family history of heart problems Get tested for diabetes if I have blood pressure higher than 135/80 Talk to my doctor about my family history of cancers Talk to my doctor about getting screened for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Talk to my doctor about stress, depression, and other mental health concerns
Steps Toward Better Health: In Your 40s
Do you know what you should be doing in your 40s to live a healthier life? Use this list! Pledge to follow one or all of the steps below. Then get the conversation started at your next checkup with this list. During your well-woman visit, you’ll discuss the steps you need to take, as well as the screenings and shots you need, based on your age, health habits, risk factors, and family history. It’s a time to check in on how you’re doing, how you'd like to be doing, and what changes you can make to reach your health goals. In addition to talking with your doctor or nurse about your health, you may also get a physical exam and perhaps certain shots and medical tests. General health Get an annual well-woman visit Get my blood pressure checked Eat healthy Maintain a healthy weight Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days Quit smoking or don’t start Limit alcohol use Get a seasonal flu shot Ask what other shots I need Talk to my doctor about any domestic and interpersonal violence Reproductive and sexual health Choose the right birth control if I have sex Talk to my doctor about whether I plan to have children in the next year Talk to my doctor about when I need a Pap and HPV test Talk to my doctor about whether I am having perimenopause symptoms Talk to my doctor about my risk for sexually transmitted infections and need for screening Get an HIV test at least once in my lifetime Diseases and conditions Talk to my doctor about getting my cholesterol checked if I have a family history of heart problems Get tested for diabetes if I have blood pressure higher than 135/80 Talk to my doctor about my family history of cancers Talk to my doctor about whether I should have a screening mammogram Talk to my doctor about getting screened for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Talk to my doctor about stress, depression, and other mental health concerns