Clinical Trials: Your Health Depends on It

January 9, 2019

Medical innovations, from cold medicine to chemotherapy, happen with the help of clinical trials. But how do trials get started? Who pays for the research? And does who participates make a difference?

Dr. Laurel Rice talks about why clinical trials are the gold standard for medical research, how researchers make trial participation as safe as possible, and why it's crucial that studies recruit diverse groups of patients. 

Dr. Rice is a gynecologic oncologist and chair of the UW-Madison Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 


Mind the Pleasure Gap

December 12, 2018

What matters to you when choosing a birth control? Effectiveness, ease of use, safety…what about how it affects your sex life? It’s not uncommon to remove sexuality from conversations about choosing contraceptives, even though people who feel their birth control method has a negative effect on their sexuality are more likely to discontinue the method.

Jenny Higgins, PhD, professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, discussed why birth control research that doesn’t consider pleasure and sexuality is bad science, and why she thinks there’s hope for closing the pleasure deficit.


Demystifying Menopause

November 28, 2018

Women will spend one third to half of their lives in menopause, a life stage with a bad reputation. But Dr. Makeba Williams likes to encourage patients to think of menopause as an opportunity to reset their health.

In this episode, she discusses how to recognize the beginnings of menopause – and with helpful symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, it can be hard to miss. She talks about menopause’s impact on the whole body, including bone density, muscle tone, and changes in sexual health. Dr. Williams also provides an important update on treatment options to help manage menopause symptoms.

Dr. Williams is a North American Menopause Society-certified menopause practitioner and the director of the UW Ob-Gyn Division of Academic Specialists in Obstetrics and Gynecology.


The Ins and Outs of Incisional Hernia Repair

November 21, 2018

In this bonus episode, UW Ob-Gyn minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon Dr. Cara King spoke with Dr. Jacob Greenberg from the UW Department of Surgery about incisional hernias, a complication that occurs in about 20 percent of patients who undergo major abdominal surgery. They discussed current best practices and specific choices they might make during a hernia repair surgery, how to help patients reduce their risk of incisional hernias, and improve their recovery after hernia repair. 

If you enjoy this episode's in-depth look at surgical techniques, you might also like the Surgery Sett, a podcast produced by the University of Wisconsin Department of Surgery. 


Mind Over Matter: Community-Based Incontinence Improvement

November 14, 2018

When Dr. Heidi Brown did her first urogynecology rotation during her residency training, she was struck by how much pelvic floor disorders like incontinence affected her patients' quality of life.

Since then, she has devoted her career to helping more women connect to simple, straightforward solutions that can improve or cure incontinence symptoms. In this episode, she discusses her community-based incontinence program Mind Over Matter: Healthy Bowels, Healthy Bladder -- and her plans to build an online program accessible for more women. 

To see if Mind Over Matter is available near you, visit

If you're in the Madison, Wisconsin area, learn more about managing pelvic floor disorders at a free community talk on November 28! Details available at


Protecting Your Pelvic Floor

October 24, 2018

Pelvic floor disorders are incredibly common. Nearly one in three women will talk to their healthcare provider about some kind of pelvic floor dysfunction, including incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. We're kicking off Bladder Health Month a little early with a conversation with Dr. Christine Heisler about why people might seek help from a doctor like her.

Dr. Heisler is a female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgeon. She discussed the causes of pelvic floor disorders and the wide variety of treatments available to patients experiencing incontinence or prolapse.

If you'd like to learn more about pelvic floor disorders, join Dr. Heisler and other UW Ob-Gyn providers for two Bladder Health Month community events! Learn more about how to Break Free from Incontinence and Pelvic Floor Disorders at


Adolescent Sexual Health 101

October 11, 2018

It's hard enough for adults to bring sexual and reproductive health questions to their doctors. Can you imagine trying to talk about those same concerns as a teenager? That’s why doctors like Paula Cody are so important. Dr. Cody is a pediatrician with UW Health, and a member of the UW-Madison Department of Pediatrics faculty. She specializes in adolescent medicine. In this episode of the Women’s Healthcast, we discussed how she helps set young people (and their adults) at ease while addressing their complicated sexual health questions.

For more great information on adolescent health, check out Dr. Cody's Writes of Passage blog!  


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

September 26, 2018

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome affects between 10 and 20 percent of reproductive-aged women, and it's the most common endocrine disorder in that group. But, according to Dr. Laura Cooney, it can be hard to identify and diagnose. Dr. Cooney is a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist in the UW Department of Ob-Gyn. She discussed the criteria for diagnosing PCOS, how it can affect fertility, and why she’s so passionate about helping PCOS patients.


The Surprising Origins of Ovarian Cancer

September 19, 2018

Our Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month conversation continues with a question: What if what we think of as ovarian cancer doesn't actually originate in the ovaries? Research suggests that in many cases, ovarian cancer may actually come from lesions on the fallopian tubes. So what does that mean for detection, prevention and treatment? 

Diane Yamada, MD, chief of gynecologic oncology at the University of Chicago, sat down with the Women's Healthcast after delivering a special lecture on how this knowledge changes our understanding of ovarian cancer and informs medical and surgical strategies for treating the disease. 


BRCA and Ovarian Cancer

September 12, 2018

September is Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, which seemed like a great opportunity to learn more about BRCA. When present, BRCA mutations can increase our risk of certain types of cancer, including breast and ovarian cancer. 

In this episode of the Women's Healthcast, Dr. Lisa Barroilhet talks about how BRCA mutations work, the risks and benefits of genetic testing, and what a positive BRCA test means for cancer treatment and prevention. Dr. Barroilhet is a gynecologic oncologist and ovarian cancer expert in the UW-Madison Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

If you’re in the Madison area and would like to support gynecologic cancer research happening at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, please join us on September 29 for our annual Sparkle of Hope Gala. Meet the researchers and providers working to improve gynecologic cancer care and celebrate with survivors and families. More information and tickets are available at