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


The Crisis in Rural Women’s Health

August 22, 2018

About one third of counties in Wisconsin don’t have a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist. Nationwide, it’s closer to half of all counties. And hospitals in rural communities across the country are closing labor and delivery units. This means longer travel times for prenatal care or delivery for pregnant patients. It also means basic, everyday obgyn services like contraceptive care or cancer screenings are harder to access. In this episode of the Women’s Healthcast, I talked to Dr. Ellen Hartenbach from the UW-Madison Department of Ob-Gyn to learn about the scale of this crisis in Wisconsin and beyond, and what our department is doing to help.  

We also learn what motivates someone to pursue rural practice and the special skills rural physicians need to take great care of their patients from Dr. Laura McDowell, UW Ob-Gyn resident and the first physician in the country to train on a rural obstetrics and gynecology track.


Dr. Al-Niaimi’s Five Rules for Faster Recovery

August 9, 2018

Dr. Ahmed Al-Niaimi is a gynecologic cancer surgeon in the UW-Madison Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He also leads the department's quality improvement efforts, with a special emphasis on improving post-surgical outcomes. In this episode of the Women's Healthcast, he discusses how he helps patients get ready for major surgeries, the most common post-surgical complications, and his Five Rules for Faster Post-Surgical Recovery.


Does Obesity Change Our Genes?

July 25, 2018

We know obesity can affect women’s health in several ways (see episode 7 – At the Intersection of Obesity and Women’s Health with Dr. Paola Gehrig). But can obesity in one generation create genetic changes that will carry through several generations? Dr. Kelle Moley of the Washington University in St. Louis Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology sat down with the Women’s Healthcast to discuss her research in mouse models that suggests obesity can change our mitochondrial DNA and become a transgenerational trait.

And stick around until the end of the episode for a bonus interview with Dr. Jonathan Kohler, pediatric general surgeon in the UW-Madison Department of Surgery and host of the Surgery Sett, a podcast about the ideas, inventions and innovations of the worldwide surgical community. Learn about why he wanted to to pull back the curtain on surgery with his podcast. 


All About Birth Control, Part 2

July 11, 2018

In All About Birth Control, Part 2, Dr. Eliza Bennett tells us about how long-acting reversible contraceptives (think IUD or implant) work and provides an overview of permanent birth control methods. She also answered questions from listeners about birth control and pregnancy - when to stop before pregnancy, when to start back up after birth, and how different methods affect breastfeeding.

Dr. Bennett is an ob-gyn and expert in Family Planning in the UW Department of Ob-Gyn. If you missed All About Birth Control, Part 1, check it out to learn about how contraceptives work and how Dr. Bennett helps patients think through the right birth control options for them, as well as an in-depth conversation about the pill. 


All About Birth Control, Part 1

June 27, 2018

More than 60 percent of reproductive-aged women use some kind of birth control. But there's a lot to consider when picking out the right method for you! 

Eliza Bennett is an ob-gyn and expert in family planning in the UW Department of Ob-Gyn. In part one of this two-episode series, Dr. Bennett discussed why people decide to use birth control, the basics of how hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptives work, how she helps patients choose the right methods for them, and answered *so many* detailed questions about The Pill.

Special thanks to the friends and listeners who shared their birth control questions for this episode! Stay tuned for Part 2, in which we discuss LARCs, permanent birth control, and how pregnancy and birth control mix.


Cultural Competence and Caring for Transgender Patients

June 13, 2018

Studies show that transgender and gender-nonconforming patients are highly likely to experience discrimination in a healthcare setting – up to 70%, according to one study from Lambda Legal. Dr. Cara King is trying to fix that.

Dr. King is developing a curriculum to develop cultural competence in medical students and residents training in the UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Comprehensive physician education, she says, is the first step in becoming skilled providers of care for transgender and gender-nonconforming patients.

Dr. King is a minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon in the UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is also a featured provider in the UW Health Gender Services Program.

Additional reading: World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care