Feminine Wellness Quiz

TAKE THE FEMININE WELLNESS QUIZ:

After menopause, when estrogen levels decline, many women experience changes that can really affect their quality of life.  Symptoms include:

  • Painful intercourse
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Burning
  • Itching

MONALISA TOUCH™ TREATS THESE COMMON FEMALE SYMPTOMS WITHOUT HORMONES OR SURGERY!

MonaLisa Touch™ addresses these problems without hormones or surgery. Dr. Michele Couri is thrilled to be the first physician in the greater Peoria region to offer this state of the art technology here at the Couri Center. It is ideal for menopausal patients, post-menopausal patients, and breast cancer survivors who are often unable to receive conventional treatments for these debilitating symptoms.

HOW IT WORKS:

MonaLisa Touch™ delivers gentle laser energy to the vaginal wall tissue that stimulates a healing response by generating new collagen, elastin, and vascularization. A typical course of treatment is three procedures over 18 weeks.

  • Painless
  • In-office procedure
  • Requires no anesthesia
  • No downtime
  • Minimal side effects
  • Each treatment is <5 minutes
  • FDA-cleared for gynecologic use
  • Thousands of women have been treated worldwide since 2012

If you struggle with these common symptoms, we can help. Schedule your consultation today to see if Monalisa Touch Treatment is right for you.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The Issue

Even with the passage of time, many women still retain their youthful energy and enthusiasm, but post-menopausal changes can affect a woman’s quality of life in unexpected ways. Now, there is a gentle laser therapy that can help millions of women who are silently suffering.

What is the MonaLisa Touch™?

The MonaLisa Touch™ is a gentle laser therapy that delivers controlled energy to the vaginal wall tissue. It restores vaginal health by generating new collagen, elastin, and vascularization. The MonaLisa Touch™ was first available outside the US where thousands of patients have been treated worldwide.

Are there clinical trials on the MonaLisa Touch™?

Dr. Mickey Karram, Director of Fellowship Program on Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery at The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, OH, and Dr. Eric Sokol, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Stanford University Medical Center has completed a multisite study.

The trial assessed the use of CO2 fractional laser therapy on 30 women with vaginal health issues due to natural or induced menopause.   All patients in the trial received MonaLisa Touch™ laser therapy. Results were:

  • Overwhelmingly positive and immediate
  • Highly statistically significant improvement in symptoms after the first treatment
  • Escalation of progress with each subsequent treatment
  • *Women in the study either experienced natural menopause or induced menopause as the result of hysterectomy or drug-induced suppression of ovarian function (chemotherapy, radiations, and anticancer drugs such as Tamoxifen).

Dr. Stefano Salvatore*, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vita- Salute San Raffaele University completed a study to assess the feasibility of fractional C02 laser in the treatment of 50 women suffering changes in their gynecologic health.

84% showed significant improvement in their physical and mental quality of life scores over baseline and were satisfied with the treatment.
In addition to the multisite study, there are currently eight published studies with six ongoing studies.

Where can I have this done?

The MonaLisa Touch™ is an in-office procedure that Dr. Michele Couri can perform right here at the Couri Center for Gynecology and Integrative Women’s Health, in Peoria, IL. Dr. Couri is the first physician in Central Illinois to offer this treatment.

Does the procedure hurt?

The procedure is virtually painless and requires no anesthesia. Some patients may experience some discomfort when the probe inserted the first time, but the actual treatment is not painful. Many patients report that it feels like a gentle vibration.

How long does MonaLisa Touch™ take?

Patients receive three treatments, spaced six weeks apart, which each take less than five minutes to perform.

For which patients is this treatment appropriate?

The MonaLisa Touch™ is appropriate for any female suffering from issues from a decline in estrogen, as well as those who are experiencing symptoms as a result of a hysterectomy or breast cancer treatments, for any woman with vaginal atrophy due to physiological hormone changes, which become inevitable over time. In particular, MonaLisa Touch™ is the ideal treatment for those who are looking for a less invasive procedure, compared to traditional surgical or pharmaceutical treatments. Remember, no one can advise you better about MonaLisa Touch™ and what is best for you to achieve your best results than your doctor.

When will I see results?

Most patients feel improvement after the very first treatment, although the procedure calls for three sessions spaced over an 18-week period.

How long does MonaLisa Touch™ therapy last?

Patients should expect to come back annually for their maintenance treatment to ensure results last over the course of time.*

*Your doctor will determine if follow up treatments are required.

What are my limitations following the procedure?

Patients should refrain from sexual activity for 2-3 days. Your doctor will determine a post-procedure regimen that is right for you.

Is this MonaLisa Touch™ safe for women with breast cancer?

Yes, the MonaLisa Touch™ therapy is particularly well suited for patients who cannot, or prefer not to receive estrogen therapy.

How much will the procedure cost?

Patients should schedule a consultation or call 309.692.6838 for additional information.

Will insurance cover MonaLisa Touch™?

There is no processing code for this procedure.  We believe this is an investment in yourself and your quality of life.  We gladly accept CareCredit.

Are there any risks?

There are some minimal risks. MonaLisa Touch™ is an outpatient treatment. Most women report temporary side effects, slight redness or swelling, some discomfort that usually disappears in one or two days.

The MonaLisa Touch™ Laser system has been FDA-cleared as safe for gynecologic use; however, it has not explicitly been FDA-approved for treatment of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (vulvovaginal atrophy) or painful intercourse. MonaLisa Touch™ laser therapy is documented as an appropriate and efficacious treatment for vaginal symptoms due to menopause in the medical literature.

Monalisa Touch Laser Therapy for feminine wellness

MONALISA TOUCH™ TREATS THESE COMMON FEMALE SYMPTOMS

After menopause, when estrogen levels decline, many women experience changes that can really affect their quality of life.  Symptoms include:

  • Painful intercourse
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Burning
  • Itching

How does MonaLisa Touch™ work?

MonaLisa Touch™ delivers gentle laser energy to the vaginal wall tissue that stimulates a healing response by generating new collagen, elastin, and vascularization. A typical course of treatment is three procedures over 18 weeks.

  • Painless
  • In-office procedure
  • Requires no anesthesia
  • No downtime
  • Minimal side effects
  • Each treatment is <5 minutes
  • FDA-cleared for gynecologic use

SCHEDULE YOUR CONSULTATION TODAY TO SEE IF YOU ARE A CANDIDATE.

Continue reading

Vulvovaginal Atrophy: Early Treatment Improves Outcome By Dr. Kaleb Jacobs, DO

In a new study, published in March of 2019, researchers have concluded that treatment of vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA) in postmenopausal women should start sooner than later.

Common symptoms of VVA include vaginal dryness, vaginal pain inside, pain during intercourse and exercise, bleeding during intercourse or sexual contact or bothersome burning, itching, or irritation. Some women experience leaking of urine during this time (urinary incontinence) which can also be a symptom of vulvovaginal atrophy. All too often, these symptoms go left untreated either because women are not aware that treatment is available, or they may not realize the impact the symptoms can have long term. The loss of estrogen associated with menopause affects the vaginal tissue. Eventually, the tissue becomes dry and pale. Over time, the labia may become fused, and the vaginal opening can narrow. Intercourse or other forms of vaginal contact can become painful and distressing.  An essential part of the annual well-woman exam is for her gynecologist to inquire about sexual health and these symptoms in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. It is equally important for women to report these symptoms early to avoid distressing long term effects. By delaying treatment, the changes become less reversible and possibly irreversible, regardless of therapy.

This recent study noted a significant reduction in these long term impacts in women treated with traditional systemic estrogen therapy for hot flashes and night sweats. These symptoms, more commonly associated with menopause can begin well before the vaginal atrophy findings are noted. It is this early exposure to estrogen treatment which is thought to reduce the long term changes of vulvovaginal atrophy.

While a woman bothered by hot flashes and night sweats, along with vulvovaginal atrophy can find relief of all of her symptoms with systemic estrogen therapy, if VVA is her only concern, then local topical vaginal estrogen may be a better option. Not all women are candidates for estrogen therapy. MonaLisa Touch vaginal laser therapy is another option for treating VVA.  MonaLisa Touchis ideal for menopausal patients, post-menopausal patients, and breast cancer survivors who are often unable to receive conventional treatments for these debilitating symptoms.  A conversation with your gynecologist can help determine if you are a candidate and if you may benefit from treatment.

The takeaway is that the vaginal symptoms of menopause are common, can have long-lasting consequences if left untreated, and should not be viewed as a taboo topic. Treatment of vulvovaginal atrophy should be initiated at its early stages to prevent irreversible changes.

Best,

Dr. Kaleb Jacobs

 

MonaLisa Touch Testimonial

After menopause, when estrogen levels decline, many women experience changes that can really affect their quality of life. Symptoms include:

  • Painful intercourse
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Burning
  • Itching

MonaLisa Touch™ treats these common female symptoms without hormones or surgery!

MonaLisa Touch™ addresses these problems without hormones or surgery. Dr. Michele Couri is thrilled to be the first physician in the greater Peoria region to offer this state of the art technology here at the Couri Center. It is ideal for menopausal patients, post-menopausal patients, and breast cancer survivors who are often unable to receive conventional treatments for these debilitating symptoms.

How it works:

MonaLisa Touch™ delivers gentle laser energy to the vaginal wall tissue that stimulates a healing response by generating new collagen, elastin, and vascularization. A typical course of treatment is three procedures over 18 weeks.

  • Painless
  • In-office procedure
  • Requires no anesthesia
  • No downtime
  • Minimal side effects
  • Each treatment is <5 minutes
  • FDA-cleared for gynecologic use
  • Thousands of women have been treated worldwide since 2012

If you struggle with these common symptoms, we can help. Schedule your consultation today to see if Monalisa Touch Treatment is right for you.

Watch a video to learn more:

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Issue

Even with the passage of time, many women still retain their youthful energy and enthusiasm, but post-menopausal changes can affect a woman’s quality of life in unexpected ways. Now, there is a gentle laser therapy that can help millions of women who are silently suffering.

What is the MonaLisa Touch™?

The MonaLisa Touch™ is a gentle laser therapy that delivers controlled energy to the vaginal wall tissue. It restores vaginal health by generating new collagen, elastin, and vascularization. The MonaLisa Touch™ was first available outside the US where thousands of patients have been treated worldwide.

Are there clinical trials on the MonaLisa Touch™?

Dr. Mickey Karram, Director of Fellowship Program on Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery at The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, OH, and Dr. Eric Sokol, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Stanford University Medical Center has completed a multisite study.

The trial assessed the use of CO2 fractional laser therapy on 30 women with vaginal health issues due to natural or induced menopause.   All patients in the trial received MonaLisa Touch™ laser therapy. Results were:

  • Overwhelmingly positive and immediate
  • Highly statistically significant improvement in symptoms after the first treatment
  • Escalation of progress with each subsequent treatment
  • *Women in the study either experienced natural menopause or induced menopause as the result of hysterectomy or drug-induced suppression of ovarian function (chemotherapy, radiations, and anticancer drugs such as Tamoxifen).

Dr. Stefano Salvatore*, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vita- Salute San Raffaele University completed a study to assess the feasibility of fractional C02 laser in the treatment of 50 women suffering changes in their gynecologic health.

84% showed significant improvement in their physical and mental quality of life scores over baseline and were satisfied with the treatment.
In addition to the multisite study, there are currently eight published studies with six ongoing studies.

Where can I have this done?

The MonaLisa Touch™ is an in-office procedure that Dr. Michele Couri can perform right here at the Couri Center for Gynecology and Integrative Women’s Health, in Peoria, IL. Dr. Couri is the first physician in Central Illinois to offer this treatment.

Does the procedure hurt?

The procedure is virtually painless and requires no anesthesia. Some patients may experience some discomfort when the probe inserted the first time, but the actual treatment is not painful. Many patients report that it feels like a gentle vibration.

How long does MonaLisa Touch™ take?

Patients receive three treatments, spaced six weeks apart, which each take less than five minutes to perform.

For which patients is this treatment appropriate?

The MonaLisa Touch™ is appropriate for any female suffering from issues from a decline in estrogen, as well as those who are experiencing symptoms as a result of a hysterectomy or breast cancer treatments, for any woman with vaginal atrophy due to physiological hormone changes, which become inevitable over time. In particular, MonaLisa Touch™ is the ideal treatment for those who are looking for a less invasive procedure, compared to traditional surgical or pharmaceutical treatments. Remember, no one can advise you better about MonaLisa Touch™ and what is best for you to achieve your best results than your doctor.

When will I see results?

Most patients feel improvement after the very first treatment, although the procedure calls for three sessions spaced over an 18-week period.

How long does MonaLisa Touch™ therapy last?

Patients should expect to come back annually for their maintenance treatment to ensure results last over the course of time.*

*Your doctor will determine if follow up treatments are required.

What are my limitations following the procedure?

Patients should refrain from sexual activity for 2-3 days. Your doctor will determine a post-procedure regimen that is right for you.

Is this MonaLisa Touch™ safe for women with breast cancer?

Yes, the MonaLisa Touch™ therapy is particularly well suited for patients who cannot, or prefer not to receive estrogen therapy.

How much will the procedure cost?

Patients should schedule a consultation or call 309.692.6838 for additional information.

Will insurance cover MonaLisa Touch™?

There is no processing code for this procedure.  We believe this is an investment in yourself and your quality of life.  We gladly accept CareCredit.

Are there any risks?

There are some minimal risks. MonaLisa Touch™ is an outpatient treatment. Most women report temporary side effects, slight redness or swelling, some discomfort that usually disappears in one or two days.

The MonaLisa Touch™ Laser system has been FDA-cleared as safe for gynecologic use; however, it has not explicitly been FDA-approved for treatment of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (vulvovaginal atrophy) or painful intercourse. MonaLisa Touch™ laser therapy is documented as an appropriate and efficacious treatment for vaginal symptoms due to menopause in the medical literature.

Harmonie: customized hormone balancing

Do You Recognize the Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance?  Take the Quiz:

Anti-Aging at the Couri Center:

The proper balance of hormones is vital to a woman’s health. Recent studies show that women are experiencing menopause at much earlier ages. By age 40, most women are totally depleted of normal levels of estrogen and have lost nearly all their progesterone and more than half of their testosterone. While a normal part of aging, these changes can greatly affect the way we feel. Untreated, imbalanced hormones cause a variety of undesirable symptoms:

Symptoms of hormone imbalance:

  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Fatigue/Loss of energy
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased libido/Sex drive
  • Hot flashes/Night sweats
  • Hair loss
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Brain Fog/Loss of memory
  • Irritability
  • And more…

Meet harmonié: The Couri Center’s Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy treatment. If you suspect fluctuating hormones are causing undesirable changes in your body, it’s very easy to get your hormone levels checked.  Click below or call the Couri Center 309 692-6838.

Continue reading

Low Libido By Dr. Kaleb Jacobs, DO

Sexual problems are highly prevalent in women with an estimated 40% of women reporting concerns in one way or another. This can take many forms including a lack of sexual desire, impaired arousal, the inability to achieve orgasm, or pain with sex.  Depending on the primary concern, the diagnosis and treatment will vary.

A sexual “disorder” is persistent or recurrent and causes distress to you. It may have an impact on your relationship with your partner.  Issues concerning desire, arousal, orgasm or general decrease in sexual satisfaction can be related to other medical conditions.  For this reason, these concerns should be brought to the attention of your gynecologist so evaluation can be started and treatments discussed.

Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) or “female sexual interest/arousal disorder” is a condition which includes, among other symptoms, decreased interest in sexual activity. It may manifest in reduced initiation of sexual activity or being unreceptive to a partner’s attempts to initiate sexual activity.  Everyone’s level of interest in sexual activity is different and if this is not concerning or causing distress to you then it should not be considered a problem. If, however, you find this lack of interest distressing or find it impacts your relationship, then there are possible treatments available.

Non-medical therapies are available, and often these are sufficient depending on the root cause of the issue. These can include counseling or pelvic floor physical therapy.

Painful intercourse can be the cause of HSDD.  Rather, women avoid sexual activity out of fear of pain and discomfort than lack of interest. In menopause, we find that lack of estrogen leads to atrophy and thinning of vaginal tissue. We call this genitourinary syndrome of menopause. Treatments include local, topical hormones like estradiol or dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).  Ospemifene is an oral hormone “modulator” that has an effect on vaginal tissue and is specifically labeled for painful intercourse in women. A non-hormonal and non-drug option is also available.  Pulsed CO2 laser therapy like that which is delivered by the MonaLisa Touch™has shown promise in many observational studies.

HSDD that is not due to vaginal dryness and painful intercouse may be treated with an oral medication called flibanserin. This prescription medication is non-hormonal and has to be taken daily.  In studies, the medication has shown modest improvements in symptoms and on average only increased satisfying sexual events by one (1) each month.  In addition, the medication can cause low blood pressure and fainting. It is also advised that women not drink alcohol while taking this medication since it can make these side effects worse. Often, women do not wish to begin this treatment or continue it due to these side effects and the limited improvement in symptoms.

Low androgen levels in women may be responsible for low sexual desire and HSDD.  Testosterone levels in women begin to fall as women age, similar to the decline seen in men. While there are commercially available (FDA approved) products for men, there are none in the United States for women. As well, a women’s testosterone level is about 10% that of men, so using products formulated for men poses concerns for excessive dosing.  In Australia, a transdermal product (AndroFeme®) has been specifically formulated for women, but in the United States, off-label, compounded products are often used to improve the symptoms of HSDD.  Adverse effects of androgen therapy in women are rare but can occur, which is why a complete evaluation of your symptoms and medical history is necessary before treatments are initiated.

There are many other options available for women with symptoms of low libido, both prescription and nonprescription, pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic. If you have concerning symptoms, please call to schedule an appointment to review.

 

Best,

Dr. Kaleb Jacobs

 

 

Intermittent Fasting Explained By Leslie Rusch-Bayer, RD, LDN, CPT

 

Intermittent fasting (IM) is becoming more and more trendy, publicized and researched. This diet “pattern” boasts results like weight loss, longevity, clearer thinking and increased insulin sensitivity. I am going to spend my next two newsletter articles further explaining what intermittent fasting is, how it works and who might benefit from trying this type of lifestyle.

 

Fasting is nothing new. Fasting is documented and practiced by many different religious groups. Hippocrates even wrote, “To eat when you are sick, is to feed your illness”, and “instead of using medicine, better fast today.” If you dive deeper into the history of intermittent fasting, it is thought that during the times of hunters and gatherers, plentiful meals were not offered three to six times daily. In order to survive, food was used sparingly and when available. I can imagine there were many days when food was not found or available. Can we credit the weight gain and increased disease rate among humans over the last one hundred years to when we eat instead of what we eat? Interesting.

 

There are three varieties of intermittent fasting:

The 16/8 Method involves eating during an eight-hour window within a twenty four hour cycle. For instance, breakfast is skipped and eating takes place between the hours of 11am and 7 pm.

 

The Eat-Stop-Eat method involves fasting for twenty-four hours straight, one to two times weekly.

 

The 5:2 Method includes almost fasting for two non-consecutive days each week. During “fasting” days only 500-600 calories are consumed.

 

Keep in mind when not fasting, there are no restrictions to what can be consumed. Recommendations are to “eat sensibly.” All publications note that non-fasting days cannot be used to freely overeat. If non-fasting days are used to eat large quantities of high calorie, low nutrient foods, weight loss and metabolic benefits are lost. Some common sense has to be used when choosing what to eat, as well as the quality of food consumed. Indulging on a limited basis is just fine.

 

The science behind intermittent fasting is strongly related to stress and how the body adapts to stress. A journal article from the Canadian Medical Association Journal states recent intermittent fasting research is showing promising results in the “improvement of biomarkers of disease, reduction of oxidative stress and preservation of learning and memory functions.” Some studies are saying intermittent fasting may help decrease the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, prevent cancer, and even possibly prolong life.

 

One theory as to why these improvements are found revolves around stress. When the body is fasting, it is under mild stress and over time the body adapts and becomes accustomed to this stress. Because the body has become “stronger” due to this long term stress, it has a better ability to fight off the much more significant stress associated with disease. The article explains that the stress of intermittent fasting can be thought of as exercise. It is stressful to exercise, but when the body is given proper rest and recovery, it has the ability to adapt, heal and continue to progress. As with exercise, intermittent fasting should be slowly integrated into a lifestyle.

 

Weight loss and the maintenance of a low BMI are also associated with a decreased risk of cancer. Many different women struggle with weight loss. Because consumption is restricted, calorie intake would naturally be reduced. In a normal, healthy adult, this theory may be true: if calorie consumption in reduced, weight loss will occur. (If you are struggling with weight loss, please schedule a nutritional consultation to discuss your symptoms.)

 

Intermittent fasting, calorie restriction or “undernutrition without malnutrition”, has been one of the only ways research has found mice with cancer to prolong survival. As noted in the Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases 2010 journal article, if mice are given the option to eat unlimited amounts of food on non-fasting days, or overcompensate, benefits regarding survival and tumor growth were lost. Decreased energy intake is needed to achieve the full benefits of intermittent fasting.

 

Fasting challenges the brain. As the brain continues to be stressed, over time it builds up “strength” and is able to adapt to the stressors of disease. Mark Mattson, a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine believes that IM helps neural connections and reduces the build of amyloid plaques, which are proteins found in abundance in people with Alzheimer’s. When thinking of the natural progression of humans, we know that there were times of hunger. Food was not constantly available. It was necessary for the brain to function at its best, even during times of fast.

Intermittent fasting has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity because it allows glycogen stores to be depleted. Once all the glycogen has been used that is stored in the liver, the body starts producing ketone bodies, which are then used by neurons in the brain. Low insulin levels are also associated with longer life spans. It should also be recognized that exercise has the same positive effects on the brain and insulin levels as intermittent fasting.

 

Intermittent fasting is very complex and not recommended for everyone. Next month we will discuss who is a candidate for intermittent fasting as well as how intermittent fasting can be used incorrectly.

 

If you have questions regarding intermittent fasting or would like to learn how to integrate intermittent fasting into your current lifestyle, please call and schedule a nutritional consultation.

Leslie Rusch-Bayer

Why We Recommend an Annual Well-Woman Exam By Terry Polanin, MSN, APN, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner

“Is it true I no longer need an annual pap smear?” This is a very common question of many people, especially since the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology is not recommending an annual pap smear IF the patient has had NORMAL screening Pap smears in years past. We want our patients to know that the Couri Center does recommend the yearly well-woman visit and exam. Often people think that the “yearly gynecology or well-woman exam” is only about the Pap smear. It is not.

At the Couri Center, we have long believed in providing integrative women’s health care. It is the heart and soul of our practice. To accomplish this, we believe in addressing concerns involving the “whole person” which is far more than just the lab test called the “ Pap smear.” Certainly, we believe that the Pap smear is important and has saved many lives by detecting abnormal cells and HPV (human papillovirus), which can lead to cervical cancer. The incidence of cervical cancer in the United States has been greatly reduced since the development of pap smears in the l940s. So, we are still doing many pap smears for women, especially if they have had abnormal paps in the past. The frequency for women with “normal pap” results has been reduced from yearly to every 3-5 years depending on your age and circumstances. (See article by Dr. Kaleb Jacobs in the Couri Center newsletter). We, at the Couri Center, believe that you should have a yearly well-woman visit and then, if you fall into the guidelines of normal routine screening, we would recommend that your pap smear and HPV virus test (the virus believed to cause cancer of the cervix) be performed every 3 years, at the time of your annual exam. However, if you wish to have an annual Pap smear with the office visit, please inform us when scheduling. We suggest that you talk with your insurance provider to be sure they are covering the actual annual Pap smear. While most cover the yearly exam, some are following the ACOG guidelines for routine screening suggesting less frequent Pap smear testing.

So, what does the yearly “well-woman gynecology visit” include? The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has developed guidelines for these visits, depending on the woman’s age. (Well woman task force: Components of the well-woman visit. Obstet Gynecol 2015) Certainly, each visit will include a height, weight, body mass index (BMI to determine the risk for being overweight/obesity), blood pressure, thyroid, breast exam, abdominal exam, skin exam, and pelvic exam (pap smear as indicated). These are areas of the exam that help us to screen for health or medical problems such as hypertension, overweight issues, assistance with smoking cessation as needed, thyroid problems, breast lumps or problems, abnormal skin issues, and gynecological pelvic problems such as an enlarged uterus, ovaries, prolapsed (sagging) pelvic organs causing incontinence, and vulvar /vaginal skin problems. In addition to the physical exam, and depending on your age, we will discuss other areas pertinent to your health such as your lifestyle habits, home/work/family/self “balance”, exercise and eating habits to help assist with normal weight levels, hormone imbalances, and other areas that may be concerning you at the time of the visit.

Ten Reasons Why You Should Have an Annual Well-Woman Examination *

  • Birth Control: Learn about choosing the right birth control method for you, if you are in need of birth control.
  • Cancer Screening: Learn more about breast cancer, colon cancer, and other types of cancer.
  • Vaccinations: Talk with your provider about vaccines against the human papillomavirus (HPV), and other pertinent vaccines for prevention of diseases.
  • Health Screening: Discuss screening for high blood pressure, diabetes, bone density for osteoporosis and more.
  • Depression Screening: Depression is a common but serious illness. The yearly visit is a time to talk with your health care provider about any concerns you may have about depression, anxiety and situational stresses in your life.
  • Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening: Sexually transmitted infections (STI) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomonas, and genital herpes are infections spread by sexual contact, which can be screened during your pelvic exam at your visit.
  • Concerns about Sex: Discuss questions or concerns you may have about sexual intercourse, painful intercourse, or hormone changes that may alter your response to sex or interest.
  • Weight Control: Learn about ways to control your weight, prevent obesity, exercise, and prevent problems associated with being overweight. (Our dietitian, Leslie Bayer, coordinates our TLC™-Total Lifestyle Programs-at the Couri Center. Ask about a free consultation).
  • Issues With your Menstrual Period: Discuss PMS, painful periods, your first period, heavy bleeding or irregular periods.
  • Preconception Counseling: If you are planning a pregnancy, talking with your provider about ways to have a healthy pregnancy or plans for conception which will include healthy eating, exercise, avoiding cigarette smoking/alcohol/drugs, past pregnancies, and prenatal vitamins. (We, at the Couri Center, do not provide obstetrical care any longer but can refer you to others that do.) *ACOG 2015

Other Reasons: Get help with hormones, menopause issues, (our harmonié hormone pellet therapy) urinary incontinence, (our Emsella treatment) vaginal dryness, (our MonaLisa Touch™ laser for vaginal health), hair and skin issues (laser hair removal, free aesthetician consultations available), medical-grade skin products (NIA24® now available).

So, the next time someone says “you don’t need your yearly pap smear any longer”—you are now better equipped to explain to them the value of a yearly well woman exam and the pap smear routine screening guidelines and the many reasons that your annual visit is very important.

Have a happy, healthy summer!

 

Terry Polanin, MSN, APN, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner

Meet harmonié

 

Anti-Aging at the Couri Center:

The proper balance of hormones is vital to a woman’s health. Recent studies show that women are experiencing menopause at much earlier ages. By age 40, most women are totally depleted of normal levels of estrogen and have lost nearly all their progesterone and more than half of their testosterone. While a normal part of aging, these changes can greatly affect the way we feel. Untreated, imbalanced hormones cause a variety of undesirable symptoms:

Symptoms of hormone imbalance:

  • Anxiety/Depression
  • Fatigue/Loss of energy
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased libido/Sex drive
  • Hot flashes/Night sweats
  • Hair loss
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Brain Fog/Loss of memory
  • Irritability
  • And more…

If you suspect fluctuating hormones are causing undesirable changes in your body, it’s easy to get your hormone levels checked:  Call 309 692-6838.

Continue reading

The Integrative Consult: My Experience By Renee Alwan Percell PA-C, MMS

When I started working at the Couri Center I was still struggling to lose those final pounds I had gained from my last pregnancy. I also struggled with painful body aches and joint pain. I was considering going to a Rheumatologist to see if some kind of rheumatism or autoimmune issue was causing my pain.

During my training at the Couri Center, I learned the powerful role integrative health and food sensitivity testing play in our overall well-being. The Couri Center bundles many aspects of integrative health into a program called the TLC™ Integrative Consult. This program sparked my interest, especially since I was not feeling my best. I talked with Leslie, our Registered Dietitian, about my concerns. The first step of the Integrative Consultation involves uncovering the science behind what is going on within the body. This process includes and extensive panel of specialty blood tests, including hormone, inflammation, vitamin and food sensitivity testing, to name a few. To be honest, I wasn’t convinced the labs would provide much information because overall, I considered myself a healthy eater and person.

At my first appointment, we reviewed all my lab results. My food sensitivity testing was a complete shock! Food was my problem! I had suspected that dairy “did not agreed with me,” but other than that, I thought I was fine. It turns out that I have sensitivities to dairy, gluten, yeast and even almonds! Leslie spent one-on-one time with me to help me better understand my labs, what they meant and how I could improve them. She reviewed supplement recommendations that would help improve my labs as well as how to modify my current diet. With all of the personalized information, I felt ready to tackle my sensitivities.

Next, we discussed how a liver detox would help lay the foundation of my new lifestyle. After Leslie reviewed the simple instructions (I get to eat normal food the entire week!), I set a date to start. The first two days were tough, but doable. Once I was finished the seven days, I couldn’t believe how great I felt! I actually woke up in the morning without any aches or pain and I have more energy. I also noticed all my rings were loose on my fingers.

Based on our Registered Dietitian’s guidance, I slowly reintroduced the foods I removed. I quickly became aware of the foods I could have on occasion and the foods I needed to mostly avoid. As life would have it, I often get off track with my diet. Life as a working mother of three is busy and sometimes I just like to indulge in some cheese and bread! I find that I can follow my diet for several months and then inevitably a holiday or social party will throw off my plans. I don’t get down on myself when I fall off track. Instead, I use the guidance I received from my Integrative Consultation and use the Detox Program recommended by the Couri Center every 4 months (seasonally). I have even encouraged my husband to do the elimination diet with me. He agrees that he feels his best afterward. Now we do it together and like all things, it is much easier to be successful when you have a partner to help keep you on track. I easily lost my last few pounds of baby weight, and I have even had friends complete the program with amazing results!

If you are interested in learning more about your health and our TLC™ Integrative Consult, call 692-6838 and make an appointment with Leslie for a free consultation! With summer around the corner, get a jump start on your best YOU!

Be well,

Renee Alwan Percell PA-C