How Your Weight May Affect Your Risk of Breast Cancer By Dana Humes-Goff

We now have substantial evidence that overweight/obesity is strongly associated with breast cancer, and with poorer prognosis and increased mortality, especially in postmenopausal women. In fact, women over 50 who are obese have a 20% to 40% increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to normal-weight women.

A quick calculation based on U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that there are about 45 million women in the United States between the ages of 45 and 75 years, and it is estimated that 40% of them are obese. These findings are a strong motivator for two-thirds of American women to consider changing their lifestyles to reduce their risks.

It’s never too late to embrace a healthy lifestyle change. A recently published, large prospective study evaluated 180,000 women, 50 years of age and older, over the course of 18 years and found that even a modest weight loss was found to reduce breast cancer risk. An over-accumulation of fat cells raises breast cancer risk by increasing the body’s estrogen levels. Women who are overweight also tend to have higher levels of insulin, and higher insulin levels have also been linked to breast cancer.

A healthy diet and a consistent exercise routine can help reduce breast cancer risk by 20-80%. That’s huge! And, losing even a small amount of weight can make a difference in your risk—not to mention your overall health. Without a doubt, even losing a small amount can be a big challenge. That’s why the Couri Center has an integrated health care program to address this critical issue. Our providers and our registered dietitian offer a team approach to a healthy diet, nutrition, food sensitivities, and exercise; thus, combining conventional medicine with functional medicine to provide care specific to your individual needs.

To get started, call 309-692-6838 or email and let us assist you in reducing your risk.

January 2020: The Girlfriend’s Guide to an Integrative Lifestyle


Girlfriend's Guide to integrative health event 2019

Free January Event: The Girlfriend’s Guide to an Integrative Lifestyle

Girlfriend, are you ready for a change?

What IS an integrative lifestyle anyway?  Why is it so vital to weight loss and optimal health?

Join us for a casual, FREE Q & A interview with Dr. Couri & our team of providers!  Couri Center’s Registered Dietitian, Leslie Rusch-Bayer, and our Couri Center providers for an open discussion on how food sensitivities, hormones & our personalized lifestyle programs have helped women lose weight, reduce medications, & restore health!  We’ll give you all the tools you need to achieve your wellness goals! From in-depth labs to personalized nutrition & fitness, we’ll guide you to feeling great again!

Invite your girlfriends.  RSVP today!



Read Leslie Rusch-Bayer’s latest article: A Team approach to Weight Loss

Are You The One In Ten? By Dana Humes Goff, APRN, CNM, DNP

Did you know that it is estimated that 10% of women may be affected with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), but are undiagnosed? PCOS is a hormonal disorder common among women who have infrequent, absent, or prolonged menstrual periods; excess facial or body hair; and excessive weight gain.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. Early diagnosis and treatment, along with weight loss, may reduce the risk of long term complications related to PCOS, such a type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and infertility.

In addition to those mentioned above, other complications to PCOS include miscarriage or premature birth; liver inflammation caused by fat accumulation; metabolic syndrome; sleep apnea; abnormal uterine bleeding; endometrial cancer; and obesity.

To diagnose PCOS, your health care provider will analyze your blood to measure hormone levels, glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides, and insulin levels. A pelvic sonogram will also allow for evaluation of the uterine lining and ovaries.

Once diagnosed, treatment for PCOS includes lifestyle changes with a healthy diet and exercise since even a modest reduction of body weight can improve the condition. A dietary consultation with a registered dietitian can help your nutritional status and provide helpful strategies, as well as, suggest food sensitivity testing, which can help you achieve lifestyle goals.

Other treatment options include low dose birth control pills or cycling on a natural progesterone to achieve a hormone balance and regulate menses. If glucose or insulin levels indicate cell resistance to insulin, an oral medication such as metformin can help to avoid type 2 diabetes and help with weight loss.

Other medications such as spironolactone and Vaniqa can help with the effects of excessive androgen on facial hair growth. Laser hair removal and other procedures to remove unwanted facial and body hair are also options.

You can help to decrease the effects of PCOS by maintaining a healthy weight, limiting simple carbohydrates, which can increase your insulin levels, and being active.

So, if you or a loved one feel you may have symptoms of PCOS, please contact your health care provider or come and see us at the Couri Center so we can identify and develop an individualized plan of care for to live your best life.


Dana Goff



SUMMER 2019 Sale $50 OFF TLC™ Integrative Wellness Programs

Take advantage of our summer sale: $50 OFF all TLC™ Integrative Wellness Programs!  Sale ends August 30, 2019.

What is Total Lifestyle By Couri, TLC™

Science-based, TLC™ incorporates in-depth labs, nutrition, and exercise. TLC™ is based on traditional and integrative medicine principles.

Tailored just for you, TLC™ incorporates food sensitivity, hormone, metabolic and expanded lab profiles. Whether you need a boost to lose weight & improve eating habits or a comprehensive wellness program, we can help guide you.

In 2012, Dr. Couri, MD graduated from a 2-year Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona under the direction of the all-inspiring Dr. Andrew Weil. Inspired to share the integrative principles gleaned from her Integrative Fellowship, with her patients, Total Lifestyle By Couri was born.  The TLC™ program combines the power of Integrative Medicine with the foundation of traditional Western Medicine for an unsurpassed experience that you will benefit from for years to come.

Is TLC™ a one-size-fits-all program?

No.  TLC™ is completely personalized!  Choose from a 60-minute integrative consultation, TLC™ Core, a 12-week program or TLC™ Plus, a robust 15-week program.  Each is customized just for you.  Schedule your complimentary consultation for details and to review pricing options.

How do I get pricing and learn more?

The Origin of the Gynecological Speculum By Dana Humes Goff

For some women, the most dreaded aspect of the annual gynecological exam involves the speculum. A speculum, which can be either metal or plastic, is a device, which is placed into the vagina in order to visualize the vaginal walls and the cervix. While this procedure may be uncomfortable for some, it should not be painful, and it is a useful tool for assessing female anatomy.

Variations of the speculum can be dated back to 130 A.D., and early examples of the device have been discovered in archeological digs as far back as 79 A.D. amidst the ruins of Pompeii. The design of today’s speculum is primarily credited to a physician by the name of James Marion Sims, a gynecologist in the 19th century who performed numerous experiments on slave women, those of whom he purchased and kept as property in the back of his private hospital in Montgomery, Alabama.

One of the most common problems he encountered during his career was a condition known as a rectal or vaginal fistula, which can be caused by childbirth. A fistula is an opening that is formed between the bladder or rectum and the vagina. This tear can result in urine or stool collecting in the vagina, which can cause infections, pain, and incontinence. Repairing this type of tear required him to be able to look into and inspect the vaginal canal.

Dr. Sims was an imaginative man and utilized what he had at hand to draft a prototype of the first modern speculum: a gravy spoon. This allowed him better access to the vaginal tissues and he was able to perform the surgery necessary to repair the fistulas.

The introduction of the speculum by Dr. Sims, in the late 1800s, was very controversial and set off a vigorous debate within the medical community. The fear was that the use of a speculum might corrupt those women who were being examined and subsequently turn them into prostitutes or sex-crazed maniacs.

Thankfully, over the last 150 years, medicine has advanced, and the speculum design has improved and moved past the gravy spoon prototype, and gynecological exams have become routine. While there have been many attempts to improve upon the current speculum design, the basic design has remained unchanged.

So, for those women who avoid or fear gynecological exams due to perceived discomfort, I encourage you to discuss this with your provider. Often, the use of a smaller speculum, relaxation techniques, and gentle explanations with tips for making the exam easier can make your annual exam much more comfortable.

Update: Teen Girl’s First Gynecological Visit By Dana Humes Goff, APRN, CNM, DNP

One question I often get asked as a women’s health care provider is, “when should I bring my teenaged daughter in for her first gynecological visit?”

In the past, my answer was usually dependent upon many variables: if she’s having any problems; if her periods are regular; if she’s sexually active, and so on.

ACOG Updates Age for Teens First Gynecological Visit

But recently, The American College of Gynecology and Obstetricians (ACOG) published a Committee Opinion recommending a first gynecological visit should occur between the ages of 13 and 15 years of age to discuss healthy relationships in addition to general reproductive health.

This initial visit would provide opportunities for women’s health providers to educate teenage girls and their guardians about age-appropriate health issues, such as sexual relationships, dating violence, and sexual coercion. Between the ages of 13 years and 15 years is an ideal window because middle school is a time that some adolescents develop their first romantic and sexual relationships.

Why is this initial visit so crucial?

Establishing a non-judgmental, open relationship with a trusted clinician at this point in a young woman’s life can be instrumental in the development of their self-respect and self-confidence.  Knowledge is powerful, and encouraging teen girls to become better educated about their anatomy and reproductive health can empower them to have better control over their bodies, and avoid sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies.

The first gynecological visit doesn’t have to be feared. Often, the visit can be conversational and informational only: obtaining a full medical history and providing education about normal periods and puberty, intimacy, relationships, and what components make up a physical gynecological exam for future visits.

The importance of patient confidentiality is an essential factor to be stressed with young patients so they can feel confident that their clinician will protect their privacy regarding questions and personal issues, and that questions will be answered honestly and openly.

Building Relationships with Your Teen

The relationship that develops between women and their women’s health provider becomes more valuable over time.  Studies have found that a strong role model early in puberty can help to decrease a young patient’s participation in risky behaviors in the future.

I am especially fond of seeing young women for their first visit: allaying their fears and answering their questions.  Setting a positive tone at the initial visit establishes the foundation of trust that evolves as our professional relationship develops.

Personalized Teen Visits, only at the Couri Center

In 2019, The Couri Center will be introducing an exciting new program, TLC Teen, which will focus on the various issues that young women may face during their adolescence. We look forward to continuing to provide outstanding women’s health care to this next generation.


Happy 2019!

Dana Humes Goff






Contraception: Past, Present and Future By Dana Humes Goff

According to the CDC, 83% of all women of reproductive age (15-44) in the United States will use a contraceptive method at some point during their lives. Reliable contraception has allowed women to have considerable freedom; however, this has not always been the case. The following information will make you thankful for the abundance of options currently available in today’s market.

As far back as 1550 B.C., ancient writings noted that Egyptian women were directed to mix crocodile dung, honey, acacia leaves and wool to form a pessary, which was then placed against the cervix to prevent pregnancies. Ancient Greeks reportedly utilized a plant called Silphium, which was so successful in preventing pregnancy, it was harvested to extinction.   In Casanova’s memoirs, as documented in the 1700s, he resourcefully detailed the use of a lemon half as a makeshift cervical cap to attempt to prevent pregnancies.

Fish bladders, animal intestines, sea sponges, chastity belts and other substances were creatively used over the years as primitive contraceptive devices: Albeit, without much effectiveness, and certainly did little to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

In the 19th century, Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber which led to the manufacturing of rubber condoms.  The industrialized nation now had a new scientific method of pregnancy prevention.  Unfortunately, Congress, in 1873, passed an anti-obscenity law, which deemed birth control as obscene, and outlawed its use and distribution. This bill was known as The Comstock Law, and was the law of the land until 1938.  The Comstock Law was overturned in 1938; however, the Supreme Court didn’t legalize contraception use for married couples until 1965. Remarkably, the use of birth control by unmarried women remained illegal until 1972.

From the 1920s-1960s, Lysol disinfectant was commonly touted to housewives as  “feminine hygiene” and was used as contraception. Unfortunately, this was false advertising and not based on scientific fact, and as a result, women died, or suffered severe inflammation and burns.

The FDA approved the first oral contraceptive in 1965 and “the Pill” soon dominated the market with its convenience and effectiveness. The Depo Provera shot was introduced in the 1990s, and soon the Nuva Ring, Patch, IUD and implants followed a decade later.

The future promises to bring even more exciting options for both men and women within the realm of contraception.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that it is backing a Massachusetts biotech company that is developing an implantable contraceptive that can be activated and deactivated by the user by remote control, according to MIT Technology. A male method for a reversible vasectomy, as well as, a male oral contraceptive pill is also in development and available in the early 2020s.

Historically, both men and women have struggled to find available, imaginative means to prevent pregnancies over the years. Fortunately, science and biotechnology have creatively developed effective contraception for both sexes, and continues to do so.

Thankfully, and I think it goes without saying; we’ve come a long way from crocodile dung and fish bladders.


Dana Humes Goff





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SkinCeuticals philosophy centers on three main pillars: PREVENT. PROTECT. CORRECT.  These principles work synergistically to provide the healthiest skin possible, and optimal anti-aging results.

To customize your skin care regime, call 692-6838 to schedule your Free consultation with our Licensed Esthetician today!


MedPax: Custom Monthly Supplements

Dr. Michele Couri, FACOG, ABIHM has personally created several customized MedPax™ (individualized daily supplement dosing packs) based on the most common symptoms and conditions patients discuss with Couri Center providers.

Couri girl MedPax™ are available for:

  • Bone Health (Osteopenia and Osteoporosis)
  • Heart Health (elevated cholesterol)
  • Menopause Relief
  • PMS Management
  • Gut Health
  • Mood and Anxiety
  • Stress and Sleep Issues
  • Hair, Skin and Nails
  • Inflammation and Joint Pain
  • Diabetes
  • Athletic Performance

MedPax™ are able to be further customized to each patient’s individual supplement needs to maximize effectiveness and affordability. So, if you have a certain medical issue or constellation of symptoms (other than the ones listed above) that you want resolved, we can customize MedPax™ just for you.

How it works:

After reviewing your medical history and any pertinent lab work, we will make recommendations for appropriate supplements for you. After we meet with you, we will input our recommendations for your personalized MedPax™ securely online to Xymogen®. You will then receive your supplements shipped directly to your house.

MedPax™ Benefits:

  • MedPax™ is convenient. You can easily take your nutritional supplements on the go.
  • It takes the guesswork out of organizing and remembering if you took your supplements.
  • MedPax™ clearly tells you when to take your next dose.
  • You don’t have to ever worry about running out. Your MedPax™ can be automatically sent to you every 30 days.

If you would like to find out if Couri girl MedPax™ are right for you, email or call 692-6838 to set up an appointment to learn more. Or if you are tired of buying several different bottles and brands of supplements to achieve optimal results, switch to MedPax™ and let us make it easier and more effective for you to achieve your goal. And our Earth will thank you — less bottles in our beautiful oceans!


Bare Down There? By Dana Humes Goff, APN, CNM, DNP

As a women’s health care provider, one thing I have observed over the years is the ongoing disappearance of pubic hair. What once was a constant among women is now a rare occurrence, regardless of age. Over the last two decades, our society has gone from trimming the bikini line, to believing that the entire labia and pubic region must be bare to be clean. In fact, 95% of women admit to altering their pubic hair by trimming, shaving, or removing it completely. This, now, mainstream-grooming routine has made me question why we have pubic hair and what is its purpose?

There are many theories as to the purpose of pubic hair. One theory is that it helps in spreading pheromones. Research shows that our sweat glands secrete a smelly substance, which mixes with the bacteria and oil from the sebaceous gland. This results in a unique substance and scent known as pheromones. Pheromones can be trapped in the armpit hair and pubic hair of both women and men. The pheromone enhances sexual awareness and increased desire for sex.

Pubic hair can reduce friction when parts of the body rub together and offer a natural barrier to help keep things clean. Female pubic hair helps to decrease contact with viruses and bacteria to keep the tender skin around the genital area from being abraded. Offering protection is, therefore, one of the main purposes of pubic hair in the female reproductive system. Pubic hair also protects the reproductive system from bacterial pathogens such as streptococcus and viruses. Pubic hair controls moisture by wicking it up and away from the skin, and therefore, reduces the chances of skin breakdown. Pubic hair keeps the skin around the genital area moist and balanced.

In addition, at the end of each hair follicle is a nerve ending. These nerve endings are different from the other nerve endings whose purpose is maintaining pressure and temperature. When pubic hair is touched, a sensation is sent down the shaft of hair to the nerve ending. These feelings are registered in the brain as pleasurable.

So, if pubic hair has a purpose and is beneficial, why have so many jumped on the hair removal bandwagon? The January 2015 issue of The Journal of Sex noted that women reported stronger associations with feelings of cleanliness, comfort, sex appeal, and the social appeal of their peer group as reasons for removing pubic hair. The same article found that 60% of men reported preferring “hair free” partners and, in turn, were, therefore, more likely to trim and groom their own private areas.

Unfortunately, shaving and waxing can cause an infection in some of the small hair follicles around the vulva, which may create bumps and lumps called folliculitis. Folliculitis may present as a rash, better known as razor burn, or pus filled boils that are difficult to treat and very painful. Vulvar irritation is common after shaving or waxing. When skin irritation is combined with the warm environment of the genitals, it becomes a perfect breeding ground for some bacterial pathogens such as methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA) and other staph infections. Studies have also shown that shaving and waxing can increase the risk of contacting infections such as Herpes, HPV, and Syphilis.

If you do decide to shave, here are some tips to help reduce the risk of skin irritation:

  1. Soak hair follicles in a warm bath or shower to soften;
  2. Exfoliate the area with a salt or sugar scrub;
  3. Use a shaving foam or inexpensive hair conditioner;
  4. Use a new, sharp razor and shave in the direction of the hair growth;
  5. Moisturize the area after shaving and apply a thin film of Neosporin to reduce the skin bacteria.
  6. Apply a gentle deodorant to the shaved area to reduce perspiration and promote dryness.

If you’re interested in an alternative to shaving or waxing, consider laser hair removal at The Couri Center and free yourself from the constant need to shave and wax unwanted body hair.

During laser hair removal, energy is used to target and destroy hair follicles responsible for hair growth. The follicle absorbs the energy and is destroyed, unable to produce hair again. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, laser hair removal is the 3rd most performed non-surgical cosmetic treatments in the US. For more information, please schedule your free 15-minute consultation:  or call 692-6838.

So, my friends, while there are no known health benefits to removing hair from your lady region, removing pubic hair is the current popular trend. If you do decide to bare all, be sure it is your decision and please do it in a safe manner. If you have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, ask your health care provider if there are special reasons you should not shave or remove your pubic hair. And, finally, please contact your health care provider if you develop folliculitis or any other symptoms of infection.

Dana Humes Goff