Helping women achieve total health through all stages of life.

Find Your Well

Get complete well-woman care from our U.S. News & World Report nationally ranked team (2018-19), with maintenance exams, screenings and counseling.

Timing Is Everything

Receive expert counseling about family planning and birth control, whether you’re trying to get pregnant now, avoiding pregnancy or planning for the future.

What If…?

Take comfort in access to expert care for abnormal Pap smears, irregular bleeding or complex conditions that require an office procedure or surgery.

Some of our common services:

Women should have yearly exams to prevent health problems from starting or to identify them early so they can be treated. With basic wellness exams and screenings, our women’s health team is dedicated to overseeing your health needs as a woman to enhance your everyday well-being. We recommend and provide the following preventive services:

  • Annual physical exams
  • Pap tests (pap smears) for cervical cancer screening
  • Breast exams
  • Cholesterol screening
  • HPV vaccination

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Our care includes a full range of family planning services, including a growing variety of birth control options, pre-pregnancy planning, infertility evaluations, treatment for miscarriage, termination of pregnancy and counseling.

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If you have gynecologic cancer, you’ll be in good hands with one of our gynecologic oncologists. Our cancer experts specialize in the assessment and treatment of cancers and pre-invasive disease in a woman’s reproductive system.

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Any cancer that begins in a woman's reproductive system is gynecologic cancer. The most common types are cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal and vulvar. Regardless of the type you have, you can count on our team of gynecologic cancer experts to find the best treatment approach for you.

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Each patient is different and needs a treatment program designed to treat their unique situation. Our multidisciplinary team of gynecologic cancer experts will develop a personalized treatment plan based on the type and stage of your cancer, as well as your genetics, life circumstances and other factors unique to you.

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Preparing for surgery

There are certain things you will need to do before surgery. These preparations depend on the type of surgery and the type of anesthesia you will receive. Your doctor or surgeon will discuss these preparations with you before the procedure.

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Surgery day

On the day of surgery, you will check in and be taken to the pre-surgical area. Afterward you will be taken into the operating room. You will be given an IV line for providing medications or general anesthesia, if necessary, and the anesthesiologist will review your medical history with you.

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After surgery

Many patients feel fatigued after surgery. Recovery takes time, so make sure to get plenty of rest and listen to your body. The type of surgery you had dictates the amount of time you’ll need to resume your normal activities. It’s important to follow post-operative instructions to aid your recovery.

We have the most advanced da Vinci robotic systems in the Puget Sound area. Compared to open abdominal surgery, the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery include:

  • Shorter operative time and hospital stay
  • Less bleeding
  • Less postoperative pain
  • Fewer wound complications, such as infection
  • Improved cosmetic results
  • Faster return to normal activities

Our UW Medicine providers are experts in gynecological health issues for women of all ages, including women needing midlife and menopausal care. We are trained to identify and treat the following health concerns:

  • Cysts
  • Fibroids
  • Inflammation
  • Urinary and vaginal infections
  • Heavy, irregular or painful periods
  • Severe PMS symptoms
  • Pelvic pain
  • Abnormal bleeding at any age
  • Hormonal issues
  • Urinary incontinence

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We offer the following in-office procedures:

This procedure removes tissue from the cervix to test for precancerous or cancerous cells. A cervical biopsy may be done when abnormalities are found during a pelvic exam, when abnormal cells are found during a Pap test or when a test is positive for human papillomavirus (HPV).

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During this procedure, a small tissue sample is taken from the uterus (endometrium) to look for abnormal cells. A uterine or endometrial biopsy is typically done when there is abnormal bleeding before or after menopause. The biopsy can show cell changes related to hormone levels or unusual tissue such as fibroids or polyps that can lead to abnormal bleeding.

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After an abnormal Pap smear result, a colposcopy is often performed to detect signs of disease. Performed in the clinic, this procedure allows close evaluation of the vagina and cervix to help determine whether any areas appear abnormal and should be biopsied for further study.

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Loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) is used to diagnose and treat abnormal or cancerous conditions in a woman’s lower genital tract, including the cervix and vagina. LEEP removes cells and tissue for testing, and the removal of abnormal cells allows for growth of healthy tissue. A LEEP may be done in the office or at the hospital, depending on your condition and your provider’s preferences.

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A visit to the gynecologist can be an opportunity to educate girls about puberty, female development, women’s health, reproductive health and sexuality. The Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Program, available only at UW Medicine and Seattle Children's, provides comprehensive evaluation and specialized treatment for gynecologic issues in infants, children and adolescents.

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Medical innovation and discovery improve patient care, advance scientific knowledge, and prevent and treat diseases. If you’re a gynecology or gynecologic cancer patient at UW Medicine, we invite you to participate in research and clinical trials, which may allow you access to new and promising therapies.

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Many kinds of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be successfully treated when diagnosed early. STDs are diagnosed through physical examination, blood tests or swabbed cultures. Some STDs can be cured with antibiotic, antifungal or antiviral medication. Others have no cure but may be managed with medication.

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Emotional support is an important part of your treatment. Support groups and community resources can help you and your loved ones through your treatment and recovery.

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Gynecologic surgery can be performed through several routes and methods, including vaginal, laparoscopy and robot-assisted, most with small or no incisions. Your physician will choose the one that is safest for you, depending on your gynecologic condition and overall health.

Many types of gynecologic surgery are minimally invasive and used to diagnose or treat a variety of conditions, such as abnormal uterine bleeding, endometriosis, pelvic pain, ovarian cysts and fibroids to name a few. Our providers will perform a thorough evaluation of your problem to determine your treatment needs.

A minimally invasive procedure that typically takes less than an hour and is done in an office or in the operating room. The hysteroscopy involves inserting a small, tube-enclosed camera into the uterus to view the uterine cavity and cervical canal. Thin instruments can be passed through the tube allowing the physician to diagnose and treat conditions of the uterus.

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A surgical approach in which a doctor inserts a thin, tube-enclosed camera through a series of small, thin incisions to view and manipulate a patient’s internal organs. Such an approach, when appropriate, typically is lower risk and offers a quicker recovery for the patient than a surgery with a larger, single incision.

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We have the most advanced da Vinci robotic systems in the Puget Sound area. Compared to open abdominal surgery, the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery include:

  • Shorter operative time and hospital stay
  • Less bleeding
  • Less postoperative pain
  • Fewer wound complications, such as infection
  • Improved cosmetic results
  • Faster return to normal activities

Learn more

Inform yourself to make the best choices for your health and care with UW Medicine patient education resources.

Get informed

At UW Medicine, you will find specialists in the field of complex gynecology who are available for initial consultations or second opinions for:

  • Dysplasia and HPV disease, including those requiring colposcopy (or LEEP)
  • Family planning for routine birth control and family planning services for medically complex patients
  • Gynecologic surgery consultation, including robotic and minimally invasive surgery
  • Pediatric and adolescent gynecology services
  • Vulvovaginitis

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Condition Spotlight

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Overview

Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is a group of physical and emotional symptoms many women may have in the days before their period starts. Symptoms usually stop once the period starts. It’s thought to be related to the changing hormone levels of the menstrual cycle.

Symptoms

Symptoms may be different for each woman, but the most common symptoms of PMS are irritability, mood swings, trouble sleeping, anxiety, bloating, constipation or diarrhea, backache or headache, tender breasts, forgetfulness and trouble concentrating, acne and food cravings.

Risk factors

Risk factors include a family history of PMS; age (PMS becomes more common as women age through their 30s); anxiety, depression or other mental health problems; lack of exercise; high stress; a diet low in vitamin B6, calcium or magnesium; and high caffeine intake.

Diagnosis

Aside from a complete medical history and physical and pelvic exam, there are very few additional tests. Your healthcare provider may ask that you keep a journal of your symptoms for several months to better assess the timing, severity, onset and duration of symptoms.

Treatment

Lifestyle changes and medications can sometimes help manage PMS. Medications include water pills (diuretics), aspirin and ibuprofen to reduce pain, birth control pills and antidepressants. Lifestyle changes include increased protein in the diet, decreased sugar and caffeine, vitamin supplements and regular exercise.

Complications

Complications from PMS can occur if it goes untreated, which can exacerbate the symptoms and make life difficult. The two most severe complications that can occur in relation to untreated PMS symptoms are anxiety and depression.

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