St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Women's health

    Women’s health refers to the branch of medicine that focuses on the treatment and diagnosis of diseases and conditions that affect a woman’s physical and emotional well-being.


    Women’s health includes a wide range of specialties and focus areas, such as:

    • Birth control, sexually transmitted infections, and gynecology
    • Breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other female cancers
    • Mammography
    • Menopause and hormone replacement therapy
    • Osteoporosis
    • Pregnancy and childbirth
    • Sexual health
    • Women and heart disease
    • Benign conditions affecting the function of the female reproductive organs


    Preventative care for women includes the following services:

    • Regular gynecological checkups, including a pelvic exam and breast exam
    • Pap smear
    • Bone density testing
    • Breast cancer screening
    • Discussions about colon cancer screening
    • Age-appropriate immunizations
    • Healthy lifestyle risk assessment
    • Hormonal testing for menopause

    See also: Breast self exam


    Breast care services include the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, which may involve:

    • Breast biopsy
    • Breast MRI scan
    • Breast ultrasound
    • Genetic testing and counseling for women with a family or personal history of breast cancer
    • Hormonal therapy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy
    • Mammography
    • Mastectomy and breast reconstruction

    The breast care services team may also diagnose and treat noncancerous conditions of the breast, including:

    • Benign breast lumps
    • Lymphedema, a condition in which excess fluid collects in tissue and causes swelling


    Your sexual health is an important part of your overall well-being. Women’s sexual health services may include:

    • Birth control (contraceptives)
    • Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sexually transmitted illnesses
    • Therapies to help with problems with sexual function


    Gynecology and reproductive health services may include the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions and diseases, including:

    • Abnormal Pap smears
    • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
    • Bacterial vaginosis
    • Endometriosis
    • Heavy menstrual cycles
    • Irregular menstrual cycles
    • Ovarian cysts
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease
    • Pelvic pain
    • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
    • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
    • Uterine fibroids
    • Uterine and vaginal prolapse
    • Vaginal yeast infection
    • Various conditions affecting the vulva and vagina


    Regular prenatal care is an important part of every pregnancy. Pregnancy and childbirth services includes:

    • Planning and preparing for pregnancy, including information about proper diet and prenatal vitamins
    • Prenatal care, delivery, and postpartum care
    • High-risk pregnancy care (maternal-fetal medicine)
    • Breastfeeding and nursing


    Infertility specialists are an important part of the women’s health services team. Infertility services may include:

    • Testing to determine the cause of infertility (a cause may not always be found)
    • Blood and imaging tests to monitor ovulation
    • Fertility treatments, including:
      • Medications to stimulate ovulation
      • Intrauterine insemination
      • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
      • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) – injection of a single sperm directly into an egg
      • Embryo cryopreservation - freezing embryos for use at a later date
      • Egg donation
      • Sperm banking
    • Counseling for couples who are dealing with infertility or loss of a baby


    The women’s health services team can also help diagnose and treat bladder-related conditions. Bladder-related conditions that may affect women can include:

    • Bladder emptying disorders
    • Urinary incontinence and overactive bladder
    • Interstitial cystitis
    • Prolapse of the bladder

    If you have a bladder condition, your women’s health specialist may recommend that you do Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor.


    • Cosmetic surgery and skin care, including skin cancer
    • Diet and nutrition services
    • Psychological care and counseling for women dealing with abuse or sexual assault
    • Sleep disorders services
    • Smoking cessation


    Members of the women’s health services team perform a variety of different treatments and procedures. Among the most common are:

    • Cesarean section (c-section)
    • Endometrial ablation
    • Endometrial biopsy
    • D&C
    • Hysterectomy
    • Hysteroscopy
    • Mastectomy and breast reconstruction
    • Pelvic laparoscopy
    • Procedures to treat precancerous changes of the cervix (LEEP, Cone biopsy)
    • Procedures to treat urinary incontinence
    • Tubal ligation and reversal of tubal sterilization
    • Uterine arteryembolization


    The women's health services team includes doctors and health care providers from a variety of different specialties. The team may include:

    • Obstetrician/gynecologist (ob/gyn): A doctor who has received extra training in the treatment of pregnancy, reproductive organ problems, and other women’s health issues
    • General surgeons specializing in breast care
    • Perinatologist: An ob/gyn who has received further training and specializes in the care of high-risk pregnancies
    • Radiologist: Doctors who received extra training and interpretation of different imaging as well as performing different procedures using imaging technology to treat disorders such as uterine fibroids
    • Physician assistant (PA)
    • Primary care doctor
    • Nurse practitioner (NP)
    • Nurse midwives

    This list may not be all-inclusive.


    Freund K. Approach to women's health. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 245.

    Schrager SB, Paladine HL, Cadwallader K. Gynecology. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 25.


          A Closer Look

            Self Care

            Tests for Women's health

              Review Date: 2/26/2012

              Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

              A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

              Back  |  Top
              About Us
              Contact Us
              Locations & Directions
              Quality Reports
              Annual Reports
              Honors & Awards
              Community Health Needs

              Brain & Spine
              Sleep Medicine
              Urgent Care
              Women's Services
              All Services
              Patients & Visitors
              Locations & Directions
              Find a Physician
              Tour St. Luke's
              Patient & Visitor Information
              Contact Us
              Payment Options
              Financial Assistance
              Send a Card
              Mammogram Appointments
              Health Tools
              My Personal Health
              Spirit of Women
              Health Information & Tools
              Clinical Trials
              Employer Programs -
              Passport to Wellness

              Classes & Events
              Classes & Events
              Spirit of Women
              Donate & Volunteer
              Giving Opportunities
              Physicians & Employees
              For Physicians
              Remote Access
              Medical Residency Information
              Pharmacy Residency Information
              Physician CPOE Training
              St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
              Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile