Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Changes To Pap Smear Screening Guidelines


If you’re like most women who dread having to get a Pap smear done at your yearly wellness check, you’re in luck! Changes in the Pap smear screening guidelines now advise against annual Pap smears for the majority of women. We sat down with Dr. Valary Gass at Women’s Care of Wisconsin to discuss what guidelines have changed so you know what to expect at your next gynecologist visit.

First, Let’s Talk About What A Pap Smear Is


Even though Pap smears are no longer a yearly requirement, they’re still important! Pap smears are
used to screen for cervical cancer in women. The test itself is used to collect cells from your cervix
and it helps your gynecologist screen for changes in your cervical cells that indicate cancer may
develop in the future. Cervical cancer is a particularly aggressive disease, so catching it early on
through Pap smear screening is crucial!

How Often Do You Actually Need To Have A Pap Smear Done?

All of the recent changes to the Pap smear screening guidelines have caused a lot of confusion
about when women should be screened, but the real answer is that it depends on the age, health,
and family history of each woman.

“The new guidelines state that women should start screening at the age of 21,” Dr. Gass says,
but most women don’t need to be screened every year.

“Women over the age of 21 should have a Pap smear done every 3 years,” Dr. Gass explains.
“At age 30, women can continue getting a Pap smear every 3 years or they can choose to get a
Pap smear with HPV co-testing every 5 years.”


For women who cringe at the thought of getting their next Pap smear done, these new guidelines
are great, but it’s important to remember that your health and family history are also factors when
it comes to determining how often you should be screened.

If you have had an abnormal Pap smear in the past, have a history of cervical cancer, are HIV+,
have a weakened immune system, or if you were exposed to diethylstibestrol (a synthetic form of
estrogen) in utero, you may need to be screened more frequently.


Dr. Gass also points out that women should not stop screening unless advised by their doctor.


“If you have questions about when you should be screened, how often you should be screened or
when you should stop screening, please have a frank conversation with your doctor,” Dr. Gass
advises.  


Keep Seeing Your Gynecologist Annually -- Even If You Don’t Need A Pap Smear


Just because you get to skip your Pap smear this year doesn’t mean you should skip your annual
wellness check too! For many women, their gynecologist is the only doctor they see each year.
Your annual wellness check is an opportunity to go over more than just your cervical cells -- plus,
it’s covered by the Affordable Care Act! So do your body a favor and don’t skip your annual
appointment completely.


Schedule An Appointment

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our providers at Women’s Care, you can
call us at 920-729-7105 or click here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Breast Cancer Prevention


Did you know that 1 in 8 women will be affected by breast cancer during her lifetime? It might not be Breast Cancer Awareness Month anymore, but at Women’s Care we believe it’s important to keep the conversation going all year long. That’s why we sat down with Dr. Valary Gass to talk about the preventative steps we can all take to stay healthy.

Knowing The Symptoms:

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among American women, so it’s important to know the signs that can help with early detection. Some of the symptoms include:
  • Skin changes, such as swelling, redness, or other visible differences
  • An increase in size or change in shape of one or both breasts
  • General pain in or on any part of the breast
  • Changes in appearance in one or both nipples
  • Nipple discharge
  • Lumps or nodes felt on or inside of the breast(s)

Most women who have breast cancer will notice only one or two of these symptoms at first. While the presence of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have breast cancer, it should still be investigated by your healthcare provider.

When To Start Screening:

“Factors like your personal and family history can influence how early you start and how often you should be screened,” Dr. Gass explains. The American Cancer Society suggests that women ages 40-44 should have the choice to start annual mammograms.
“Have a conversation with your doctor during this time about when you should start screening,” Dr. Gass says.
Between the ages of 45-55, women should have annual mammograms. After the age of 55, women can choose to have a mammogram every other year or continue with annual mammograms.
“Have an open discussion with your physician about what screening strategy is right for you,” Dr. Gass says.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our providers at Women’s Care, you can call us at 920-729-7105 or click here:

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

So, What’s The Real Benefit Of Having A Midwife?



So, What’s The Real Benefit Of Having A Midwife?

For many women, having the same care provider that they saw during their entire pregnancy with them throughout their labor and delivery is very comforting.

“Especially for a natural birth, where you need that bedside support!” Becky says.

Midwifery care is often described as having a “high touch, low tech” approach to medical care. Midwives are experts in supporting women in normal, healthy childbirth and focus heavily on building relationships with women and their families by listening and providing information, guidance, and counseling in a shared decision-making process.

“One of the reasons I became a midwife was because I really enjoyed the relationships and bonds I was able to form with my patients,” says Kay. “To care for them throughout their pregnancy, to be there for the delivery, and then to see them for years to come and grow with them… it’s really special!”

“I have patients that I saw as teenagers that are now having babies,” Becky adds. “It’s just incredible!”




Scheduling Your First Appointment

If you’re interested in seeing one of our certified nurse midwives, you can schedule your first appointment by calling 920.729.7105 or by clicking here.

You can also learn more about each of our certified nurse midwives and healthcare providers here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Choosing The Right Health Insurance Plan



As the Health Insurance Marketplace transitions to plans with higher deductibles, patients are facing more financial responsibility than they ever have in the past. This makes understanding your plan options and benefits extremely important, so we sat down with Women’s Care’s Practice Administrator, Tasha Frahm, to learn more about what changes patients can expect and get her advice on how to choose the best plan.

Changes in the Health Insurance Marketplace

If you’re getting your insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace -- also known as Obamacare or the Insurance Exchange -- there are a few key changes to look out for this year.

“There are going to be a couple of really big players that are going to stop having programs on the Marketplace,” Tasha explains. Two of the largest insurance companies who will be leaving the Marketplace are Anthem and Molina.

For those of you living in our service area, that leaves Network Health Plan and Common Ground Health Cooperative.

“Women’s Care doesn’t currently have a contract with Network Health Plan, but we are actively pursuing a contract with Common Ground Health Cooperative,” Tasha says. “I feel very confident that we will be able to make that happen, so if patients see a Women’s Care provider and they want to continue to see a Women’s Care provider, Common Ground Health Cooperative is going to be their best bet.”

Health Insurance Changes for State Employees

If you’re a state employee, your plan options may be limited this year.

“State employees typically fall into the Employee Trust Fund,” Tasha explains. “Historically, they have had upwards of seven different insurance options. This year, it looks like they are going to scale back quite a bit.”

While statewide, Wisconsin employees may still have up to seven options, employees in our market will only have three insurance plans to choose from.

Those plans are Security Health Plan, WEA Trust, and Network Health Plan.

“If you’re a state employee who sees a Women’s Care provider or would like to see a Women’s Care provider, it’s important to remember that we don’t have a contract with Network Health Plan,” Tasha points out. “But we do have contracts with Security Health Plan and WEA Trust.”

Why the Sudden Health Insurance Changes?

While this is a drastic change compared to previous years, it’s not atypical to see a lot of change in the Marketplace within one year.

“Employers change year after year, and every year they change the health insurance plans they offer,” Tasha says. “It just so happens that the state of Wisconsin employee population is so large that when the state makes a change, it affects a lot more people than when another company makes a change.”

In other words, it may seem like state of Wisconsin employees are being affected the most by these changes because they are being affected on such a large scale.

What Should Women Consider When Choosing Their Plan?

  • Provider: If you are seeing a provider that you would like to continue seeing in the future, make sure that provider is covered by your new health insurance plan. If you are currently seeing a provider at Women’s Care, we suggest looking into Common Ground Health Cooperative, Security Health Plan, or WEA Trust.

  • Benefits: Make sure you really understand the benefits of the plan you’re considering, particularly preventative care benefits and the benefits that are important to you and your family. Pay attention to what you’re paying out of pocket, if there’s a limit to what you’re paying out of pocket, and what you’re responsible for.

  • Deductible: As we start seeing plans with higher deductibles, it’s extremely important for patients to understand what happens after their deductible is met. Is there more money you still have to pay? If so, how much and until what amount?

  • Fertility Treatment / Pregnancy: If you’re looking into fertility treatments or if you may become pregnant, we really encourage you to pay close attention to those specific benefits for each plan. Fertility is tricky because some insurance plans will cover a portion of it, while others won’t cover any of it. Choose the plan that’s right for you to avoid paying out of pocket later on.

  • Birth Control: If you have a preferred birth control method, figure out how it’s going to be covered by your new health insurance plan and understand exactly what your benefits will be for the next year. Our government is changing and insurance companies will follow suit in the near future, so this is a very important area for women to consider!


Choose What’s Right For You

With all of the health insurance changes taking place this year, it’s crucial to research your options and take the time to understand everything that’s available to you.

“Don’t be afraid to reach out to different health insurance companies and ask questions before you select your plan, and also afterwards,” Tasha encourages. “Understand what your coverage is so that you’re not surprised when you get your next medical bill. I hate to see patients that are surprised because they thought something was covered and it wasn’t. No one ever wants to be in that position.”

For state employees, enrollment has already started and will close on October 27th, so be sure to get your research done so you can choose your plan soon!

As for everyone else, open enrollment is scheduled to begin November 1st and end on December 15th. It’s important to note that this year’s enrollment period is shorter than it has been in the past. Originally, open enrollment was scheduled to run through January 31st. However, the DHS’ proposal to cut the duration of the enrollment period in half was approved, so be sure to enroll early!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Myth #5: Midwives Only Work With Women Who Are Pregnant.



Even though midwifery has evolved alongside today’s modern health care system, many myths surrounding this profession are based in common misunderstandings that are centuries old. At Women’s Care, we believe education is a powerful tool, so we’ve teamed up with two of our certified nurse midwives to set the record straight!

Becky Kahler and Kay Weina have nearly 30 years of combined experience as certified nurse midwives and are passionate about the work they do.

Over the next few months, Becky and Kay will help us break down different myths, so stay tuned as we address some of the most common questions surrounding midwifery!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Myth #4: If I Choose To Have A Midwife, I Am Putting My Baby At Risk If Something Goes Wrong.


Even though midwifery has evolved alongside today’s modern health care system, many myths surrounding this profession are based in common misunderstandings that are centuries old. At Women’s Care, we believe education is a powerful tool, so we’ve teamed up with two of our certified nurse midwives to set the record straight!

Becky Kahler and Kay Weina have nearly 30 years of combined experience as certified nurse midwives and are passionate about the work they do.


Over the next few months, Becky and Kay will help us break down different myths, so stay tuned as we address some of the most common questions surrounding midwifery!

Myth #4: If I Choose To Have A Midwife, I Am Putting My Baby At Risk If Something Goes Wrong.

If you’re considering working with a midwife, but worried about what would happen to your baby if something goes wrong, you can relax!  Certified nurse midwives partner with other members of the health care team through collaboration and referral to provide the best possible care.

“We have a wonderful group of very supportive physicians that are on call and available to us 24/7, so if you’re in the clinic and something comes up -- like high blood pressure or something out of the ordinary -- we have those physicians to consult with,” Becky reassures.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean your certified nurse midwife will transfer care, it could mean you will have a team of people working with you to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy rather than working with just one healthcare provider.

Certified nurse midwives are also available to assist physicians in the event of a c-section.

“Some of the patients that I see have had previous cesarean births and they want to have another cesarean. If they want to see me for their prenatal care, they can!” Becky says.

“However, there are some circumstances where your risk might be too great and we would transfer care -- like in the case of twin pregnancies,” Becky explains. “I can care for a twin pregnancy, however I prefer not to. I feel like that’s where the physician’s expertise really comes in handy.”

Stay Tuned

In our next blog post Becky and Kay will be answering questions about what midwives do and who their patients are, so be sure to check back soon!

If you’re interested in seeing one of our certified nurse midwives, you can schedule your first appointment by calling 920.729.7105 or by clicking here.

You can also learn more about each of our certified nurse midwives and healthcare providers here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Why Are More Women Choosing To Use Nitrous Oxide?



At Women's Care, we believe in providing our patients with options so we can develop a health plan that meets both their physical and emotional needs. That means having the most advanced techniques, which is why we're happy to offer patient-controlled nitrous oxide to assist with pain relief and anxiety during gynecological procedures.

"We have a lot of women who are now choosing to use nitrous just because of the ease and the availability," Tanya Henry, RN, explains. "Before when we didn't have it, just the simple procedure of an IUD placement or a biopsy for a patient who couldn't tolerate it meant we would have to use sedation of some sort."

When nitrous oxide is used for gynecologic procedures, the gas is inhaled through a mask for about 30 seconds before the procedure begins.

Unlike a sedative, the effects of nitrous oxide start to fade quickly as the gas is cleared from the body through the lungs.

"Nitrous oxide completely relaxes the patient enough without the complications that could arise in having to go to sleep," Tanya says. "It's much better than using a sedation option where the patient would be down and out for the rest of the day."

Within a few minutes after the nitrous oxide mask is pulled away, the gas leaves the patient's system, making it a great option for women who need to drive after their procedure.


If you would like more information about how to request nitrous oxide for your next procedure, please call our office at 920.729.7105.

You can also learn more about nitrous oxide on our website by clicking here.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Myth #3: If I Choose To Have A Midwife, My Birth Has To Be All Natural


Even though midwifery has evolved alongside today’s modern health care system, many myths surrounding this profession are based in common misunderstandings that are centuries old. At Women’s Care, we believe education is a powerful tool, so we’ve teamed up with two of our certified nurse midwives to set the record straight!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Breastfeeding In Public: What You Need To Know


Our very own Dr. Vandenberg shares a few of her favorite breastfeeding facts and lessons.

By: Dr. Maria Vandenberg, MD
Obstetrican/Gynecologist

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and there are hundreds of articles and blogs supporting breastfeeding moms circling about.  Here is another. 

First, I, of course, support breastfeeding moms, but I also support formula feeding moms as well. Breastfeeding is an amazing experience and great for babies when it works, but it saddens me when I see moms feel guilty or disappointed if they use formula. I mostly formula fed my first kiddos and they have turned into wonderful, intelligent, happy children. No guilt here. We all do what is best for each of our kids and we need to support and encourage each other.

How many of you are working moms who breastfeed? Well, I’m right there with you. It’s hard, but so worth it if you are successful. Below you will find a list of my favorite pumping and breastfeeding facts and lessons I have learned along the way.

Facts
  • Did you know it is a federal law that companies with over 50 employees are required to provide a location (other than a restroom) and sufficient time for expressing milk for one year after the child’s birth? Check this out: Department of Labor 
  • In Wisconsin, you can breastfeed (it is illegal for anyone to ask you to move or cover up) your child anywhere it is legal for you to be. So, don’t break into a Taco Bell to breastfeed; however, if they are open, you can feed your child. Here is more info: State Breastfeeding Laws 
  • Most health insurances will supply a breast pump for breastfeeding moms!


Lessons
  • You can pump anywhere. The airport at empty terminals (although certainly, a strange man will sit next to you when every other seat is available). Bathroom stalls. The car. Even during oral exams through school/training. Pump through the awkwardness, my friends.
  • Like other articles have pointed out, your pump does talk; hopefully it just has nice things to say.
  • The milk you bring home each night really is liquid gold, and only other moms can understand how it feels to lose, spill, forget that precious milk. In fact, my entire supply of frozen milk was thawed because of a faulty circuit this summer. I was sobbing.
  • Your older children may become very interested in breasts and attempt to breastfeed your newest addition. This is endearing, but can be embarrassing in public.


While being a working mother who breastfeeds certainly has its struggles it is also a very rewarding experience for not only myself, but for my little one as well. Remember ladies: you are not alone when it comes to breastfeeding—the staff here at Women’s Care of Wisconsin is here to help, support and encourage you through your breastfeeding journey! 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What Is Nitrous Oxide and How Does It Work?

Nitrous oxide, often called "laughing gas", has been a common practice to help cope with pain for many years. While it’s mainly used in dental offices, Women’s Care of Wisconsin is happy to offer you the option of patient-controlled nitrous oxide to assist with pain relief and anxiety during gynecological procedures.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Myth #2: Midwives Can Only Deliver Babies At Home

Even though midwifery has evolved alongside today’s modern health care system, many myths surrounding this profession are based in common misunderstandings that are centuries old. At Women’s Care, we believe education is a powerful tool, so we’ve teamed up with two of our certified nurse midwives to set the record straight!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Myth #1: Midwives Are Just Untrained Labor Coaches



Even though midwifery has evolved alongside today’s modern health care system, many myths surrounding this profession are based in common misunderstandings that are centuries old. At Women’s Care, we believe education is a powerful tool, so we’ve teamed up with two of our certified nurse midwives to set the record straight!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

3D Ultrasound: What’s It All About?


Whether you’re expecting your first child, adding a little brother or sister to the family, or just curious about advancements in medical technology, a lot of people have questions about 3D ultrasounds.

With the help of Women’s Cares’ ultrasound supervisor, Jackie, we’re here to answer some of the most common questions patients have surrounding 3D ultrasounds and learn a little bit more about why this technology is so beneficial for patients and doctors alike.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

What You Need To Know About Endometriosis



Are you doubling over in pain during your period? Do you have cramps you just can’t seem to shake throughout the month? For 1 in 10 women, these killer cramps are more than just your average visit from Aunt Flo, they’re a symptom of endometriosis. Although endometriosis affects 176 million women worldwide, many go undiagnosed. Here’s what you need to know about this painful disease and how to find out if endometriosis could be affecting you.