Conditions We Treat
Whether a woman has severe cramps, heavy menstrual bleeding, painful intercourse or they are afraid to exercise for fear of bladder leakage; gynecologic conditions afflict women of all ages and limit their quality of life. Avista offers minimally invasive procedures for the following:
- Abnormal uterine bleeding
- Infertility – including uterine septum and non-patent fallopian tubes
- Uterine fibroids and polyps
- Uterine and ovarian cysts
Pelvic Pain Solution
Less-invasive hysterectomy means women can stop suffering, and recover faster
After suffering for years with fibroid tumors and the pain, bloating, and constant pelvic pressure those growing tumors caused, Donna Davis finally said “enough.”
A marathoner and professional fitness trainer, Davis says that for her, the turning point came when she could barely run anymore. The fibroids pushing on her bladder made her constantly feel she had to urinate. “It got so I had to plan every run around trips to the bathroom. I’d have to go (to the bathroom) every mile.”
Davis consulted with Karin Spears, MD, who told her, “You don’t have to live this way anymore.” Spears, an OB/GYN at Avista Adventist Hospital, recommended a minimally invasive hysterectomy.
Although her fibroids were so plentiful and big that she could feel them when she was lying down, Davis, 52, was hesitant to have a hysterectomy. Like many women, she feared the procedure would mean an automatic launch into menopause, and that it would keep her off her feet and out of her running shoes for months.
But Spears explained that the procedure now is far different from our grandmothers’ hysterectomies. “The perception is that hysterectomy is a very invasive surgery, and in the past it was. It’s a lot less invasive now.” Surgeons like Spears can now perform the procedure through a few tiny incisions (called laparoscopic) or through the vagina.
And, when only the uterus is removed, and not the ovaries, menopause isn’t a given, Spears says. “The uterus produces no hormones – the ovaries are where hormones come from and that’s what is responsible for menopause.”
As many as 50 percent of women get fibroids during their reproductive years; at age 60, that number shoots up to 80 percent. Many women who have the tumors -- which are almost always non-cancerous--have no symptoms. For others, like Davis, fibroids cause intense pain, and heavy bleeding, both during and between menstrual periods.
“They can get to be grapefruit size, or even bigger. And they cause the uterus to become much bigger than it’s supposed to be,” Spears says. “When that happens, it pushes on other organs, including the bladder and bowel, and can cause serious discomfort.”
Davis’ fibroids had caused her uterus to grow well beyond normal size, Spears says. A typical uterus weighs about 70 grams. Davis’ weighed 800 grams. Nevertheless, Spears was able to perform the procedure vaginally, rather than through traditional “open” surgery requiring a large incision across the abdomen. Performing the procedure vaginally reduced Davis’ pain and sped her recovery.
Davis went home the day after surgery. “I went back to work part time at three weeks – I’m literally on my feet all day -- and full time at six weeks. At eight weeks, I had a follow-up visit, and that’s when I started to run again.”
And because her ovaries remain intact, Davis has so far escaped hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. “It’s the best of both worlds. I’m not in menopause, but I’m not having periods.” And the pain and discomfort she endured for years is gone. “I feel good. I feel so much better.”