Gynecology

Overview

Ellen Eanes Courson, MD, MBA, Danielle McFarland, MD, and Vanessa Baker, WHNP, RN-C provide personal gynecology services. Valdosta Women’s Health Center, PC is the only all-female practice in South Georgia.

Each encounter at Valdosta Women’s Health Center is performed by a board-certified physician or by board-certified Nurse-Practitioner. Vanessa Baker, WHNP, RN-C is double boarded as a Family Medicine Nurse Practitioner as well.

From your first visit to the gynecologist to visits for the more mature patient, Dr. Courson, Dr. McFarland, and Vanessa Baker, WHNP, RN-C are uniquely qualified to address your gynecological needs. Services include well-woman care, family planning, hysterectomy, and hysterectomy alternatives.

Dr. Courson, Dr. McFarland and Vanessa Baker, WHNP, RN-C are not only experienced gynecologists…they are wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters. Who could better understand and relate to your needs.

Services

Annual Exams – Every woman over eighteen who values her health should have an annual physical exam. Our annual exam procedure includes a review of your health history, a general physical exam, pelvic exam and Pap smear, breast exam, evaluation of other health screening tests depending on your age and state of health and a review of your current medications and immunization requirements.

Healthy Living – We offer advice and counseling to women on a variety of topics concerning how to maintain their health including diet, exercise, birth control and life planning.

Healthcare Screening – Screening tests, such as mammograms and Pap smears, can find diseases early when they are easier to treat. Some women need certain screening tests earlier, or more often, than others. We offer advice on which tests are right for you, when you should have them, and how often.

Surviving Menopause – Menopause can be a difficult and confusing time in a woman’s life. In order to smooth this transition we offer advice to our patients to give them the knowledge and strategies necessary to help them cope with this life changing event.

Managing Menses – We specialize in treating problems arising from the menstrual cycle such as excessive bleeding, frequent bleeding, missed menses, pain with menses, pms, mood swings, and breast tenderness. We offer advice for treatment including meditation, exercise, natural healing, medication, and surgery.

Pelvic Pain – The two major causes of chronic pelvic pain are endometriosis and the buildup of scar tissue after surgery, called adhesions. If left untreated, these conditions can often lead to much more serious health risks. We take seriously any patient who tells us she is suffering from this condition in order to provide as prompt and effective treatment as possible.

Contraception – We offer advice on all aspects of contraception in order to assist our patients in determining which method is right for them.

STD Screening – Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most common infectious diseases. The United States has the highest rates of STDs in the industrialized world with more than 13 million men and women infected each year. They affect men and woman of all types of social and economic background but nearly two-thirds of STD’s occur in teenagers and young adults under 25. They often represent a serious health risk to women and their babies. Therefore, we offer discrete, confidential screening for all types of STD’s including AIDS, Herpes, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia.

Gardasil HPV Vaccine – This vaccine is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists for females aged 9-26 years to prevent them from being infected by the genital human papillomavirus (HPV) which is a major risk factor for preinvasive and invasive cervical cancer.

Abnormal Pap Smears – An abnormal Pap smear could indicate the presence of an underlying condition that requires further diagnostic procedures and treatment. As specialists in women’s health we understand your concerns and are able to provide you with the advice and treatment necessary to resolve whatever medical problem that may be present.

Colposcopy – Colposcopy is a diagnostic tool to determine the cause of abnormalities found in Pap smears. A colposcopy is a visual examination of the cervix–a relatively simple and painless procedure, usually performed in our office. The actual procedure lasts approximately ten to fifteen minutes.

Ultrasound – Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, is a method of obtaining images from inside the human body through the use of high-frequency sound waves. It will allow us to look closely at the female organs and determine if there are any abnormalities which could explain such things as infertility.

Bone Density – Bone scans are measurements of the amount of bone in a particular site, usually the lower part of the spine, the hip, the forearm or the heel. The amount of bone measured by a scanner is often called the ‘bone density.’ We use these scans, together with other information, to assess the likelihood of fractures and whether any treatment is required.

Osteoporosis – Up to 20% of a woman’s lifetime bone loss may occur in the years immediately following menopause. Although you cannot feel it happening, this bone loss can lead to postmenopausal osteoporosis, a thinning of the bones that makes them weaker and more susceptible to fractures.

Ovarian Cysts – Many women have ovarian cysts without having any symptoms. Sometimes, though, a cyst will cause symptoms such as pressure, fullness, or pain in the abdomen, dull ache in the lower back and thighs, pain during sexual intercourse, weight gain and other health problems. If a cyst is diagnosed, we will work together with you to monitor its progress and determine the best course of treatment.

Fibroids – Uterine Fibroids are benign growths of the uterine muscle occurring in 30-40% of women. Most fibroids do not cause any problems and do not require treatment. Some fibroids however can cause heavy periods which can lead to anemia and debilitation. If the fibroids grow large they can lead to ‘compression syndrome’ in which adjacent organs such as the bladder and the bowel may be compressed, leading to frequency of urination or constipation and bloating. Compression syndrome may also cause backache and sciatica. We offer various forms of treatment when required for this condition.

Bleeding Problems – Abnormal vaginal bleeding can be an indication of the presence of another medical problem some serious and some not so serious. Regardless of the cause any woman who suffers from such bleeding should have an exam to determine the cause.

Breast Exams – In addition to self breast exams, clinical breast exams should be conducted on a regular basis by a qualified health care professional.

Surgery

Surgery

Minimally Invasive Surgery – We are able to perform surgery using the most advanced laparoscopic techniques. These techniques reduce pain, discomfort and recovery time.

Laparoscopy – A minimally invasive surgical technique used to diagnose and treat a range of abdominal or pelvic problems.

Hysterectomy – We perform this surgery using three different methods (vaginal/laparoscopic/abdominal) depending on the needs of the patient.

Hysteroscopy/Ablation – This minimally invasive surgical technique uses the hysteroscope (a small lighted telescopic instrument) to perform a variety of therapeutic procedures such as the removal of fibroids, polyps and the uterine lining.

Tubal Sterilization – Depending on the needs of the patient we are able to perform this permanent sterilization procedure using a variety of techniques including minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgery.

Endometriosis Excision – Excision (peeling off) the endometriosis using minimally invasive techniques is the most modern technique available and appears to offer the most effective way of dealing with this painful condition.

Lysis of adhesions – Adhesions are abnormal tissue attachments between internal organs, which can develop due to previous surgeries or diseases. Because they prevent the normal movement of the organs, adhesions can affect the functioning of the organs, causing chronic abdominal pain. Because diagnosis of adhesions can be difficult using standard gynecologic examination, CT scans or ultrasound we use a long, thin telescope called a laparoscope, inserted into the abdomen through a single small incision, to view the abdominal cavity and determine if adhesions are present.

Condyloma Excision – Condyloma are genital warts, sometime resembling cauliflower, that occur on or near the genitals and are caused by human papillomavirus. These can be treated nonsurgically or through removal (excision) by a scalpel or laser.

LEEP/LLETZ – Cervical LEEP is a procedure used to treat cervical dysplasia, a precancerous change in the skin on the cervix. Many patients with abnormal PAP smears have an underlying dysplasia. LEEP involves numbing of the cervix and then using a special wire loop to remove the abnormal area. The procedure itself is usually painless, although some mild cramping may occur afterward.

Cryotherapy – Another treatment we offer for cervical dysplasia is cryotherapy, or freezing. This procedure involves placing a probe against the cervix which cools it to sub-zero temperatures. The cells damaged by freezing are shed over the next month. The main advantages of freezing are that it is simple to do and easier for the patient.

D&C – This surgical procedure used to remove the lining (endometrium) and contents of the uterus. The D & C is most often used to diagnose and treat abnormal uterine bleeding. It is also used to treat incomplete spontaneous miscarriage. We normally perform this procedure in a hospital or day surgery setting.