Women's health services in Pensacola, Florida

West Florida Healthcare's gynecologists and other women's health specialists are dedicated to providing expert care to women throughout Pensacola. We offer a range of women's services at West Florida Hospital, including personalized maternity services, minimally invasive gynecologic surgeries and specialized heart care for women.

To learn more about our women's care services, please call Consult-A-Nurse® at (850) 494-3212.

Labor and delivery

We understand that you need comfort and privacy in your birth experience. That's why we offer a customizable labor and delivery experience, which involves:

  • 24/7 support and care
  • Childbirth classes
  • Family-centered visitation services
  • Private rooms
  • Specialized birth plans

For more information about delivering at West Florida Hospital, call (850) 494-4368.

Gynecology

Our gynecologists treat a variety of conditions affecting women's pelvic and reproductive health. Some of the conditions we treat include:

  • Cervical cancer: Cervical cancer occurs in the cells of the cervix and is often caused by various strains of human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Endometrial cancer: Also known as uterine cancer, endometrial cancer begins in the uterus and occurs more commonly in women after menopause.
  • Endometriosis: Also known as endometrial hyperplasia, endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, causing scarring, pain and heavy bleeding. It can often damage the fallopian tubes and ovaries in the process. Endometriosis can be treated with medications.
  • Excessive bleeding or menorrhagia: Excessive bleeding (also known as menorrhagia) can result from uterine fibroids. If you are experiencing abnormally heavy periods or prolonged periods, talk to your physician about being tested for menorrhagia.
  • Uterine fibroids: Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that occur in at least one quarter of all women. They can grow underneath the uterine lining, inside the uterine wall or outside the uterus. Many women don't feel any symptoms with uterine tumors or fibroids. A treatment option may include a uterine-preserving myomectomy (a surgical alternative to hysterectomy).
  • Uterine prolapse: Uterine prolapse occurs when the pelvic muscles and ligaments weaken and can no longer support the uterus. As a result, the uterus descends toward or into the vagina.

Treatment options for each condition will vary from patient to patient.

Minimally invasive gynecologic surgery

If medication and non-invasive procedures are unable to relieve your symptoms, surgery may be an effective option.

Traditional gynecologic surgery uses a large incision. At West Florida Healthcare, our goal is to provide more minimally invasive options so patients can get optimal care with the quickest recovery possible.

That's why when it comes to complex hysterectomies and other gynecologic procedures, we recommend robot-assisted surgery when possible. Through tiny, 1-2 centimeter incisions, surgeons can operate with greater precision and control using the robotic system.

Compared to traditional open gynecologic surgery, robot-assisted procedures can offer the following benefits:

  • A faster return to normal daily activities
  • A shorter hospital stay
  • Fewer complications
  • Less blood loss
  • Less scarring
  • Opportunity for future pregnancy
  • Significantly less pain

As with any surgery, these benefits cannot be guaranteed, as surgery is unique to each patient and procedure. While these robot-assisted surgeries are considered safe and effective, this approach may not be appropriate for every patient. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.

Hysterectomy

Physicians perform hysterectomies to treat a wide variety of uterine conditions. Each year in the U.S. alone, doctors perform approximately 600,000 hysterectomies, making it the second most common surgical procedure.

Symptoms, such as chronic pain and bleeding, often lead doctors to recommend a hysterectomy as the preferred treatment choice. A hysterectomy and follow-up treatment are required in more life-threatening conditions, such as cancer or uncontrollable bleeding in the uterus.

While a hysterectomy is relatively safe, always ask your doctor about all treatment options.

Types of hysterectomy

There are various types of hysterectomies that are performed depending on the patient's diagnosis:

  • Radical hysterectomy or modified radical hysterectomy: A more extensive surgery for gynecologic cancer that includes removing the uterus and cervix and may also remove part of the vagina, fallopian tubes, ovaries and lymph nodes in order to stage the cancer (determine how far it has spread)
  • Supracervical hysterectomy: Removes the uterus, leaves cervix intact
  • Total hysterectomy: Removes the uterus and cervix

Approaches to hysterectomy

While we consider the robotic hysterectomy to be the top treatment choice, it may not be for everyone. We want to ensure each patient has options, so we offer several different hysterectomy approaches.

  • Open approach: An open hysterectomy requires a 6-12 inch abdominal incision. When cancer is involved, the conventional treatment is open surgery, so surgeons can visualize the area of interest and surrounding structures. If necessary, surgeons remove related structures, like the cervix or the ovaries.
  • Laparoscopic hysterectomy: In laparoscopic hysterectomy, the uterus is removed either vaginally or through small incisions made in the abdomen. A miniature camera is inserted into the abdomen through the small incisions, so the surgeon can have a better view of the surgical site on a video monitor.
  • Robotic hysterectomy: A robot-assisted hysterectomy combines the advantages of conventional open and minimally invasive hysterectomies but with far fewer drawbacks. It is becoming the treatment of choice for many surgeons worldwide.
  • Single-site hysterectomy with robotic surgery: The single-site approach takes the robot-assisted hysterectomy a little further by reducing the number of incisions from four to just one. With just one, 1-inch incision that is hidden in the navel, there is no visible scar.
  • Vaginal hysterectomy: A vaginal hysterectomy involves removing the uterus through the vagina, without external incisions or subsequent scarring. Surgeons most often use this minimally invasive approach if the patient's condition is benign (non-cancerous), when the uterus is its normal size and when the condition is limited to the uterus.

Robot-assisted myomectomy

The robot-assisted myomectomy combines the best of open and laparoscopic surgery. The assistance of a minimally invasive robot-assisted surgical system is the latest evolution in robotic technology. Surgeons can remove uterine fibroids through small incisions with unmatched precision and control.

Sacrocolpopexy

More than 120,000 women have surgery for uterine and vaginal vault prolapse each year in the U.S. Prolapse (or falling) of any pelvic floor organs (vagina, uterus, bladder or rectum) occurs when the connective tissues or muscles in the body cavity are weak and cannot hold the pelvis in its natural position. Sacrocolpopexy is a procedure to surgically correct vaginal vault prolapse, where mesh is used to hold the vagina in the correct anatomical position.

The weakening of connective tissues accelerates with age, weight gain, strenuous physical labor and after child birth. Women with pelvic organ prolapse typically have problems with urinary incontinence, vaginal ulceration, sexual dysfunction and/or having a bowel movement.

Approaches to sacrocolpopexy

Some approach options to a sacrocolpopexy include:

  • Open surgery: Sacrocolpopexy has traditionally been performed as an open surgery. A 15-30 centimeter horizontal incision is made in the lower abdomen to manually access the inter-abdominal organs, including the uterus.
  • Robot-assisted sacrocolpopexy: If your doctor recommends sacrocolpopexy, you may be a candidate for robot-assisted sacrocolpopexy. This procedure uses a state-of-the-art surgical system designed to help your surgeon perform a minimally invasive surgery through small incisions.

Osteoporosis care

Osteoporosis is characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue, which results in weak bones that are prone to fractures. This disease affects more than 28 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women.

West Florida Rehabilitation Institute offers a comprehensive program for the prevention and management of osteoporosis. A referral from a Florida licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician's assistant is required for admission into the program.

Heart disease program for women

Most women are not aware of the warning signs and personal risk factors for cardiovascular disease that are unique to women. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women today. Although one in four women will die of heart disease, most are unaware of their risks until it's too late.

That's why our women's services and cardiology services unite to present HerHeart, a program designed to fight heart disease in women. Through HerHeart, West Florida Healthcare offers vital education, screenings and links to healthcare resources.

Our mission is to inspire women to become more involved in their heart health and give them the tools and guidance they need to accomplish their goals.

Female risk factors for heart disease

If two or more of the following risk factors apply to you, schedule a screening with a HerHeart cardiologist today.

  • Women with high triglycerides
  • Women 55 years old or older, or past menopause
  • Women who exercise less than 30 minutes a day
  • Women with high cholesterol, high LDL or low HDL
  • Women who are more than 20 pounds overweight
  • Women who currently smoke or who smoked for more than 20 years
  • Women with a family history of cardiac, stroke or circulation problems
  • Women who had gestational diabetes or a baby weighing over 9 pounds
  • Women with diabetes or women who need medication to control blood sugar
  • Women with a history of high blood pressure or blood pressure problems during pregnancy
To learn more about the HerHeart program or to find out about our next HerHeart seminar or free screening, please call (850) 494-3212.

Heart disease prevention

You may or may not be experiencing symptoms related to cardiovascular disease right now. Keep in mind, there is no way of knowing if you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure without being tested.

Whether it's about prevention or recovery, HerHeart empowers women to fight for their personal heart health.

Below are steps you can take now to improve your heart health:

  • Control your weight.
  • Contact your doctor immediately if you have any symptoms.
  • Eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fish.
  • Exercise at least six times a week for 30 minutes.
  • Have a full lipid evaluation and discuss the results with your doctor.
  • If you have diabetes, manage it with proper lifestyle and/or medications.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • Improve your diet by eating and cooking with less fat.
  • Know the signs of heart disease.
  • Reduce stress and make your health a priority.
  • Schedule a checkup if you have any of the risk factors.

For more information about healthy living and staying active, visit our Health to You (H2U) program page.