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Women's Health

With a history of excellence in women’s health care, HSHS Holy Family is prepared to address your women’s care needs

young black woman smiling and looking off into the distance

A HISTORY OF EXCELLENCE IN WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE

We are prepared to address every vital medical need a woman has, including prenatal support, breast cancer prevention and treatment, heart and vascular care, physical therapy, and more. Our team is devoted to the treatment and care of women and children. With a comprehensive line of obstetrical, pediatric, and cardiovascular care programs-among many others, HSHS Holy Family Hospital has spent years helping women manage and maintain their health in a variety of crucial ways.

Senior woman experience heart attack symptoms with husband looking on

Women and heart disease

While most women are aware of their risk for breast cancer, many don’t realize a larger threat is beating inside their chests - heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of American women, killing more women than all cancers combined. In fact, more women die of heart disease each year than men.

Signs and symptoms of heart attack

Heart attack symptoms in women do not present the same as they do in men - and they aren’t always obvious. For example, not all women experience chest pain or discomfort. Sometimes, the only symptoms present are shortness of breath, nausea, shoulder pain, weakness and fatigue. Many women may just experience a cold sweat and dizziness.

However, some of the more “classic” symptoms can be experienced by both men and women:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
  • Discomfort or pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
  • Lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea

Women can also experience these symptoms:

  • Unusual chest pain, stomach or abdominal pain
  • Vomiting or dizziness
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue
  • Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness

These variations in symptoms are why heart attacks can be difficult to diagnose in women. If you think you may be having a heart attack, don’t dismiss your instincts. Seek prompt medical attention!

Young woman consulting with female doctor

Gynecology services

Gynecology, which often overlaps with obstetrics, is the medical specialty that cares for the health of the female reproductive system. Our team provides comprehensive and compassionate care to women through all phases of their life. Whether you need an annual exam or have a more complex health concern, you can receive the care you are accustomed to receiving from HSHS St. Elizabeth's Hospital.

Gynecological Conditions Treated

We provide a full range of care from general health to the detection and treatment of more complex conditions of the female reproductive system, including: 

  • Infections 
  • Cancer 
  • Reproductive Health 
  • Breast Health 
  • Pelvic Pain 
  • Menopause 
  • Incontinence
Woman laying on diagnostic table for bone density test

Bone densitometry

Bone densitometry is most often used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that often affects women after menopause but may also be found in men. Osteoporosis involves a gradual loss of calcium, causing the bones to become thinner, more fragile and more likely to break.

Bone Densitometry is also effective in tracking the effects of treatment for osteoporosis and other conditions that cause bone loss. A Bone Densitometry test can also assess an individual’s risk for developing fractures. The scan is most often performed in the lower spine and hips. It is the established measuring standard for bone mineral density (BMD). In some adults and most children, the whole body is scanned. DEXA uses very low radiation amounts. 

Ask your primary care physician if you should consider having a Bone Densitometry test.

More about osteoporosis

  • Being female puts you at risk of developing osteoporosis and broken bones. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation here are important facts every woman should know:  
  • Of the estimated 10 million Americans with osteoporosis, about eight million or 80% are women. 
  • Approximately one in two women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. 
  • A woman’s risk of breaking a hip is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.

There are multiple reasons why women are more likely to get osteoporosis than men, including: 

  • Women tend to have smaller, thinner bones than men. 
  • Estrogen, a hormone in women that protects bones, decreases sharply when women reach menopause which can cause bone loss. This is why the chance of developing osteoporosis increases as women reach menopause.