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You may have seen the slogan on a bumper sticker or a poster stating “Don’t Take Your Organs to Heaven, Heaven Knows We Need Them Here”.  Every day, 22 people die because they are unable to receive a life-saving transplant in time.  Every day, over 2,000 children and 100,000 adults continue to wait for the life-saving transplant they require.  And every 10 minutes, another child or adult is added to that ever-growing list.   April is National Donate Life Month and there is no greater time to be the heroine that someone needs and to commit to registering as an organ donor at RegisterMe.Org.

One donor can save up to 8 lives, restore vision to 2 people and heal more than 75 through organ and tissue donation.  However, you are allowed to dictate which organs and tissue that you wish to donate.  You are still able to have an open casket funeral and your family does not incur the costs associated with organ donation.  Every major religion approves of organ donation.

As a former Emergency Department nurse, I am unfortunately all too familiar with the pain and suffering that families and patients go through while waiting on a transplant match.  I am also familiar with some of the myths surrounding organ donation – the most common being that if a patient was an organ donor, we would not work as hard to save them.  I can personally attest to the fact that we have no idea whether or not our patients are organ donors unless one of their family members tells us of their donor status to ensure that their loved one’s wishes were met.  It is so important to tell your friends and family that you are a donor so that this selfless gift can be honored in times of crisis.

Here in Philadelphia, we are fortunate enough to benefit from the professionalism and experience of the Gift of Life Donor Program. Time is of the essence in those fraught moments where difficult decisions need to be made but I have personally witnessed the compassion with which Gift of Life transplant coordinators have guided and empowered family members respecting the final wishes of their loved ones.

Organ Donation is a way to leave a lasting and meaningful legacy.  It is a beautiful thing to know that your gift will provide another person the gift of health.  It is a comfort to those left behind to know that a part of their loved one is still living through another.  And it is an excellent time to register today so that you can be the heroine someone in the future will need.  In honor of National Donate Life Month, visit RegisterMe.Org to register as an Organ Donor or visit donors1.org for more information from the Gift of Life Donor Program.



Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is a health problem that affects approximately 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. Women with PCOS have a hormone imbalance and metabolism problems that may affect their overall health. The syndrome is characterized clinically by oligomenorrhea (fewer than nine menstrual cycles in a year), hyperandrogenism (acne, hirsutism, male-pattern hair loss and/or elevated serum androgen levels, or “male hormones”), as well as the frequent presence of other associated risk factors for cardiovascular disease (obesity, fatty liver, glucose intolerance, etc).

The Polycystic Ovary Syndrome diagnosis is a condition that our whole RWWC team can help stabilize…
  • Our providers are able to prescribe medications commonly used to treat PCOS and its symptoms. A great example is hormonal birth control to regulate the menstrual cycle, improve acne and reduce the risk of endometrial cancer.
  • Our Registered Dietitian can assist with diet management.
  • In more complex cases, our GYN specialist Dr. Shanis will craft an individualized treatments plan according to symptoms, other health issues, and if the patient is considering pregnancy.
  • Our Medical Spa can address acne and unwanted facial hair.
  • Our psychologists are available for emotional support.
  • We have a variety of fitness partners that offer our members discounts. They can assist with weight reduction to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and irregular cycles.

The diagnosis of PCOS is suspected when a women presents with irregular menstrual cycles and symptoms of hyperandrogenism, like acne, hirsutism, or male-pattern hair loss. The presence of overweight or obesity should further raise suspicion. There is no single test to diagnose PCOS but your Health Care Provider will talk to you about your medical history and do a physical exam, and order different tests. The physical exam may show signs of hyperandrogenism, like acne, extra hair on your face, chest or back or skin discoloration, called acanthosis nigricans. A pelvic exam may also be completed at this time. Blood tests can check your androgen hormone levels, as well as checking for irregular thyroid levels, a common issue that also affect menstrual cycles. Since PCOS is thought to be related to insulin resistance, glucose levels will also be ordered. A pelvic ultrasound is ordered to assess for cysts and to check the lining of the uterus. Women with polycystic ovaries seen on ultrasound and no other clinical features of PCOS do not have the syndrome and do not need further evaluation.

Studies have found that PCOS may be associated with other health problems, like diabetes. More than half of women diagnosed with PCOS will have diabetes or prediabetes. These women are also at a greater risk for high blood pressure, higher cholesterol levels and sleep apnea. Medications commonly used to treat PCOS and its symptoms, include hormonal birth control to regulate the menstrual cycle, improve acne and reduce the risk of endometrial cancer. Anti-androgen medications block the effects of the male hormones and can help reduce body hair, acne, and hair loss. Metformin is often used to treat Type 2 Diabetes and may help some women with PCOS. Diet and exercise helps with weight reduction to treat the high blood pressure, high cholesterol, irregular cycles and to improve insulin resistance. Treatment is individualized to each women according to symptoms, other health issues, and whether she wants to become pregnant.

 


26/Mar/2019

Botox is the most commonly performed cosmetic procedure worldwide and has an incredible safety record for prevention and treatment of wrinkles! I’m sure Botox is one of those things you assumed you would start to doing only once you absolutely needed it. However, it should be something on your radar during your 20’s and 30’s. Doctors say the number of young people who are doing preventive Botox (or as I like to call it, Baby Botox) is growing.

I am a big supporter of Baby Botox. Treating women in their mid to late 20’s and 30’s to stop wrinkles before they ever start makes the aging process slow down dramatically. I believe the best time to start Baby Botox is when you start to develop the earliest sign of resting wrinkles.

Initially, wrinkles will start to show up when you’re making facial expressions, but go away at rest. Unfortunately, over time these wrinkles will start to make permanent marks even when you’re not making a particular facial expression. Slowing down the use of these muscles with Botox early in adult life will prevent the lines from developing. Personally, I’ve been treating myself with Botox for the past 5 years (I’m 31 now) and I get told all the time, “I don’t know why you do Botox! You don’t have any wrinkles.” My response always is, “Exactly. I don’t have any wrinkles, because I’ve never allowed myself to have wrinkles!”

Botox will only get you so far with slowing the aging process down; therefore I recommend a good skin care regimen that includes a Retinol and an SPF that you reapply throughout the day. Last but not least, you can take advantage of the skin care treatments that our DermaCenter offers that stimulate collagen regrowth! After all, we start to lose about 1-2.5% of volume in our face every year starting at a young age.



What is the ThermiVa®?

ThermiVa® is a non-surgical, safe and effective procedure that uses radiofrequency heat to tighten loose, sagging skin and increase blood flow and nerve sensitivity in the vaginal area.

What are the benefits of the ThermiVa®?

  • Vaginal and labial laxity
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Urinary incontinence and overactive bladder
  • Painful sex

How is it performed?
During the procedure, a small wand is slowly moved over the areas of concern, gradually heating the tissue.  The procedure takes less than an hour, during which most women report feeling only a warm sensation and no pain.  There is no down time once completed, women can return to exercise and sexual activity immediately.

What is the O-Shot®?
The O-Shot® is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that can help improve a woman’s sexual desire and orgasm, decrease urinary incontinence and treat a chronic skin condition called lichen sclerosus.   Up to half of women experience low sexual desire and many others experience issues with arousal, lubrication and orgasm.  The O-Shot® uses platelet-rich plasma (PRP) that contains growth factors from the woman’s own blood, and is injected into the clitoris and vaginal wall.  This increases the blood flow, nerve sensitivity and collagen formation in the area, leading to improved sexual function.

What are the benefits of the O-Shot®?
This injection can increase a woman’s sexual desire and arousal, as well as improve the number or quality of her orgasms.  In addition, this procedure can help with

  • Leaking urine
  • Painful sex
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decrease symptoms and long-term consequences of lichen sclerosus

How is it performed?

Blood is drawn from the patient and then using a special double-spin process the red blood cells are removed, leaving the plasma which is full of growth factors.  Numbing cream is then placed onto the areas that will be injected, and a lidocaine injection is performed to ensure there is minimal to no discomfort during the procedure.  The PRP is then injected into the clitoris and vaginal wall.  The procedure takes less than an hour.

If you would like to learn more about these procedures, schedule a consultation with one of our Women’s Health providers.



In celebration of National Condom Week (4/14-4/21), a reminder about the importance of safe sex is due.   Last year, the CDC reported that rates of Syphilis, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea in the U.S. had all increased for the fourth straight year.  Forty-five per cent of the new Chlamydia cases were found in young women—a particularly alarming statistic, as this infection can lead to infertility if unrecognized/untreated.  Genital herpes is estimated to have a prevalence of 1 in 6 Americans, with women far outnumbering men in new cases.  And the HPV virus, as we all know, can lead to cervical dysphasia and even cancer in infected women.   All of this points to the importance of awareness and preventive measures in limiting the spread of various sexually-transmitted infections.   First of all—know your/your partner’s risks. Higher-risk populations for contracting STIs include men who have sex with men (MSM), those with new or multiple sexual partners, those who live in an area of high STI prevalence, and those who exchange sex for drugs or money.   Second—consider preventive measures you/your partner can take before you become sexually active.  The HPV vaccine series has proven very effective in reducing infections with the viral strains that the vaccine is designed to prevent.   Hepatitis B infection can also be prevented though vaccination.  Individuals with genital herpes can reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus to their partners by taking a daily suppressive medication.  And certain high-risk individuals can take pre-exposure antiretroviral prophylactic (PREP) medication regularly to ward off acquiring HIV from an infected partner.  If you do decide to become sexually active, using condoms consistently and getting tested regularly are paramount.  Condoms are not 100% effective at preventing STIs, so the importance of regular screening cannot be underestimated—be safe!



Certainly, if you have a cold or the flu, I would not recommend exercising.  Patients ask all the time, “can I still exercise, even though I am sick?”  Keep in mind, most infections are viral, and part of treating a viral infection includes rest.  Even if you have a bacterial infection, it is best to rest, because no matter what is causing the infection, you are always dehydrated and exercise is going to make this worse which makes your recovery harder.

Asthma is caused by your body reacting to outside elements or allergens.  Extreme weather is never good for exercising, but if you keep a few things in mind you may be able to exercise without causing an asthma flare.

In the winter the air is colder and drier typically.  When you are breathing in this heavier air you may notice that your lungs burn. Normally there is a small layer of mucus in your lungs that keeps things in check, but if you are breathing in the cold dry air, that small layer of moisture evaporates and in turn you experience that burning feeling.  Breathing in the cold dry air takes more of an effort for your body and it can trigger a histamine reaction, which is similar to what happens when your lungs are exposed to allergens.  The histamine reaction will cause your body to produce more mucus which in turn makes your airways smaller and makes it harder to move air. Increased mucus can also make you to be more susceptible to getting infections.

Keeping all of this in mind, it is recommended that you try to breathe through your nose as much as possible and try to make the air that you are taking in more moist by either wearing a mask or breathing through a scarf.  Breathing through your nose also helps your body combat infections, because you have little hairs in your nasal area that will kick out microbes to keep you healthy.  Make sure you are well hydrated at all times which also helps to keeps the germs to a minimum.  It is also helpful to use your rescue inhaler 15-30 minutes before you exercise.

Additional things to keep your asthma stable during the winter would include getting a flu shot, avoiding sick contacts if possible, washing your hands often, vacuuming/dusting frequently and washings sheets and blankets in hot water once a week. Asthmatics are more prone to asthma attacks when they get sick, so taking precautions to not get sick go a long way.  I am also a big proponent of 500 mg of Vitamin C in the winter to help avoid getting sick.  But remember, if you do get sick, give your body the rest it needs to recover quickly and avoid exercise.


06/Feb/2019

Rittenhouse Obstetrics and Gynecology is an exciting new option for obstetrical care in Philadelphia, the only one that offers primary care and obstetrics together. Our program was thoughtfully created from the ground up to offer women an alternative to large university practices.

We offer a unique experience, with longer appointment times, allowing a focus on educating and empowering our patients throughout their pregnancy. From the first intake visit, we provide our patients a resource packet from trusted sources to limit the need for searching online and possibly finding false or harmful information. Our providers incorporate complimentary, evidence-based options to improve the experience, such as using jelly beans for gestational diabetes screening rather than the sugar drink that so many women dread. We also are knowledgeable about support services, such as doulas, an underutilized but valuable resource for women during labor and the postpartum period.

Women in pregnancy often experience non-pregnancy related problems that would be best addressed by a primary care doctor. We are the only obstetrical practice that has primary care doctors that work actively with our obstetrical team and feel comfortable addressing these concerns in a pregnant woman. The combination of providers allows for the most comprehensive and convenient medical care, all under the same roof.

Our practice is also unique in that all our providers and staff are female, which creates a safe, comforting atmosphere. Our providers are very experienced and most have children or are in the process of building their families, allowing us to relate to the challenges of pregnancy for a modern woman. We also have a strong focus on keeping up with current research and recommendations, and have weekly meetings to discuss best practices.

We chose to partner with Jefferson Health given their long-standing history of safe outcomes, including one of the lowest c-section rates in Philadelphia. Jefferson is on the forefront of research related to labor and delivery, and we trust their providers. Together, we have worked hard to coordinate genetics screening and transfers of care, to allow patients to take advantage of their specialists and smoothly transition to their program for delivery.

Our team is so excited that we get to continue to care for our patients during pregnancy and are working hard to give our patients the best experience we can.


03/Jan/2019

The thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland that sits at the base of your throat. Don’t be fooled by its diminutive size. The thyroid is actually the general that directs the function of many parts of your body, as well as your major organs.  The thyroid produces thyroid hormone, which it makes all on its own from the iodine consumed in your diet. Directions on when and how much hormone to release comes from the commander in chief: the pituitary gland. Making sure that your thyroid is able to produce the hormone and distribute it to your cells properly is more important than most people think.

Sometimes an illness, medications, damage to your thyroid, or even age can change the function of your thyroid. That’s why your doctor usually includes thyroid testing in your annual blood work. If you have too little hormone and it is not being sent out to your cells, it is called HYPOthyroidism. When this happens, everything slows down. You may feel tired, depressed, cold or even start to gain weight even though you have not changed your diet or exercise routine. It is not unusual for menopausal women to require thyroid medication to boost production and distribution of thyroid hormone. Synthroid (levothyroxine) is a safe medication with very few side effects that women can take daily with little concern.

When your thyroid is not producing enough hormone, it gets signals that it is under- producing and starts to work harder. Sometimes this can result in an enlarged gland that is called a goiter. This is much less common than it used to be because so many foods are iodine-enriched, making sure that a normal diet is adequate to provide needed amounts of iodine to produce thyroid hormone. Even so, it is very important to have your levels checked every year to prevent the stress on the thyroid. If you see or feel a bump near your thyroid, see your doctor for an evaluation.

The other side of the coin is HYPERthyroidism. This is when your thyroid is turbo-charged and produces way more hormone than you need. You may feel anxious, with a racing heart, have trouble sleeping and lose more weight than you’d like. The autoimmune disorder, Grave’s disease, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. With Graves, your own antibodies see the thyroid as foreign and attack it. This causes the thyroid to overproduce hormone. There are a number of medications that can help to slow things down. There are also treatments and finally, surgical removal of the thyroid. Only your doctor can tell you which is best for you.



Happy 2019!  As we run, walk, or maybe even crawl into the New Year, we often begin with a desire, if not a definitive plan to make lifestyle improvements.  Once and for all, we’re going to tackle that cluttered home, lose those extra pounds, or find the career where we’ll truly find fulfillment.  Despite our good intentions, we may quickly find ourselves overwhelmed and frustrated as we set lofty and often unrealistic goals.  Without a thorough assessment of our needs, wants, and resources, we can often fail to achieve our intended lifestyle improvements.  The New Year offers an excellent opportunity for a fresh start and a reexamination of our goals and choices.  As we begin 2019, I encourage you to look at your life with a critical eye and decide what you need to, want to, and are willing to try to work to improve.  Here are 19 suggestions for 2019 that can help.  Through these, you can improve your chances of lifestyle balance, goal achievement and of living the life you want and deserve.

1) Spend some time alone.  Get to know yourself without the influence of others.  You might find you like your own company.

2) Learn and practice Mindfulness.  Work on being in the present rather than allowing yourself to dwell in the past or anticipate the future.

3) Set boundaries with others, be they family, friends or coworkers.  Do not accept disrespect.

4) Allow others to help you.  They’ll feel good and you may get some much needed relief.

5) Get up and move!  Take the stairs, go for a brisk walk, do some jumping jacks, practice yoga, ride your bike.  Find a way to move your body.  Simply moving briskly 20 minutes each day can help decrease anxiety, depression and relieve stress.

6) Don’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t accomplish everything you planned each day.  No one does.  Work on small, realistic, attainable daily goals.  Small achievements reinforce us, leading us to want to strive for more.

7) Help someone else.  You’ll feel good and they may get some much needed relief.

8) Surround yourself with supportive and loving people.  Make good choices about with whom you choose to share your world.

9) Work on clearing away physical clutter.  You’ll be amazed at how this can lead to increased productivity and decreased anxiety.

10) Decide what changes will make you the happiest in the coming year.  Prioritize those.

11) Give yourself a time out.  When you feel overwhelmed, take 10 minutes alone to regroup.  Close your eyes and breathe.

12) Stop comparing your life, body, career, children, house, relationship, etc., to others.  You are a unique individual and deserve to be treated as such.

13) Look for opportunities to enhance parts of your life you never considered.  Read more.  Learn an instrument.  Take a break from social media.  Volunteer.

14) Share your intentions to improve your life with someone.  You’re more likely to achieve goals when you tell someone else.

15) Take risks but don’t be careless.

16) Let go of regret and grudges.  These simply expend energy unnecessarily and increase stress.

17) Have high expectations of others, both personally and professionally.

18) Be honest about your present circumstances.  If you’re feeling anxious and depressed, seek help.

19) Finally, as the great Maya Angelou said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.”  Let’s all seek to do the same in the New Year.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2019!



We all know that winter time can be joyful and cozy. However, this time of year can also be accompanied by frequent illnesses, extra stress, and overindulgences. To protect yourself this holiday season, we recommend the following:

1)  Wash your hands!!! Yes, it seems obvious, but it’s all too easy to forget. This simple action, when done right, can protect you against many respiratory and diarrheal infections. Wet your hands under running water, lather up with soap, and scrub your hands (including the backs, under nails, and between your fingers) for at least 20 seconds, or for the length of time that it takes you to hum/sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Wash your hands before and after you handle food, before eating, before and after you care for a sick individual, after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, after blowing your nose/coughing/sneezing, after touching garbage, and after handling pets/pet food/pet waste. If you are interested in the science behind handwashing, please check out the CDC’s website here: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-handwashing.html

2)  Get your flu shot. The science behind the flu shot is robust. Getting your yearly vaccination can help avoid flu-related hospitalizations, illnesses, and transmitting the flu to others who are unable to obtain the vaccine (infants under 6 months or those with severe, life-threatening reactions to the flu vaccine).

3)  Aim for a regular sleep schedule, and if possible for 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

4)  Stay well hydrated- ideally (unless you have other significant medical conditions such as heart failure) aiming for about 6-8 glasses of water a day.

5)  Make sure you are aiming for those 4-5 fruits and vegetables a day, even during special occasions. If you overindulge, don’t beat yourself up, but aim for healthier, well balanced meal options in general.

6)  Be cautious with alcohol intake. We recommend no more than 7 drinks per week in women, and specifically no more than 2-3 drinks per day.

7)  Avoid contact with individuals that are sick to the best of your ability, and as above- make sure you wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading germs.

8)  Take time out for yourself to decompress; this may mean yoga, meditation, therapy, reading a good book, watching your favorite TV show, exercising, etc. Self-care and mindfulness is important.


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1632 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-735-7992
Fax: 215-735-7991
Email: info@rwwc.com

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Monday – Thursday:  8am – 8pm

Friday: 8am – 4pm

Saturday: 9am – 2pm

Sunday: Closed

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