Trust Essentia to provide exceptional women’s health care to you. Build a life-long relationship with one of our knowledgeable gynecologists who provide individualized care for women of all ages. We’ll take the time to listen, answer your questions, and support you during your care and treatment.

When to See a Gynecologist

Consult our expert gynecologists when you experience:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Incontinence
  • Reproductive health concerns

Awkward Questions Answered

Get your awkward questions answered without having to ask. In the video below we answer the most common awkward questions asked by our obstetrics and gynecology patients.

Obstetrics and Gynecology: Awkward Questions Answered: - Essentia Health

The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health. Is sex supposed to be painful in menopause? Dr. Andrea Lays, O-B G-Y-N physician. A brown-haired woman in glasses and a white coat.

DR. ANDREA LAYS: Is sex supposed to be painful in menopause? Wow. Is that ever a common question? The answer is it's very common. But no, there are definitely things we can do to make sex more comfortable, despite being in menopause. One of the most common treatments is to replenish the vagina with estrogen in the form of a cream or a tablet or some kind of insert. That is definitely the most successful therapy, but there are other alternatives, which are nonprescription.

Text, Is it normal to leak urine when I cough or sneeze?

80% of women will lake urine when they cough or sneeze. Again, a very common problem. There are many treatments available. The most common treatment would be to use something called a pessary, which is a little plastic device that you place in your vagina and can support the urethra. There is also pelvic floor physical therapy available to strengthen those pelvic floor muscles. And finally, there are surgeries available to help treat leaking urine with cough or sneeze.

Text, I am scared to get a pap test. Is that normal?

Many women are scared to have a pap test done, especially when it's their first test. A pap test is a little Q-tip swab of the cervix, which is the opening to the uterus in the vagina. That Q-tip swab is looked at underneath a microscope to see if there's any precancerous cells or abnormal cells that could lead to cervical cancer in the future. The pap test itself is a very quick and easy procedure. But it can be very daunting for some. In seeing a provider who performs these tests, it's important to make sure you ask your questions prior to the exam and to feel comfortable with your provider. We all work very hard to make sure that you have a very comfortable and easy experience with us.

Text, I am afraid to have sex after having my baby. Is that normal?

Many women are scared to have sex after having a baby. It's important that you realize that while your body may feel different, it is still safe to have sex after having a baby. You won't harm any tissues or injure anything. A lot of times, one of the biggest issues is just finding time outside of taking care of the baby. If you have questions on this topic, it's very important to bring that up with your obstetric provider. We are absolutely happy to help you deal with this topic.

Text, What can I expect when it comes to menopause?

All women will go through menopause at some point in their life. And that journey can be very challenging for some and very easy for others. The most common symptoms of menopause are starting to feel some hot flushes or having night sweats, where you wake up and you're just sweating through your jammies or into the sheets. Another common symptom, as you enter the menopause time, is to have very irregular periods. Sometimes you can skip your period for several months, but then when you do get a period, it can be very heavy in the amount of flow you have and can be very challenging to deal with. The overall menopause transition, on average, lasts about four years, finally ending in a point where women stop having periods for a time period of about one year. After stopping menses, the hot flashes and night sweats typically start to go away. But for some women, they can persist and there's definitely treatment available to help deal with those. The most common treatment that we use for treatment of hot flushes and night sweats is hormone replacement therapy with estrogen and progesterone, either in a pill, a cream, all sorts of different delivery methods, but there's also other medications, such as Venlafaxine, which is originally designed as an antidepressant. There's some over-the-counter remedies as well, such as Black Cohosh or Evening Primrose. Another thing that we use is a lot of lifestyle modifications, being sure to wear cotton underwear, cotton clothing, dress in layers, so that you can peel off that sweater when you're starting to get a hot flash, keeping fans around you or having your bed be next to a window. Those are other things that can help you get through this time.

The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health.

Conditions Treated

See the full list of conditions we treat, and select a condition to find providers and locations near you.


Well-Woman Care

Get your annual well-woman exam from one of our highly trained gynecologists or nurse practitioners. They can help prevent, diagnose, and check your risk factors for health conditions. Depending on your age, your well-woman visit may include:

  • Breast health exam
  • Birth control counseling
  • Family planning guidance
  • Gynecologic health screenings
  • Pelvic exam with Pap smear to check for cervical cancer
  • Sexual health and function care

Menopause Management

Find help and support to manage your menopausal symptoms from premenopause through postmenopause. Your care team may recommend treatments such as hormone replacement therapy to help improve your quality of life.

Women’s Wellness Program

Women living in and around Duluth, Minnesota may benefit from Essentia's Women's Wellness Program. The program is staffed by a specially trained team which includes a gynecologist, midwife, nurse practitioner, and psychologist. We provide complimentary therapies to help care for conditions ranging from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual pain to pregnancy, postpartum, and menopausal care. Our program is designed to care for your mind, body, and spirit. Our services include:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Ayurveda and yoga
  • Behavioral health
  • Herbal medicine
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR)
  • Nutrition counseling

Planning for Pregnancy

Talk to your doctor about your health and lifestyle before you try to conceive to achieve a healthy pregnancy. You’ll get answers to your questions about conception, genetic counseling, and fertility support to help you get pregnant.

Incontinence Treatments

If you live with a bladder disorder, you’ll benefit from women’s continence care at Essentia. We help you manage and treat urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, or overactive bladder so you can maintain your active lifestyle.

Expert Gynecologic Surgery

Turn to Essentia for minimally invasive gynecologic surgery using laparoscopic or robotic techniques.

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