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Ryan Health Delivers Care to Women Throughout Every Stage of Life

March 31, 2023
Womens Health

"I have a patient who has been coming to me for 30 years, since she was a teenager,” said Dr. Brooke Trenton, Medical Director at Ryan Health | Women and Children’s. “Now I’m seeing her daughter too!”

Dr. Trenton’s story underscores the importance Ryan Health places on developing a relationship with your provider throughout your life. That is especially true with the broad field of women’s health.

Puberty and the Teen Years

“Women’s health” begins at age 8 or 9 for many girls, with the onset of puberty. A pediatrician sees girls at that age, but that’s where conversations about the changes that a girl’s body will experience start. Our doctors want the parents or caregiver and the girl to know what to expect when she starts having her period. Making sure all are comfortable with the child’s physical development is important.

When a girl turns 13, she is slightly more autonomous in her relationship with our providers. During visits, we’ll ask the adults to step out of the room so our providers can ask about contraception, mood changes, friends, and relationships — things that a teen might not be comfortable discussing with the adults in her life. These are conversations in which the topics are eased so we can explore their knowledge.

Discussions of sexual relations and STIs are developmentally appropriate. Providers will access the teens’ knowledge and questions regarding sexual health and related issues. Our goal is to gently navigate where they are in their lives so they are comfortable asking questions.

Teenage girls should know that they don’t have to be a Ryan Health patient to see our providers. They can walk into any of our centers to seek help.

We will discuss sexual issues and birth control throughout their teen years when it is appropriate. There is long-term birth control products and procedures that eliminate the need for daily pills, and those may be a better option for them.

Also, many women experience heavy or irregular bleeding during their periods or pain during menstruation. Historically, women will suffer for years without knowing there are procedures or medications to ease the pain. We want women to know we will treat the underlying cause to make their period more manageable.

Young Adulthood and the Reproductive Years

At age 21, women no longer see a pediatrician but rather the OB-GYN. They will receive an annual PAP smear to check for cervical cancer. Throughout their reproductive years they’ll also have their gynecological exam and check on their periods. For many women, this is the only healthcare they get or need — the OB-GYN is their primary healthcare provider.

“Most women ask for a female OB-GYN,” says Cathy Mota, Director of Women’s Health at Ryan Health | Women and Children’s, NENA, and West 97th Street. “All of our providers, whoever they are, deliver expert care and understand the specific needs of our female patients.”

Ryan Health providers will always ask women about contraception and family planning. Preconception counseling is not something that many women know about, but our providers will help guide them with advice and resources. The “best” time for pregnancy varies for everyone. However, being pregnant is complicated and requires a lot of give and take with where women are in their lives.


One of the most daunting phases of life for women is menopause. It’s not something to be afraid of, however. There are many symptoms and changes in the body, including discomfort. But medications can help alleviate some of the pain. Menopause varies from woman to woman. There will be changes to their period; some women will experience hot flashes or sexual dysfunction due to vaginal dryness or have trouble sleeping. These changes happen due to the hormones in the body being suddenly withdrawn. Talking about menopause is key. Many women are unaware of vaginal estrogen, which can relieve the symptoms of sexual discomfort.

Gender Affirming Care

Another key aspect of Ryan Health is our focus on gender-affirming care. We can provide that care beginning with pediatrics and at the onset of puberty. People transition throughout their lives when comfortable, so we understand the time it takes to get there. We are one of the few centers that provide care to trans men who are pregnant. Several providers throughout New York City refer their trans patients to us because we are unique in providing this service.

Ryan Health understands that healthcare is most useful when people know what to expect about their bodies and life stages. These are natural processes that should not have shame or stigma attached to them.

To make an appointment at Ryan Health, use our Online Scheduler or call 212-749-1820.