Omaha OB-GYN offers personalized care focused on women
Melissa Dahir wishes more women realized they don’t need to suffer in silence.
Dahir, nurse practitioner at Omaha OB-GYN Associates, P.C., specializes in treating health issues that are frequently difficult for women (and their doctors) to talk about. Pain during intercourse, vaginal dryness, low libido – all are topics many women know about firsthand, but often struggle to share with their doctor.
That’s where Dahir comes in. She works to gain her patients’ trust so that they can express their concerns and get the treatment they need.
“These are very emotional and personal things, and I try to provide a setting that feels comfortable, confidential, and secure,” she said.
Years ago, women’s health care typically referred to reproductive health and childbirth. But today, the concept of women’s health care has expanded to include women’s health and well-being across life stages. Women come to Omaha OB-GYN for routine gynecological exams, contraceptive and family planning counseling, infertility, pre-pregnancy counseling, and normal and high-risk pregnancies. But they may also seek to address sexual health issues or menopausal symptoms – topics women may not have vocalized in previous decades.
“Fifty years ago, nobody talked about incontinence or menopause,” said Dr. Andrea Leishman-Barb. “Now that there are options out there, I think people seek treatment that they wouldn’t have in the past.”
Women-centered clinics like Omaha OB-GYN can help women navigate health needs throughout their lives. The clinic’s physicians and nurse practitioners are steeped in expertise on women’s unique health issues – and that’s an advantage for patients.
“Because we’re more specialized, we’re better at the things we do,” said Dr. Jill Burke.
There’s also a convenience factor. At the group’s Lakeside Clinic, patients can undergo various procedures in the office and avoid a separate trip to the hospital. Ultrasounds are performed at Lakeside and a second office location in midtown Omaha. Physicians have privileges at several Omaha-area hospitals, including CHI Health Lakeside and Methodist Women’s Hospital. The group participates in most managed care and commercial insurance plans.
Doctors say the private practice setup also allows them to give more personalized care to their patients. They accompany women through some of the major milestones in their lives – an aspect of the job Burke enjoys.
“I love knowing patients from when they are in their 20s and dating someone, to getting engaged, having a baby or two or three, to now starting their peri-menopause transitions,” Burke said. “I like the continuity and that I know them for all these stages of their life.”
Advances in technology and treatment have meant women have more choices as they approach different life stages and health issues.
Burke noted that Omaha OB-GYN does more genetic screenings for breast cancer than any other obstetrician-gynecologist practice in Nebraska. Genetic testing allows women to better understand any genetic predisposition they may have toward breast cancer. That knowledge can help them to make an informed decision on whether to undergo risk-reducing surgery, such as a mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast) or oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries).
“We cannot make (the risk) zero, but we can decrease their chances quite a bit,” Burke said.
Minimally invasive procedures are another aspect in which women’s health care has changed in the last few years. Gynecological surgeries, such as hysterectomies, now require smaller incisions and offer shorter healing time, Burke said.
Women seeking to prevent pregnancy through tubal sterilization also have more options. Unlike a traditional tubal sterilization, the ESSURE procedure is noninvasive and is done with local anesthetic in the office.
Endometrial ablation, another procedure completed in the office, can help relieve heavy periods.
The Omaha OB-GYN team can also help women understand their contraception options. Dr. Jennifer Hill has seen increased interest in the IUD, a form of long-acting reversible contraception that is highly effective.
When a woman decides to become pregnant, the group can offer pre-pregnancy counseling to the future parents, including screening for rare genetic issues. Such screening can help parents prepare for the possibility of having a child with special needs.
Helping women through pregnancy and childbirth are a big part of Omaha OB-GYN’s practice and a driving force for many doctors.
“I love delivering babies,” Hill said. “That’s my favorite thing in the world to do.”
Delivering a baby allows a doctor to be a part of one of the most special parts of a woman’s life, Burke said. “It’s so rewarding that they chose me to share that with them.”
Later in life, women may experience changes that can affect sexual activity. As women approach menopause, their estrogen levels decrease, which may lead to vaginal dryness and slower sexual response. But sexual health issues can affect women of all ages. It’s up to medical practitioners like Dahir and her colleagues to help women feel comfortable enough to seek relief.
At Omaha OB-GYN, the close relationship between doctor and patient can enhance the quality of care a woman receives as she experiences different health needs.
“Since I know them well, I can share in their story and help them in a way that someone who is just meeting them for the first time can’t,” Burke said.