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Midlife Women's Health Center

The Massachusetts General Hospital Midlife Women’s Health Center brings together experts from more than 15 specialties to improve, promote and advance health care for women at menopause and beyond through research, collaboration and education.

A Leading Resource for Women

The Massachusetts General Hospital Midlife Women's Health Center brings together a multidisciplinary team of experts from more than 15 medical specialties to provide leading-edge research, consultations and educational resources for clinicians and patients at menopause and beyond.

Health and quality of life concerns of women at midlife involve almost all areas of health care. Based within the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Mass General, the center is a collaboration of specialists in:

  • Gynecology
  • Internal medicine
  • Cardiology
  • Neurology
  • Gynecologic oncology
  • Surgical oncology
  • Reproductive endocrinology
  • Medical endocrinology
  • Psychiatry
  • Mind body medicine
  • Female pelvic medicine
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Urogynecology
  • Dermatology
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Gastroenterology
  • Rheumatology
  • Nutrition
  • Obesity medicine
  • Social work

By working together, our unique multidisciplinary team hopes to advance care, research and education for health conditions that affect women in midlife.

Advanced Research, Education and Training

One of the priorities of the Midlife Women’s Health Center is to support leading-edge research and educational activities that advance the field of midlife women’s health. Our experts conduct and present research that addresses the special needs of midlife women and aims to improve care during menopause and beyond. Each year, we provide continuing medical education opportunities for health care providers together with a community conference to further knowledge of midlife women’s health.

Meet our Multidisciplinary Team

Our specialists are dedicated to improving care for women at menopause and beyond through research, collaboration and education and by connecting patients with appropriate care for their individual needs.

Jan Shifren, MD
Director, Mass General Midlife Women’s Health Center
Director, Menopause Program, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Isaac Schiff, MD
Co-Director, Mass General Midlife Women’s Health Center
Chief, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Sujata Somani, MD
Medical Director, Mass General Midlife Women’s Health Center
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Linda Kelly, NP
Nursing Director, Mass General Midlife Women’s Health Center
Nursing Director, Ambulatory Gynecology
William Gerald Austen, Jr., MD
Chief, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Department of Surgery
Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc
Senior Research Psychiatrist, Center for Women's Mental Health
Department of Psychiatry
Herbert Benson, MD
Director Emeritus, Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine
Leslee Kagan, NP, MSN
Director of Women’s Health, Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine
Marcy Bolster, MD
Director, Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program
Division of Rheumatology
Abigail MacDonald, LICSW
Department of Social Service
Sherri-Ann Burnett-Bowie, MD, MPH
Department of Endocrinology
Janey Pratt, MD
Director, Mass General Weight Center
Department of Surgery
Erica Camargo Faye, MD
Department of Neurology
Barbara Smith, MD, PhD
Director, Breast Program
Co-Director, Gillette Center for Women's Cancers
Division of Surgical Oncology
Karen Carlson, MD
Medical Director, Women’s Health Associates
Department of Medicine
Sandy Tsao, MD
Department of Dermatology
Susan Cummings, MS, RD
Coordinator, Clinical Programs and Services
Mass General Weight Center
May Wakamatsu, MD
Director, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Marcela del Carmen, MD, MPH
Division of Gynecologic Oncology
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Debra Weinstein, MD
Vice President, Partners Graduate Medical Education
Department of Gastroenterology
Susan Young Domolky
Community Representative
Malissa Wood, MD
Co-Director, Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program
Mass General Heart Center

Health and quality of life concerns of women at midlife involve almost all areas of health care. Our multidisciplinary specialists help patients manage a full range of symptoms related to perimenopause, natural or surgical menopause and life beyond menopause.

Acne

Acne is a disorder of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands. The glands become clogged, leading to pimples and cysts.

Adjustment Disorders

An adjustment disorder is defined as an emotional or behavioral reaction to an identifiable stressful event or change in a person's life that is considered maladaptive or somehow not an expected, healthy response to the event or change.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease that occurs when nerve cells in the brain die, often resulting in symptoms such as impaired memory, thinking and behavior.

Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea is a menstrual condition characterized by absent menstrual periods for more than three monthly menstrual cycles.

Arthritis

Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are characterized by pain, swelling, and limited movement in joints and connective tissues in the body.

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a thickening or hardening of the arteries caused by a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.

Baldness (Alopecia)

Baldness, also known as alopecia, is hair loss, or absence of hair.

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a condition in which certain cells in the breast become abnormal and multiply without control to form a tumor.

Candidiasis (Yeast Infection)

Candidiasis, sometimes called moniliasis or a yeast infection, is an infection caused by yeast on the skin and/or mucous membranes.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine because of a sensitivity to gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. This hereditary disorder interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food.

Cervical Cancer

If abnormal cells on the surface of the cervix spread deeper into the cervix, or to other tissues or organs, the disease is then called cervical cancer, or invasive cervical cancer.

Cervicitis

A painful irritation of the cervix, cervicitis often lasts several months or longer, sometimes occurring after childbirth or use of oral contraceptives.

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is malignant cells found in the colon or rectum.

Constipation

Constipation is a condition in which a person has uncomfortable or infrequent bowel movements.

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease occurs when cholesterol builds up within the walls of the heart’s arteries (coronary arteries), forming what is called plaque.

Cystocele (Fallen Bladder)

Cystocele is the name for a hernia-like disorder in women that occurs when the wall between the bladder and the vagina weakens, causing the bladder to drop or sag into the vagina.

Depression

A depressive disorder is a whole-body illness, involving the body, mood, and thoughts, and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things.

Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes may also be known by a variety of other names, including the following: insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), juvenile diabetes, brittle diabetes, or sugar diabetes.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is a very common skin condition, usually characterized by irritated skin and itchiness. Dry skin often worsens in the winter, when the air is cold and dry.

Dysmenorrhea

Dysmenorrhea is a menstrual condition characterized by severe and frequent menstrual cramps and pain associated with menstruation.

Dysthymia

Dysthymia, also known as dysthymic disorder, is classified as a type of affective disorder (also called mood disorder) that often resembles a less severe, yet more chronic form of major (clinical) depression.

Endometrial Cancer

Cancer of the endometrium, the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs, is a disease in which malignant (cancerous) cells are found in the endometrium. Endometrioid cancer is a specific type of endometrial cancer.

Excessive Hairiness (Hirsutism)

Excessive hairiness, also known as hirsutism, is characterized by abnormal hair growth on areas of skin that are not normally hairy.

Fibrocystic Breast Changes

Generalized breast lumpiness is known by names such as "fibrocystic disease" and "fibroid breasts." Doctors now believe these are just part of the normal breast changes many women undergo throughout the various stages of their lives.

Gallstones

Gallstones form when bile stored in the gallbladder hardens into stone-like material.

Gastritis

Gastritis is an inflammation of the stomach lining.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) / Heartburn

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that is caused by gastric acid flowing from the stomach into the esophagus.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) causes its sufferers chronic and exaggerated worry and tension that seem to have no substantial cause.

Hair Loss

Shedding 50 to 100 hairs a day is normal. When a hair is shed, it is replaced by a new hair from the same follicle and the growing cycle starts again. Scalp hair grows about one-half inch a month. As people age, the rate of hair growth slows.

Hair Problems

Hair problems may be due to cosmetic causes, such as excessive shampooing and blow-drying, or due to underlying diseases, such as thyroid problems.

Headache

A headache is pain or discomfort in the head or face area.

Heart Attack

A heart attack occurs when one or more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged lack of oxygen caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle.

Hematuria (Blood in the Urine)

Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells (RBCs) in the urine.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are blood vessels, normally present in and around the anus and lower rectum, that have become swollen due to stretching under pressure.

Hereditary Breast Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (BRCA1 / BRCA2)

Hereditary breast ovarian cancer syndrome is an abnormal version of the gene BRCA1 or BRCA2, which increases a person’s risk of developing various types of cancer

High Blood Pressure / Hypertension

Blood pressure, measured with a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope by a nurse or other health care provider, is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls.

Hypoparathyroidism

Underactive parathyroid glands do not produce enough parathyroid hormones. This causes low levels of calcium in the blood.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an intestinal disorder that causes the following: crampy pain, gassiness, bloating, changes in bowel habits.

Kidney Stones

A kidney stone is a solid piece of material that forms from crystallization of excreted substances in the urine.

Lactose Intolerance

Low Back Pain

Low back pain can range from mild, dull, annoying pain, to persistent, severe, disabling pain in the lower back. Pain in the lower back can restrict mobility and interfere with normal functioning.

Major Depression

Major depression, also known as clinical depression or unipolar depression, is classified as a type of affective disorder or mood disorder that goes beyond the day's ordinary ups and downs, becoming a serious medical condition and important health concern in this country.

Menopause

Menopause refers to the time in a woman’s life when the menstrual cycle stops permanently. It is a normal, natural event that occurs in all women.

Menorrhagia

Menorrhagia is the most common type of abnormal uterine bleeding characterized by heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding.

Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes the presence of a cluster of risk factors specific for cardiovascular disease. Metabolic syndrome significantly raises the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and/or stroke.

Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is a chronic, neurological sleep disorder with no known cause. It involves the body's central nervous system. Narcolepsy is a genetic disorder, but what causes narcolepsy is not yet known.

Obesity

Obesity increases the risk for many diseases, especially heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, or porous bone, is a disease in which there is a loss of bone mass and destruction of bone tissue, causing weakening of the bones in the hips, spine and wrists.

Ovarian cancer

Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant cells are found in an ovary.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is characterized by chronic, repeated, and unexpected panic attacks - bouts of overwhelming fear of being in danger when there is no specific cause for the fear

Perimenopause

Perimenopause refers to the transitional period of time before menstruation actually stops, which is marked by changes in the menstrual cycle, along with other physical and emotional symptoms.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a sleep disorder in which a person experiences unpleasant sensations in the legs.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic, autoimmune disease, is the most crippling form of arthritis and affects approximately 2.1 million Americans.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the skin cells and accounts for more than 50 percent of all cancers.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious breathing disorder that causes brief interruptions of breathing during sleep.

Stroke

Stroke, also called brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted.

Thyroid Disorders in Women

The thyroid gland, which plays an important role in the body's metabolism, secretes several hormones: thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), and calcitonin.

Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections describe a health problem that results from a bacterial infection along the urinary tract.

Uterine Cancer

Cancers that occur in each part of the uterus have their own names, such as cervical cancer or endometrial cancer, but are sometimes broadly defined as uterine cancer because the structure is part of the uterus.

Uterine Fibroids

Fibroids are the most frequently seen tumors of the female reproductive system.

Vaginal Cancer

Cancer of the vagina, a rare kind of cancer in women, is a disease in which malignant cells are found in the tissues of the vagina.

Vaginitis

Vaginitis refers to any inflammation or infection of the vagina.

Vascular Headaches and Migraines

This throbbing type of headache is distinguished by the fact that symptoms other than pain occur with the headache.

Vulvar Cancer

Vulvar cancer is a malignancy that can occur on any part of the external organs, but most often affects the labia majora or labia minora.

Vulvitis

Vulvitis is simply an inflammation of the vulva, the soft folds of skin outside the vagina.

Vulvovaginal Atrophy

Vulvovaginal atrophy refers to a condition when a woman develops pain, dryness, itching and irritation of the vagina and vulva caused by low estrogen levels, usually as a result of menopause.

The Midlife Women’s Health Center serves as a resource for patients and health care providers.

Pause Magazine

Created by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Pause Magazine is a guide to midlife health.

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Information from the North American Menopause Society on bioidentical hormone therapy

Vaginal Dryness

Information from the North American Menopause Society on vaginal dryness

Hot Flashes

Information from the North American Menopause Society on treating hot flashes

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Learn more about health concerns and approaches to treatment for women in midlife, as well as educational events for patients, health care providers and community partners.

There is life after a pelvic floor disorder

Nearly one-third of American women have one or more pelvic floor disorders such as urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence or pelvic-organ prolapse. The Pelvic Floor Disorders Service at Mass General offers expert care and helps bring lasting relief to those suffering from a pelvic floor disorder.

Promoting the benefits of Pap smears

MGH Hotline 12.04.09 The inspiration for creating the CBS Cares public service Pap smears web campaign – featuring MGH Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Chief Isaac Schiff, MD, and gynecologic surgeon Marcela G. del Carmen, MD, MPH – began when a CBS Cares producer overheard a conversation between two women while dining at an Italian restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village.

Pelvic floor disorders: What you should know

Nearly one in three American women has one or more pelvic floor disorders, such as urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse. The Pelvic Floor Disorders Service at Mass General offers a range of non-surgical and surgical options for treatment.

Coordinated care offers freedom from pelvic floor disorders

With the help of coordinated, multidisciplinary care provided by physicians in the MGH Pelvic Floor Disorder Service, 39-year-old patient Nicole Ortuno is once again living a normal, healthy life.

Midlife Women’s Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Care

“Midlife Women’s Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Care” is a one-day continuing medical education (CME) course for medical professionals presented by the Midlife Women’s Health Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Learn more about health concerns and approaches to treatment for women in midlife, as well as educational events for patients, health care providers and community partners.

Malissa Wood, MD, explains how the symptoms of heart attack are different in women than in men

Malissa Wood, MD, Co-Director of the Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center describes the heart attack symptoms that are unique to women, and why treatment of heart disease should be gender-specific.

Marcela Del Carmen, MD, talks about your risk of developing cervical cancer, even as you age

Marcela Del Carmen, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center says that the risk for cervical cancer goes up, not down, as you age. Learn about your risk for cervical cancer, and the new guidelines that caution women to continue to get PAP smears into their 60s.

May Wakamatsu, MD, discusses pelvic floor conditions and treatments

May Wakamatsu, MD, director of the Urogynecology and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses the various ways the service can help women with pelvic floor problems return to a normal lifestyle.

Migraine Surgery

W.G. (Jay) Austen Jr., MD, Chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses a cutting edge procedure done at Mass General: Plastic Surgery for Migraines.

Pause Magazine

Created by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Pause Magazine is a guide to midlife health.

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy

Information from the North American Menopause Society on bioidentical hormone therapy

Vaginal Dryness

Information from the North American Menopause Society on vaginal dryness

Hot Flashes

Information from the North American Menopause Society on treating hot flashes

Midlife Women's Health Center

Founder's Building, 5th floor
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726-6776

Public Transportation Access: yes