Information for the Lay Person

Sanford Women’s Health Research Center is composed of both basic and clinician scientists. The basic scientists explore the basic of biology of a disease process and hope to use this information to find new diagnostic and therapeutic agents. The clinician scientists take the information from the basic science laboratory and apply to the care of their patients, in what is known as translational research. This translational research is performed in well controlled, ethical protocols.


a. Ovulatory difficulties, when an egg is not released from the ovary, are a common cause of infertility. Our laboratory is currently investigating causes of ovulatory problems and evaluating better treatment protocols.

b. Women with ovulatory difficulties are often at higher risk for a number of health problems including Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and other problems. One of our areas of interest is in helping patients prevent and control these problems.


a. Endometriosis is a common cause of morbidity in reproductive aged women. It primarily causes problems with pelvic pain, pelvic masses and infertility. Currently the only method to diagnose endometriosis is with surgery (laparoscopy or laparotomy). One of the goals of our laboratory is to discover new non-invasive tests for endometriosis, new treatments and methods to follow women with this disease.


a. Stress Urinary incontinence (SUI) is a common problem in women, especially as they age. One goal of our laboratory is to investigate the causes of and try to find cost-effective treatments for SUI. One are of current investigation is in South Dakota, Native American groups.

b. SUI. Another area of investigation is in women who are treated for SUI with a surgical procedure. In this group of women there are some who have a recurrence of their SUI. We are currently attempting to determine the cause of this recurrent SUI.

c. Interstitial cystitis is a debilitating problem which often occurs with endometriosis. It often causes pelvic pain and urinary symptoms. Currently the diagnosis can only be made through quite invasive techniques, either surgery or instillations. We are currently investigating the possibility of a less invasive test for the diagnosis and follow up of women with Interstitial cystitis.


a. Perinatalogist are obstetricians who deal with high risk pregnancies. Our Perinatology group is involved with the Safe Passage study (please see site).


a. Oncofertility is the attempt to preserve fertility in women and men preparing to undergo cancer therapies, which may leave them sterile. We are members of the Oncofertility Consortium and currently involved in a number of studies to try to improve our ability to save fertility in women and men preparing for cancer treatments.


a. A number of members of our laboratory are members of the Cancer Research Center. They are currently investigating the causes, diagnosis and treatment of malignant diseases that affect women. Please see the Cancer Research Center web site for more information.