Healing the Whole Woman: Aligning Gynecology and Integrative Medicine

Katherine A. Thurer, MD, FACOG

Though she didn't know it when she scheduled the appointment, an acupuncture treatment would alter the course of Dr. Katherine Thurer's career. She underwent the session before starting medical school, and said she could "totally tell that those needles were doing something. My brain was clearer; I felt taller." She found it fascinating that the acupuncturist was able to accurately identify symptoms just by looking at her tongue and asking a series of questions.


That experience remained in the back of her mind throughout medical school, she said. Now a gynecologist and board certified in Integrative Medicine, Dr. Thurer said she realized early on that western medicine didn't hold all of the answers.


"Western medicine is amazing, especially for cases of acute trauma. However, for chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and endometriosis, we need to go to the root cause. The answer is not just another medication," she said.


Being an Integrative Medicine specialist gives Dr. Thurer an advantage as a gynecologist. She is able to look at the whole person and treat women beyond their organs.


The Raby Institute enables that kind of thoughtful, time-intensive care, but also provides standard women's healthcare. Dr. Thurer conducts gynecological services such as annual examinations, visits for pelvic complaints, and in-office minimally-invasive procedures. These include hysteroscopy (for example, to remove polyps or treat heavy periods) as well as Essure, a permanent sterilization technique. She is an Instructor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern Prentice Women's Hospital where she performs surgeries and is actively involved in resident education.


"If you go to a gynecologist because you have painful periods, the majority of the time they'll give you Advil or put you on the pill. It's the way we are trained in western medicine," Dr. Thurer said. "I can do that, too, but the integrative approach is not just a band-aid quick fix. I want to address the underlying cause with each patient."


As an Integrative Gynecologist, Dr. Thurer sees patients for a variety of reasons, including:
• Cervical dysplasia
• Endometriosis
• Heavy menstrual bleeding
• Fibroids
• Infertility
• Irregular menses
• Menopause and menopausal symptoms
• Pelvic floor disorders
• Pelvic pain
• Urinary incontinence
• Sexual dysfunction
• Vaginal pain/discomfort


Dr. Thurer said her work keeps her motivated because it's "all about learning. Integrative Medicine is all hard science, going back to nutrition and biochemistry. That's why medicine is such a great field. We're constantly learning."


To schedule an appointment with Dr. Thurer, call the Raby Institute at (312) 276.1212.


"Dr. Raby is genuinely compassionate, a good listener, very bright and extremely helpful."
- Raby Institute patient