More for girls – UMC Utrecht

The UMC Utrecht is like a watch: activities last 24 hours a day and this is only possible when the parts of the sprocket are completely interlocked together. We’ll be highlighting a few of them in our summer series. This time: gynecologist Janet Van Leeuwen, who treats adult women, teens, and girls. “It’s nice to see a patient waiting and shy turn into someone you can have a good, in-depth conversation with about her complaints.”

“Everything related to the female’s internal and external genitalia.” Janet van Leeuwen gives the shortest possible description of her medical specialty: gynecology. Most people think of pregnant and adult women, but girls can also benefit from this regimen. “Think of a 4-year-old who has an itchy vulva or a cyst on an ovary,” says Janet. There are also children with congenital disorders of the vagina or uterus. And after puberty, a girl can, for example, experience severe pain or blood loss during menstruation. At UMC Utrecht/Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital (WKZ), there are two gynecologists who focus on obstetrics and gynecology, and one of them is me.”

Veretrogrow for you

Most of Janet’s patients deal with an intimate subject. They may find it difficult to talk about it. “I definitely notice it with young girls. Then I try to develop trust, guide them and involve them in the care. It feels great to see the connection grow. A girl who was hesitant during her first conversation can turn into someone who speaks well of her complaints and thus gives me information on which to move on. feet”.


Janet is a gynecologist since 2017 and a member of the hospital since 2019. In adult care, she sees women with gynecological problems, such as uterine fibroids, menstrual complaints, endometriosis, and early menopause. What makes her work beautiful and interesting? “Gynecology is a broad topic; no single day and no patient is the same. This difference appeals to me. In addition, as a gynecologist we can do many things ourselves. We have a rich range of diagnoses, such as physical examination and ultrasound examination. In addition In addition, there are many different operations that we can perform.”

ectopic pregnancy

Gynecological care is needed 24 hours a day. “This is why every gynecologist in our hospital has on-call services,” says Janet. Three times a month 24 hours and once every two to three months on the weekends. You can then be called for emergency care. For example, for a woman who was brought to the emergency room because of severe abdominal pain or an ectopic pregnancy. Or for a patient recovering from major surgery in hospital. Evening and night care is different from daytime care. Often the patient has to be helped urgently, and we cannot wait until the next day. Of course there is as much attention and care in this place as there is during the day. “


The University Medical Center consists of three pillars: patient care, research, and education. Janet devotes half a day a week to the last ingredient. “I think it is important to impart knowledge, especially in the field of gynecology. In educating medical students, we focus squarely on the next generation of physicians, but we also provide education for nurses, specialist nurses and biomedical scientists, for example.”

to improve

In education, Janet follows two paths. “I am an education coordinator in reproductive medicine and gynecology. I am the focal point for our department’s education and initiate changes and adjustments in education. I also educate myself. This combination allows me to experience what is going on in the lecture hall myself; by hearing what students need (medicine), I can develop our education and improvement.”

Children’s shoes

What does Janet hope to achieve with her colleagues in the coming years? “At the top of the list, we want to develop more care in pediatric gynecology. These patients need a different approach than adults. They often have other conditions and the reason for their complaint can be different as well. But in reality, many gynecologists still in children in its early stages.

Return often

An important part of the improvement is that more doctors must become more aware of gynecological complaints in girls and what a gynecologist can mean for children. Janet: “Often a GP or medical professional is unaware of the possibility of referring a patient to a pediatric gynecologist. Almost every hospital has a gynecologist with a special focus on pediatric gynecology. The more girls and women seen by pediatric gynecologists, The more knowledge we can gain and the more we can bring to this group.”

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