Dr. Sharon Fillerup handles all aspects of women’s health as an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at Tanner Clinic Layton.
Her special interests include real-time ultrasound, pelvic relaxation (prolapse), urinary stress incontinence and abnormal uterine bleeding, as well as minimally invasive surgery for hysterectomy and other procedures.
Dr. Fillerup, a native of Cody, Wyo., began her practice at Tanner Clinic in 1996, one of very few female OB-GYN specialists in Northern Utah at the time.
Dr. Fillerup earned her MD at the University of Utah School of Medicine, where she served in her third year as class president. Her residency requirements in OB/GYN were completed at at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology.
Dr. Fillerup has been active in humanitarian care in such locations as Mali, Ghana, Bolivia, Peru and Mongolia. When not doctoring, her passion is cycling, and she travels the globe to participate in cycling events.
“Dr. Sharon Fillerup is the most amazing doctor I have ever had. Without her expertise and care my twins would not be as well off as they are! Thank you!” — Christina on Facebook, Oct. 17, 2014
“Dr. Fillerup was very helpful and kind when I found that my uterus was 10 times bigger than normal. She performed the surgery and all went well. She was very helpful and answered all of my questions concerning my situation. I will continue to have her as my OB/GYN, I wouldn’t change for anything.” —RateMDs.com, Sept 2, 2014
“We LOVE Dr. Fillerup! I have crazy pregnancies and she is the reason my three kids are alive! I have never had such an understanding and compassionate doctor — she feels more like a friend. I actually look forward to going in for my appointments with her. My husband wishes he could go to her. I love how she takes the time to listen and you know she really cares. I recommend her to everyone I know.” — Alycia on Facebook, Jan. 24, 2014
“Dr. Fillerup is the best thing that ever happened to me! I have severe endometriosis and she has performed several surgeries and delivered my three children. I truly believe that I have her to thank for my children! My oldest is 8 years old now, and she still remembers my story and asks how my kids are doing. She has always made me feel like I am confiding in a friend. I trust her inexplicably and appreciate that she is willing to share the hard answers with me where other doctors dance around issues. … Thank you Dr. F!!” — RateMD.com, Nov. 24, 2013
As a gynecologist and obstetrician, Dr. Sharon Fillerup treats all types and ages of patients — pregnant ones, nervous ones, leaky ones.
The one thing they have in common is their gender.
That pretty much describes Dr. Fillerup herself, who was one of the earliest female OB-GYNs to practice in Northern Utah. Her life has seen as many switches as a dirt road near her hometown of Cody, Wyo.
Her journey has taken her from Wyoming farm girl just outside of Yellowstone National Park to accomplished physician at Tanner Clinic. There’s been a lot of curves — some that caused spills. Maybe that’s why she’s known for her straight- forward and straight-talking attitude.
The road ahead
Early on, Dr. Fillerup had her sights set on working with the wild landscape that raised her. As a student at Cody High School, she won first in state in agronomy, a science that deals with crop production and soil management. In her spare time, she qualified as a member of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team.
She moved on to Brigham Young University, earning a bachelor’s degree in botany and range science. In the summers, she worked as a range conservationist with the U.S. Forest Service.
The first big curve
After college, however, the future began to press in. “I was supposed to get married and have a family,” she says now. She needed a trade, she thought — one where she could “work two days a week and stay home with the kids.”
She decided that job was as a dental hygienist and, after earning her certificate at Sheridan (Wyo.) College, she moved to Seattle where she worked for four years in what she now describes as pretty much a “dead end.”
So, when the family expectations dwindled, says Dr. Fillerup, “I thought, well, if I have to take care of myself, I guess I’d better get back to school.”
Switchback to medical school
Dr. Fillerup settled on the University of Utah School of Medicine, where she was one of 10 women in her class of 100 students. Then, with her MD in hand, she headed to Texas Tech University for a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. That went swell for three months — until she was hit by a truck while on her bicycle.
“I went into the hospital as Jane Doe, was in the hospital for two weeks, woke up and couldn’t feel anything from the waist down,” she says. Her neck and back were broken and her pelvis shattered.
Rehab took most of a year, as she learned such basic tasks as feeding herself. “And then,” she adds, “I started to learn how to walk again.”
Her professional CV still contains the explanation of why her residency took twice as long as normal to complete.
Back on a straight road
Dr. Fillerup’s legacy of those years is some nerve pain and arthritis in her ankle. That’s why she’s abandoned her old pastimes of hiking and cross-country skiing. But, she says, “I can still bicycle pretty well.”
True, indeed. She has joined such events as the 200-miles-plus Lotoja race between Logan and Jackson Hole, Wyo. She’s also a frequent participant in “centuries” — 100-mile races for us non-cyclists. But that’s not so unusual — a century is just the average route of her weekend rides.
By the time they’re 50, half of all women will have fibroids — a benign tumor in the uterus. It’s only when the fibroids hurt, cause bleeding or grow big enough to get in the way that those women find their way to an OB/GYN specialist.
Dr. Sharon Fillerup, an OB/GYN at Tanner Clinic Layton explains this common growth. Fibroids “are made of the smooth muscle of the uterus. It starts as a little next of cells, and it just starts to grow,” she said. The cause is not known, but it’s believed to be tied to estrogen levels.
One of the most noticeable symptoms is heavier than normal bleeding — a woman’s periods become heavy and they often become anemic, said Dr. Fillerup. Other times, there are no symptoms, and the fibroid is discovered during an exam or test for something else.
If the fibroid is stable, Dr. Fillerup will often opt to just follow the patient. But if bleeding or pain are present or the fibroid grows large, “I say, ‘Time’s up,’” she said. Treatments include medication to reduce estrogen, contraceptives, surgical removal of the fibroid and, sometimes, a hysterectomy.
— Tanner Clinic staff
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