This week I have another conversation about women’s health, specifically about topics or issues we don’t always think to discuss with our healthcare providers. Dr. Kerry-Anne Perkins (Dr. P), a board-certified and dynamic Obstetrician and Gynecologist joins me for a conversation about what women need to know about urinary tract infections (UTIs), the seven supplements women should take for reproductive health, and tips for having a healthy vagina.
Dr. Perkins has extensive expertise in global maternal health needs, problems of the female reproductive tract, contraceptive care, and minimally invasive surgery. She also has a burning passion and commitment to fitness and a holistic approach to a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
Some of the topics we explore include:
- UTI’s: how and why women get them, as well as, how can we prevent getting them (3:52)
- The symptoms of PCOS or Uterine Fibroids (10:15)
- Five signs of fertility or that you are in your fertile window (21:26)
- Supplements and nutrients for better health, aging bodies, as well as a healthy reproductive system. Necessary supplements Dr. P suggests include: B-complex, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Calcium, Iron, and Folic Acid (28:24)
- Dr P’s tips for having a ‘healthy vagina’ (38:38)
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Dr. Perkins is a board-certified and dynamic Obstetrician and Gynecologist practicing in Pennsylvania, USA. She has an extensive expertise in global maternal health needs, problems of the female reproductive tract, contraceptive care, and minimally invasive surgery. She also has a burning passion and commitment to fitness and a holistic approach to a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
Dr. Perkins is a native of Jamaica, WI. She received received her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology-Exercise and Sports Science from Temple University. She has a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) and an Executive Master in Business Administration from Saint Joseph’s University. She received her medical degree from PCOM and completed her internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Saint John’s Episcopal Hospital in Queens, New York. In addition to medical practice, she is a Major in the United States Army Reserve. She is an avid scientific researcher with over 16 research publications and abstracts, and notable honors and awards for innovative contributions to the research community.
Dr. P 00:00
So whenever you have a UTI, you're having an infection, specifically off the bladder area. So it's not a vaginal infection, which I hear that a lot. It's a bladder infection. Now, it is so common that most women at some point during their lives will experience at least one UTI. So if you haven't that’s great, but if you have know that it's very, very common.
You're listening to Make Some Noise Podcast episode number 501 with guest, Dr. Kerry-Anne Perkins.
Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast, your guide for strategies, tools and insight to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen, global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable confidence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. Are you ready? Let's go.
Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I'm so glad you're here. I'm still a little bit under the weather. I have this never ending cold, it seems like. Is this the super cold that people are talking about? I'm sorry, if you have it, I've done two COVID tests, and they both come out negative. And it's just lingering and it just boo. I give it zero stars. It's the worst. And speaking of women's health, we are we are chugging right along here. We have a couple of episodes left in this particular theme around women's health and then we move into the recovery theme which I'm really excited about. I'll tell you more about that a little bit later.
But I wanted to remind you that any of you who are interested in writing a book. If that's you, if you've thought to yourself, before I die, I gotta get this book out, or people have told you need to write a book your story's amazing Are you know so much about XYZ, you should really write a book about it. Hit me up. I love helping my clients with their nonfiction books. If you're writing a novel, I'm sorry, I can't help you. But if you're interested in writing a nonfiction book, then I may be able to help you whether you want to go traditional publishing or self-publish, head over to AndreaOwen.com/nonfiction and there's a page that tells you a little bit more about exactly what I do, exactly how I can help you, and a link to schedule your complimentary 20 to 30 minute call with me to see if maybe we can work together. And I'd love to help you. It's like one of my absolute favorite thing to do with clients. We don't talk about it all that often but it's definitely on my menu of services.
All right, so let's get into today's guest. For those of you that don't know our guest today, let me tell you a little bit about her. Dr. Perkins is a board certified and dynamic obstetrician and gynecologist practicing in Pennsylvania. She has an extensive expertise in global maternal health needs, problems of the female reproductive tract, contraceptive care, and minimally invasive surgery. She also has a burning passion and commitment to fitness and a holistic approach to a healthy mind, body and spirit. She's also a major in the United States Army Reserve and she's an avid scientific researcher with over 16 years researcher, publications and abstracts and notable honors and awards for innovative contributions to the research community. So without further ado, here is Dr. P.
Dr. P, thank you so much for being here.
Dr. P 03:48
Absolutely. It's a pleasure to be with you and your audience. Thank you. Thank you.
I'm excited. I was mentioning to you just a few minutes ago about the women's health theme, and I've had a handful of doctors on before and so I'm going to try to ask questions that haven't been asked before that we've already covered. So I want to start with, let's just jump right into, like, you know, the too much information department. Let's talk about UTIs or urinary tract infections for people who might not know what that that acronym is. I used to get them all the time. But I also in my 20s, I used to have a lot more sex than I do now. I don't know if that's the reason I don't know if things changed. But how can you talk about, you know how and why do women, some women get them more frequently and then what are some ways to prevent getting them? And I also am curious, I know throwing a lot of questions, why some women more susceptible than others. Like maybe why did I get them a lot in my 20s and I don't get them anymore?
Dr. P 04:47
Yeah, yeah. So well, congratulations on not getting them anymore.
Thank you very much.
Dr. P 04:54
Well, listen, UTIs are very common. So again, for those who may not be familiar a UTI is a urinary tract infection. You know, down there in the pelvic region, you know, we have three different holes and three different systems. So there's a bladder, which is where the urine is formed and released, then there is the GYN area where you have your, your uterus and your cervix and your vagina and all that good stuff down there. And then you have the bowel or the GI system, which is your colon. And everything is kind of really close down there. So whenever you have a UTI, you're having an infection, specifically off the bladder area. So it's not a vaginal infection, which I hear that a lot. It's a bladder infection. Now, it is so common that most women at some point during their lives will experience at least one UTI. So if you haven't, that’s great, but if you have know that it's very, very common.
Now, a couple of things that I love to mention about UTI’s is that the first thing is that it is caused by a bacteria that more often comes from your rectum. So it comes from your GI system. It comes from your anus. And so with that hygiene is very, very, very, very important. I can't stress it enough. We need to make sure that we are wiping in the right direction. That is like number one. We need to make sure that we are hydrating well, and I'll go into why that is so important. But let's go back to why some people may get this. So you may get this because you are not practicing the correct way to clean down there. And so what happens is that because the three different systems are so close in between our groin, in between our legs, what happens is that bacteria can move and travel around, and it can move and travel around it based on different things. For instance, we're wearing underwear and we're passing gas. The gas is coming from the rectum. During that time, gas may also expel bacteria from the rectum. So bacteria is coming out as you are passing, this is what we call medically, are farting or passing gas. Now, if you're wearing underwear, your underwear is catching that, right? So it's grabbing all the little tiny bacteria that is coming out with that gas. Now that underwear as you're walking around throughout the day, as you're moving about living your life, your underwear is moving back and forth in between your legs. So it is helping to transport the bacteria that just left your anus, towards the direction of your bladder.
Or you may be simply not wiping from front to back, you might be wiping from back to front, and you are moving that bacteria to the front. Or more commonly, during sexual activity. During sexual activity a lot is going on down there and so in between that as our skins, they're touching and rubbing and all the movement bacteria is just naturally moving around in that perennial or vaginal area. And so what happens is that whenever bacteria gets close to the bladder area, it starts to enter in that space and once it gets in, this is when you get a UTI.
Okay, that's gross. I had an aha moment when you were talking about that. I also wore thongs exclusively and I don’t anymore.
Dr. P 08:29
Yeah. And that is linked with it. Yes. Yeah. So you know my number one motto is no undies. No undies. No on these go commando. That's it. But that's not necessarily comfortable for everyone. So if you are, I often say one yes, go cotton, but two change your undies often. So bring a pair in your purse. And you know if it starts getting moist, or I don't know, if you pass the guests all day, you switch your underwear, so you can get rid of that.
Yeah, I'm just thinking back to my 20s. And like, yeah, there was just lots of partying and alcohol. And anyway, I don't live that life anymore. I heard this somewhere along the way that one of the other reasons that women tend to get bladder infections a lot more than men is because our urethra is so much shorter than theirs. Like it is the distance that the bacteria has to travel isn't very far at all.
Dr. P 09:21
It isn't and that's a very key component to it, because if you talk to a man, it's just like a UTI, what is that? We don't get them. But for females because the urethra is significantly shorter. So what happens is like the urethra is the length of the penis. So if you think of, say a four inch five and six- and seven-inch man, he has that length of a urethra. So for female on average, you're looking at maybe about an inch, maybe an inch and a half. So it's a short distance. And because of that, you know bacteria will enter in a lot faster and the key for females with that is that if you urinate often, then you're washing away any bacteria that have started to enter into that space. And that's how you help to prevent getting UTIs often. And that's kind of the key reason why we say, after sexual activity, urinate immediately after. Wash that bacteria away.
Okay, I want to sort of switch gears and ask you about something that I I've heard is common. I mean, you can you can tell us if it's common or not. And it's actually two different things. One of them is PCOS. And the other one is uterine fibroids. So can you talk about what each of those are, how common they are, and what and I also have heard that a lot of women don't know what's going on and are misdiagnosed and seeing all kinds of doctors. And then finally, you know, in their 40s, maybe, finally get diagnosed with either fibroids or PCOS and is that a common thing? Can you just kind of talk to us, give us the one, two threes on that?
Dr. P 10:52
Yeah, so they're both very, very different things. And so I'll talk about PCOS, first. That’s polycystic ovarian syndrome. This is a condition that is related to your hormones and people with this may have several different things that they feel. So they may have irregular periods, meaning that they're not getting a period every single month. They may be having three or four per year, or maybe they skip their periods altogether. And so that is a condition that is not normal, because our bodies should really have periods every single month. So that's number one. The second thing is that they may start having facial hair growth, like balding, very similar to that of a male, they may have like a lot of hair growth on their chests or on their legs, or just even in their perennial area like in between their groin area. But it's an excessive amount of hair growth which is not typical for a female. And the last thing is that whenever they have an ultrasound done, and we look at the ovaries, ovaries tend to trap all their eggs and so they're not being ovulated or released, as they should every month. So when we see that ultrasound, they have like a pouch filled with eggs that are just stuck inside of the ovary. And so with that, that's like the basic diagnosis of PCOS.
And you know, as you mentioned, diagnosis is very, very limited, and sometimes very late. And so what happens is that we think right now that about 10% of females are experiencing PCOS but I really think clinically it’s way more than that. I'm seeing 30 to 40% of my patients easily with this condition. And so they can start having infertility, they have problems with weight loss, they have problems with their thyroid, often, and so many other symptoms that are linked with that. And so that's PCOS. It’s definitely… The beautiful thing about is that it is reversible. Okay. It just takes a lot of work.
It seems to the lay person, it seems to me that on like, how is it misdiagnosed so much? Like, I would think that on an ultrasound, wouldn't you be able to see that the ovaries are either swollen or that they aren't measuring correctly?
Dr. P 13:03
That's an excellent point. Now, yes, and no. So the first thing is that on ultrasound, yes, we may be able to see those, but you can have PCOS and not have that one factor. So two out of those three things are what is most common. Some people will have all three. So it's not mandatory. And you would need to have an ultrasound ordered to be able to see that. And most people… You know, when you go to the doctor is it's very important that you talk about what you're feeling. And this is kind of what I promote to my audience all the time. You won't know something is happening with you, unless you tell us. Speak to us every symptom, know your periods inside and out so that if you're missing them, that it doesn't become like something that is just forgotten that you're just like, well, I think I haven't had a period for four months. You know, those are important signs that you need to communicate to your doctor. So I recommend knowing your body because we start to evaluate your system based on what you record and tell us.
Okay, because it makes me think of when people hate me for this, but I tend to have a really light period and it's usually like only around four days. So if I'm consistent like that, and then suddenly my periods are six or seven days long, and they're heavier, it might still be a quote unquote, normal period, but it's not normal for me. So that's what you're talking about. Okay.
Dr. P 14:25
Yes, yeah. So you want to pay attention to your bodies. But out you know, it's surprising sometimes to know that some people don't realize that they've been skipping periods because they're just living lives and they're just like, they kind of forget that. It's important to know when your period started and the length in and how long your cycles are. So there’s basic information, but something that a lot of people don't practice. So I recommend them no and so that once you start skipping a period, this is an alert, something should go off in your mind that says something is wrong and then this is when you go and see your provider so they can start the process of evaluating.
Okay. You know, because I'm 47 now, and I say for the first time since I've been pregnant, I skipped two periods. I called… I think I think I told I told my audience this my podcast people this. I called… Because my OBGYN had told me at my yearly, she's like, if things get out of whack, just call us and let us know what's going on. So I called and I talked to the nurse. And she said, what did the pregnancy test say? And I was like, a pregnancy test. I'm 47. My husband said to me… and she said, we need you to take one anyway. Because you just, it could happen, you know? Yes. And my husband just about keeled over and he went, he immediately went to Dollar General and got me a pregnancy test and he handed it to me, I'm like, you me take it. Like literally right now. He's like, literally right now. It came back negative. So okay, and then and then my period started back up again, like, like, oh, we're late you forgot.
Dr. P 15:57
That is, that's like the only time where once you start getting into a perimenopausal state, which is where you are now, that's all the time that is kind of okay to skip. And that skipping is like completely odd. So the conditions were skipping a period is essentially acceptable. Pregnancy, this is why we always ruled that out first, you want to make sure but. Pregnancy, perimenopause, or menopause, or if you have not entered puberty. Outside of that if those three conditions don't apply, and this is excluding being on medications or conditions, many people are going through like cancer treatment or are on medicines that may cause you to not ovulate and have periods or being on birth control. So outside of those things that may cause you to skip periods, if you they're not happening every single month, then yes, you've got to contact your provider.
So what age is it that like for your patients, if one of your patients called and said, you know, I skipped a period, if she's 45, would you think that's normal? Is that like kind of the age?
Dr. P 16:58Well, we will still go through the same steps. Now, perimenopause can start as early as seven or eight years before menopause. Menopause, on average, happens at the age of 51. And so as early as 40 to 43, people may start to start skipping periods and so as long as you are being evaluated, and then something else isn't happening in the background, like PCOS, that can start in the low 40s. Right? So this is why it's important to see your doctor to evaluate other things that may cause you to skip your periods. Now, everything else is, L testing is done, everything comes back completely negative, then we will say that you're likely perimenopausal or you're starting to, you know, knock on that door. So that could be the reason why you're having that.
Okay. And is PCOS under the umbrella? Is it an autoimmune disorder?
Dr. P 17:47
No, it is not as a condition. And so that's what this is the reason why it's kind of reversible, because why you could have like autoimmune diseases, you can have diabetes, these are diseases. PCOS is not a disease, it's a condition. And because of that, it is a reflection of an imbalance. If you correct that imbalance, then you're able to correct the problem and then it's almost as if it's not there anymore.
Okay. Let's move into uterine fibroids. Talk to us about what those are.
Dr. P 18:17
Yeah, so fibroids, now opposite from PCOS fibroids are very, very common. Most females, at some point will have fibroids. And a lot of us have them and do not know they're there. Okay? So about 80% of all females, any age, have fibroids or will have fibroids during their lifetime. Now, fibroids, the good thing about them is that 98% of them are not cancerous. Thy are growths. There is a mass it is like a solid mass that is growing inside of your uterus to your uterine lining to some degree. And so with that, fibroids can cause a lot of problems. And so some people may have them and not have any symptoms whatsoever, which is why they may not know that fibroids are there.
So what are the symptoms? Symptoms are irregular bleeding, heavy bleeding, heavy bleeding to the degree that is heavier than your normal cycle would be and they can cause you to bleed in between your cycles, cause you to bleed after sexual activity, you can have heavier bleeding where it just seems like you know when your periods come is like you are opening up a floodgate. There's just so much blood, so much blood clots, you're filling up pads, every hour or tampons every hour. That is all completely abnormal. And but if you do have fibroids, and they're in the inside layer of your uterus, this is where they may cause a lot of heavy bleeding, sometimes leading you to the point where you're even anemic or need a blood transfusion. It can get pretty bad. Patients will show up to the emergency room sometimes found in a coma or passed out from heavy bleeding suddenly from a fibroid.
Now for the majority of people, they have fibroids and they have no symptoms and so you might not know that they're there. Now the interesting thing about fibroids as well as that fibroids, you can have 10 fibroids and have no symptoms, and you can have one fibroid and have all the symptoms in the world. Or you can have a very small fibroid the size of like a blueberry and, you know, everything is chaotic in your system and you can have someone else with a fibroid the size of like, a grapefruit and have no symptoms. It is very interesting.
Andrea 20:33Do now do PCOS and fibroids, is that something that like if your mother or grandmother or sister has them, then you're likely to today tend to run in families like that?
Dr. P 20:43
Well, yes, for fibroids, which is why most females may have fibroids, and again, you may know you might not know that you have them but they're their PCOS a little bit different because that is now really mostly based on your lifestyle. It is based on your physical body here and now and what's happening with it. We're still doing a lot of research, you know, as much as 2023 and we want medicine to be in our minds are gone. We're not there yet. There's so much more research is needed. And so we're still trying to understand even the basis of fibroids and PCOS. But right now fibroids, yes, and PCs no.
Okay, got it. Well, I want to I want to touch on for those of my listeners who are trying to get pregnant or may want to get pregnant in the future, what are the… You talk about five signs of fertility, that you know, you're in your fertile window? Okay. And I know this. This is long out of the loop that you can now they have like a piano stick type of things that tells you if you're ovulating?
Dr. P 21:51
Are those accurate?
Dr. P 21:56
They actually are for the most part. You know, every brand is a little bit different. And but for the most part, they work really, really, really well because we know that at the point of ovulation that certain hormones are elevated in our system that causes all of the population to occur. And so we asked when you pee on the stick if those hormones are present, usually…
And when I when I glanced at them, I was like, that’d be a lot to buy one every month.
Dr. P 22:21
But here's the thing. Now, if some people who are either suffering from infertility, or they have irregular periods, and they don't know when their periods will come, or they don't know when they'll ovulate, people are spending and testing every single day trying to catch that ovulation because it varies so drastically for them. And so yes, infertility all in all can be extremely expensive.
Yeah, I imagine. I mean, I can understand like that you'd want to you'd want to know and especially for someone who really is struggling with infertility.
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So what are the five signs of fertility? I know that one of them isn't it like your mucus is like egg yolky? Like an egg white. Okay. People can't see what I'm doing like my thumb and forefinger back and forth.
Dr. P 24:41
But yes, so they're definitely physical signs that change and one of them is having that egg white discharge.
…You should probably call your OBGYN. It might be a problem.
Dr. P 24:54
You know, you don’t want a yoke down there. Not at all, but, but the egg white is such like that. Really good. You know, sometimes I think having analogies, comparing, you know, like with food is just kind of weird because I'm just like, every time I open up an egg, it's just like a cracked egg. And here is right this is weird. But it is actually a very good analogy because whilst some people may not notice this, because, you know, our discharges may come out in a different amount, and it changes from day to day. So, it's very different from person to person. But for those who are very in tune with their discharge, they will notice that they have this egg white type of discharge around the time of ovulation. And yes, it's a little bit more sticky. And yes, you can touch it. And yes, it's okay. And you might not see like a whole egg white on your underwear, but that is actually what's happening on the inside. It’s biology’s beautiful way to help sperm to help procreation, right, to help sperm to come in. So it's like a slippery slope for them. But that's definitely one of the causes are one of the signs that you can look for.
In general, I always start by having the conversation and knowing your cycles. Knowing them very, very well. The more that you can predict is, the more that you can know when your fertility window has occurred. And so if you know this well, you want to count back 14 days from the anticipated period date to know that you're actually in this window. And if you're in that window, some people may start to have breast tenderness, and breasts changes due to those hormonal changes. Sometimes you can even have a mood change around the time, you know. Some people may feel like they're their sex drive has just ignited like …
That happened… Not as much anymore now that I'm 47 but definitely, I felt that. I was like looking around, you know it at men that I might not be looking at. It was weird. It was it was weird at times, especially, like in my late 30s, I really started to feel it. I used to joke and say like, my ovaries are having like a going on a business sale. Get on it.
Dr. P 27:15
And some people become more aware over time, and some people become less aware, too. And so yes, this is, once you realize that's happening. And you realize the change is kind of good, because if you're not trying to get pregnant, and you're not using a birth control method, it might be that signal to stay away and keep it all away.
Okay, so it's increased libido, the egg white, the discharge, and what else are we missing? So, the counting back.
Dr. P 27:44
You’re counting back so you know that you're in your window. And one of the best signs really, which were kind of I should have probably been a little bit clearer is knowing the number one way that you can know that you're fertile is by having irregular periods that that are predictable. So that means that you are having periods of length or a menstrual cycle the length of between 21 days and 35. And so if your periods are coming consistently, then it tells us that you are fertile, because you need to ovulate. If when you ovulate, an egg dies is signals to your system to have a period. And so we know that you're fertile, because you're ovulating and you're making eggs.
Okay, okay. Can we talk about supplements? My social media feeds are full of different experts and we hear sometimes conflicting information about what supplements to take. And so for women, specifically, especially women that either still have their uterus or might not have their uterus like is that different? Like, I know that I think you had a blog post where you talked about, like the seven supplements that every woman should be taking, whether she's in her 20s, or whether she's in her 70s or anywhere in between. Can you can you talk about those?
Dr. P 28:58
Yeah, so here's the thing. In general, what I recommend, number one is that we eat a balanced diet across the board. Because it is healthier for your body to get the nutrients, the micronutrients which are all the vitamins from your foods, if you can eat them rather than supplements. And so, you know, there's a lot of controversy, a ton when it comes to vitamins and supplements and isn't needed as a not is this, you know, the problem with the industry. There's a lot there. But what we do know, all together as all medical professionals is that micronutrients are very important and they help our bodies function well. And so regardless of whether or not you still have a uterus or you still have a vagina, or if you're going through different medical conditions, yes. All those normal average micronutrients are very important. So we're talking about the vitamin E, the vitamin B's like a B complex, super important. We're talking about having omega threes. We're talking about these things that are very important to the function of our bodies, regardless of the ages that we're in. But if we can get them from the foods, I recommend getting them from the foods first. Now, how do we kind of ensure that that happens, your meal should really kind of be colorful and if it's colorful, then you're likely hitting these micronutrients.
Now, if you're just like, Listen, I don't eat a colorful plate. I eat a lot of fast food, or I'm on the go all the time, or I'm very busy, I'm not able to cook my meals, then yes, I would recommend going for vitamins and supplements to kind of help to supplement your body and what's missing. And so key ones that I would say for sure, like I mentioned, B complex, very, very, very, very, very important. A complex really, essentially says that there are at least 12 B vitamins and when you have the complex in incorporates multiple different versions of those B’s in that complex. Some people may have a multivitamin that incorporates that as well. So you might not need to take you know, like 10, or 12 pills, maybe your multivitamin will have that. Vitamin D super, super, super, super, super, super, super important. So you want to make sure that your levels are up to par with that. The wonderful thing with vitamin D is that levels can be checked. So if you've not had your levels checked, you may want to talk to your primary care doctor about that at your next visit to make sure that you are aware and make sure that you have enough. Vitamin E very important for the female and it's important for our skin, the vaginal area, helping us with our lubrication, and the elasticity that we want to remain in the vaginal space. Especially if you start getting to the point of becoming perimenopausal and menopausal. What happens is that prior to menopause, we have estrogens in our system. And estrogens are wonderful to a certain degree, right. And so they're wonderful and maintaining our skin texture and the way we feel and all these things. Once we start getting through perimenopause to menopause, then as that estrogen goes down, our skin elasticity changes, where it doesn't become as elastic anymore, which can cause a lot of friction and pain, especially with sexual activity and feeling dry. So Vitamin E is a key component in helping to retain that elasticity. Vitamins K is very important to help function well. Calcium, amazing. We really want calcium, especially if you are transitioning into that menopausal state as well. Once we hit the age of 30, our bone density decreases every single day that we're living. And so what does that really mean? Well, essentially, your bone strength is going down every day. And so the more brittle your bones become, is the more likelihood that you can get fractures and breaks to your bones very easily, and sometimes from very little force being applied to those bones. And so calcium goes along with vitamin D as well to make sure that we're maintaining that as we get older and transition towards different decades of life.
Okay, yeah. I felt like it was such a game changer when I started taking vitamin D and the B 12 I think it was. The vitamin D test came back super low. And we're like, okay, you know, and it's always kind of, so it's kind of nice when something is like glaring at you on the page that you can fix. And it went up and my doctor even said, she's like, I'd actually like to see your vitamin D be even higher. I can't remember what it was. Like it was within the normal range, but it was still kind of on the lower side and so we made some adjustments, but that was a huge game changer. And I also found I'll put the link in the show notes. I found an Omega three supplement that doesn't give you the fish burps.
Dr. P 34:11
Oh, that's a pleasure.
It's the Barleans brand and they're in the capsules. I don't know what they do to it, but anyway, I thought that was that was so much better than having those gross fish burps.
Dr. P 34:27
Those fish burps you can actually get it from a lot of different things like black seed oil, which is also another supplement that can be very beneficial, providing like lots of antioxidants for your body. But if you think the omegas give you a fish burp when you try that is on another level. Like it’s a lot.
Did you say black seed?
Dr. P 34:49
I don't think you've ever heard of that one.
Dr. P 34:49
Yeah. So there are lots of different supplements and oils that actually help to add to the amount of good fats that we have in our system and black seed is one of them. But yeah, that after they after effects is it within like 10 to like 30 minutes after taking it is just the breath. Everything changes about you. It’s almost like garlic, you know. If you have like a lot of garlic, strong garlic you want to kind of take a break for a little while before you speak, you know, really, of course.
It's not even out of your breath, like a certain point like… Because I if I feel like I'm getting a cold, I haven't done this in a while, but I would get a clove of garlic, chop it up and then put it in a spoon with a tiny bit of honey on it and just swallow it. Nobody wanted to be around me after that. I wasn't even talking. Like that's what my husband said, he's like, it's coming out of your pores like you just smell like garlic.
Dr. P 35:43
Yeah, you know, they're pretty strong.
It did work. I haven't done in a while. It's powerful. It's powerful stuff.
Dr. P 35:51
I did want to add in there, as we're talking about the supplements too like a couple of other important ones that I didn't dive into yet, but I think are really important and I like to bring it to the forefront of audiences. One of them is iron. Iron. You know, because we are females and we're menstruators and you know, people with vaginas, we are losing a certain amount of iron every single time that you have a menstrual cycle. And so it's important to check your levels with your doctors as well. And if you are low to supplement. Now, everyone doesn't need an iron supplement, but those who do it is so important because the lower your iron gets the one less amount of oxygen that has been delivered to your organs. So you're not feeling well, you're feeling tired, you're feeling fatigued, you don't have energy, your heart might be palpitating or beating really fast in your chest. There's so many different symptoms that can be linked with iron alone. So it's super important to know where you lie and what your levels are, are like with that.
And the second thing, which I think for me is really kind of maybe number one is, if you are in reproductive age, that means you're between puberty and you're between puberty and menopause, that you take a folic acid. And folic acid, it actually may come in different forms. So you can have folic acid or folate. But this is very important if you have a chance or possibility or trying to get pregnant. If you're on birth control, and you're just like, listen, we're not doing this, there's not a part of my plan. We don't need this completely okay. But if you're not on birth control, and there's a possibility or likelihood of pregnancy, taking folic acid before you know that you're pregnant, is very important because in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, this is where the origins of a new human being develops. And folic acid allows for that development to go normally. And so oftentimes, when we figure out or we know that we are pregnant, we've now, we're far along the process, we're well into these 10 weeks and so, you know, I just had a patient whose baby doesn't have any lower body and this is she's still pregnant. And this these things happen, and sometimes it may be due to the fact that enough folic acid was not in your system as those important organs and lemons and everything was developing. So take a folic acid or folate, or a prenatal vitamin that already has in place just in case.
One last question before we say goodbye. I wanted to ask you… We talked about it a little bit but it's kind of a general question or what are your tips for having a quote unquote healthy vagina, just in general about all the supplements to take.
Dr. P 39:01
So my number one tip is do very little and it's probably the best tip that I have because we tend to feel like especially with the consumer market that so much is marketed to our vaginas and indirectly it almost makes us think that the way our vaginas are right now is not normal or is not good or something needs to change or maybe I need to do this to make it better. And so know that your vagina as is great is great at its function and it's doing what it needs to do completely by itself.
So cleaning organ.
Dr. P 39:39
Yes. You don't need to add things to it to make it better. Now if you have an infection that's a different story. But you want to do very little. So top tips. Wash with water only. Okay, do not put anything in your vagina, do not douche, do not throw that don't put a like a showerhead. I have you heard it all in your vagina to wash it or clean it, you don't need to do that, leave it alone, let it clean itself, use water. If you do want to wash your vulva lips, so those are the lips out like in between your legs, then I would recommend water number one, or using a liquid wash. And the liquid is because there are a lot of things in our products that are being absorbed into our systems through our vaginas. And so the chemicals that are used to formulate a hard soap is very harsh for the vulva, the vagina, and can lead to cancers within our system or female reproductive tract. And so trying to use less of those harsh chemicals is best for your body. So that would be my number two tip. Third tip I would say is no underwear. You know, I almost want to say that it's really kind of up there with number one, but you know, it's close on the list. But skip the underwear, let your vagina and your vulva breathe, breathe, breathe. Try not to wear tight clothing and things that kind of kind of squishes your vulva and your vagina because that becomes unhealthy for your vagina. So I would say those are my top tips to keep everything clean and well done there.
Okay, my mom always told me… because since I was little about using a washcloth down there, using it one time, like don't reuse, you know, don't wring it out and let it sit out and, dry and then use it again. So that's just what I've always done. I mean, is that…
Dr. P 41:37
I don't support the washcloth because those can be very abrasive. You know, I mean, think of our vaginas. I often compare it to…
I’m very gentle Dr. P. Like I'm not going out there…
Dr. P 41:51
I don't think there is a washcloth out there that is gentle enough for me to approve me used to it.
But I'm not like scrubbing grout, you know?
Dr. P 42:03
Yes, definitely don't scrub. So if you do then yeah, don't scrub, you don't need to go back and forth. You don't need to spend five minutes, you know, scrubbing out there. But think about this, you know, when you brush your teeth, you're not brushing the inside self, your cheeks, right the skin, we don't ever scrub that area, that area is a similar tissue that we have in our vulva. And so the same way we brush our teeth we brush her tongue, but we're not pressing the sides of our insides of the mouth. We don't need to do the same down there. Because is the area the skin cells are so thin, that when you start scratching it with another material of any kind, you're causing little micro cuts in the skin. And then once you have a cut, you've now broken the barrier that your body has to prevent infection in things from happening. So when you do that, and you open up your skin, now you're causing the likelihood of getting infections and problems a lot more because your body is now open to the world. And that protection is no longer there. That is, though, yeah, so I'd recommend, you know going with that if you can, if you're just like I'm addicted, this is what I know, softer, softer, and yes, just washing once.
Okay, got it. And the last question is, where do you want people to go to learn more about you and the things that you offer? I know you're @CallMeDrP and that link will be in the show notes. But you have like coaching and consulting and masterminds and all that kind of good stuff, right?
Dr. P 43:29
Yes, yes, yes. And so my website, CallMeDrP.com is a great way for you to get an overall idea of all the different services that I offer. One of the biggest programs that we have going right now is for people who are searching for balance. People who have hormone imbalances, people with PCOS, people having problems trying to conceive, anything that's linked with the hormonal state of our reproductive system, I have a mastermind program called Madame Estrogen where we teach you and help you to naturally balance your body and balance your hormones. And all that information is on the website. If you'd much rather just get daily information from videos and things like that, then my social handles on TikTok and Instagram is the same @CallMeDrP. And I'm excited because my YouTube just launched so now there are lots of videos going up about all these common, you know, questions and things that as females we want to learn more about. So I have lots of great information that's being offered and so you can check them out.
Your YouTube channel. Okay, awesome. Thank you so much that Yeah, that'll all be in the show notes.
Dr. P 44:45
The YouTube handle is the same as well @CallMeDrP.
Thank you so much for being here and having these conversations that sometimes they get missed and it's all I tell my listeners and like you can't you can't work on your mental and emotional state if your physical state isn't working really well, and so I appreciate it these conversations so much. Thank you again, everyone for being here. You know how much I appreciate the time that you spend with me and my guests. And remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye for now.
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