A physician at Tempe’s Desert Wellness Center
When I think about women’s health and postpartum health, the first things I think about are pelvic health, hormone balance, and mental health maintenance.
When you Google women’s health and postpartum health, headlines nearly always only point to mental health factors. There’s probably a lot of positive things to be said for this focus as mental health is still often put on the back burner, but I would argue that we’re forgetting the realities of the rest of our bodies.
When women age, have babies, and go through all the hormonal changes associated with the female life, a lot can shift.
I recently met the folks at Tempe’s Desert Wellness Center and was so encouraged by their approach toward women’s health. I took some time earlier this month to talk with Dr. Barbara Ezrre. Our Q/A is below.
At Desert Wellness, you focus on a myriad of health issues. Your focus includes chronic fatigue, mental health, thyroid and hormonal imbalances, digestive health, and many other areas of focus. Can you summarize your work for us?
I prefer to focus on working with patients from the inside out and help them reach the normal they are so craving.
Typically, I see patients who have come to me after seeing multiple physicians who couldn’t pinpoint a digestive or hormonal imbalance. A lot of women have babies or go through menopause and just don’t feel like themselves. When they seek their doctor’s help, they are often told their labs are normal and then sent home with a prescription for an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t address the root cause of why they are not feeling well. Because I spend 1 ½ hours during the initial intake, I am able to go through a comprehensive head-to-toe of all of their symptoms to fully understand what they are feeling. Additionally, when I review labs, I am actually looking for the results to be in the optimal range, not just normal. Hormone imbalances can cause symptoms up to 10 years before the labs finally become abnormal.
As a result, I am able to diagnose hormone imbalances that are causing them to feel tired, run down, moody, foggy brain, loss of sex drive and difficulty losing weight. Using a blend of lifestyle counseling, nutritional supplementation, herbal medicine, and/or bio-identical hormones, I help women restore their vitality and feel like themselves again!
As a woman who has birthed two children and has one in the oven, maintaining my pelvic floor health and overall reproductive health is high on my list of priorities. I know you have a focus in pelvic health. What do you tell patients like me?
I think it’s really important to do the exercises necessary to maintain the strength of your pelvic floor muscles (i.e. kegels and pelvic floor lifts). I know it can be hard to manage exercising when you have kids, so even if you’re doing them at a red light when you’re driving or doing the dishes at night. Anything is better than nothing.
Here is a top five pelvic floor exercise list.
In addition to pelvic floor exercises, being proactive about reversing vaginal laxity is also important. Just like we lose collagen in our face, we lose collagen in the vaginal tissue causing it to become more lax, or stretched.
This contributes to bladder leakage and decreased sexual pleasure over time. In our office, we use the Geneveve Vaginal Rejuvenation treatment to tighten the vaginal tissue that has become lax after childbirth, hormonal changes or aging. Your life doesn’t have to revolve around the restroom and you can jump on a trampoline without leaking!
What is your most intriguing area of work at the Desert Wellness Center and in other areas of practice?
I really enjoy treating hormonal imbalances and pelvic floor health because it truly is a quality of life issue. It is difficult to live life to the fullest when you are struggling just to get through each day. It is deeply rewarding to help women not only feel great again, but see them enjoying life and going for their goals and dreams again!
What area of women’s health do you think is most underserved?
Definitely the hormonal balances and pelvic health of women. I am typically the first person people talk to about urinary leakage or sexual dysfunction. Most patients aren’t asked about these issues by their regular doctor or OBGYN.
At the end of the day, many women challenged with hormonal imbalances just aren’t being diagnosed appropriately.
I’m often asked by new moms how to best recover and reclaim health after giving birth. What advice do you give new moms?
Really try to focus on having as much down time as possible. Outside of the U.S., it’s just so much more common and acceptable for women to rest after childbirth. The actual physical pressure women put on their bodies after birth—when not resting—is a key determinant of recovery.
Whenever possible, delegating tasks and taking the time to really rest will be so key for your personal recovery!
Any other advice or thoughts on women’s health as a mom?
For me, the biggest thing was paying attention to what was happening with my hormones after having kids. Finding a provider who understands hormonal balance is huge. And finding ways to plug in self-care is necessary. Make it a ritual.
I was given two pieces of advices as I approached motherhood that I share whenever possible: