Stock Image, src: Jean Hailes for Women’s Health

I recently had a patient who had been misdiagnosed by two prior surgeons before seeing me. Being elderly, wheelchair dependent, and knowing limited English, I believe that her complaints of urinary leak and pelvic pain were overlooked. She is a primarily Mandarin-speaking woman of Chinese-heritage. She is what we physicians consider medically complicated; we often sum up a patient like this as having “multiple medical morbidities.”

Additionally, her pelvic floor issues are longstanding. She has had multiple prior pelvic surgeries, including one in the last couple of years for vaginal bulge, as well as a mesh sling for urinary incontinence…

A Johnson and Johnson ad from the early 1980s (Image source: Reuters)

I was talking to a friend about the new vaccine coming from Johnson and Johnson, and his immediate response was, “Isn’t that the company that was killing Black people?” I admit that I was only peripherally aware of the history behind Johnson and Johnson (JnJ) with the Black community. After a little deep diving, I found that their company has a long history involving ovarian cancer lawsuits, targeting Black women, and propagating the myth that a fresh vagina is a sweetly-scented vagina.

By Dr. Aldene Zeno

What is the JnJ COVID-19 Vaccine?

On February 27, 2021, the FDA approved an emergency use authorization for a third…

As a medical student I had an eye-opening rotation in obstetrics and gynecology at Baguio General Hospital.

This is from another international experience I had in Daet, Philippines, though the procedure room at Baguio General Hospital was similar to this

By Dr. Aldene Zeno

I worked as a sub-intern in obstetrics and gynecology at Baguio General Hospital, Baguio City, Philippines, in 2012. I was fortunate to schedule this month-long, international experience during medical school. I thought I was prepared: I was less than six months away from graduating medical school. I had already done my six-week, third-year clinical rotation in obstetrics and gynecology, a four-week family planning sub-internship at the University of Chicago, and a four-week sub-internship in maternal-child health at West Suburban…

Image Source: Getty Images via Fierce Healthcare

By Dr. Aldene Zeno

I’m on faculty at an academic hospital, and yesterday one of my fellows noticed that her Twitter feed was blowing up with a disturbing story: another male doctor accused of sexual misconduct. The unnamed plaintiff is suing members of the accused’s training institution, Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), for sexual assault. The $45 million lawsuit names a slew of faculty, including women prominent in the Times Up Healthcare campaign. …

But that doesn’t mean you should be on bedrest, either…

Me, six weeks postpartum, finding out that this is STILL the beginning of my recovery

By Dr. Aldene Zeno

Six weeks is commonly the timeframe many obstetricians advise “pelvic rest” for women after birth, which is the same advice many gynecologists give their patients after pelvic surgery. The typical spiel is that women during that time should avoid anything inside the vagina, including intercourse, tampons, and submersion in water (ex. hot tubs, pools, baths). In that same window, women are often advised to avoid heavy lifting and exercise. After that…

Image Source: Patient Engagement HIT via Getty Images

By Dr. Aldene Zeno

Virtual doctor visits go by many names, including “telehealth” and “telemedicine” or “telemed.” These include video and telephone visits, and the concept is not new: Physicians have used it for decades to provide guidance to colleagues across the globe, even in cross-continental surgeries. The Kaiser Permanente health system has also used telemed for decades — I remember when video visits were rolled out during my residency at a Kaiser almost 10 years ago.

Telehealth was not widely used until recently. For a long time, both patients and healthcare providers have wanted to offer more remote services…

Most of my clinical time has still been in office, but the pandemic did allow some time for me to work from home…and do leisurely reading in pregnancy
Most of my clinical time has still been in office, but the pandemic did allow some time for me to work from home…and do leisurely reading in pregnancy
Most of my pandemic clinics have been in person, but the occasional working from home gave me time for some leisure reading in pregnancy

By Dr. Aldene Zeno

There’s the old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but when most of the pregnancy book covers feature white women or white authors, I had to create my own diverse and inclusive reading list. So here it is:

I generally lose interest in non-fiction books, so I didn’t want the traditional “What to Expect…” literature to tell me about pregnancy. I wanted to read about how it feels to be pregnant. I was aware of the physical symptoms from my residency in obstetrics and gynecology. But I wanted to learn about the emotions and…

It depends…are you an urgent pee-er, or do you have a lazy bladder?

Huffington Post UK

By Dr. Aldene Zeno

When patients ask me about holding their urine, they usually fall into one of two groups: urgent pee-ers or over-stretched bladders. As I mention below, how often one goes to the bathroom is not an issue until it starts to affect quality of life. There is, however, a happy medium when it comes to how long to wait to urinate.

If you are unable to suppress the urge to go to the bathroom, this, by definition, is urinary urgency. In some women, this…

Dr. Crumpler, the first Black woman M.D. (left), and Dr. Nunez-Smith, chair of the first COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force

The first Black woman enrolled in medical school over 150 years ago, named Dr. Rebecca Crumpler. She is receiving renewed attention due to National Black Women Physicians Day, inaugurated on February 8, 2021. In addition, the first ever advisor to the president on health equity is in the current administration, named Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. Black women are currently just under 3% of all physicians, so Drs. Crumpler and Nunez-Smith are especially notable for their achievements against the odds.

Dr. Rebecca Crumpler, “Doctress of Medicine”

According to the NIH’s “Changing the Face of Medicine” project, Dr. Crumpler began her career as a nurse at 21 years old…

(And it’s a good thing!)

Photo credit: Elana Emar via The EyeOpener

I consider it a privilege to talk to my patients about sex. I won’t spill any details about particular patients here, but I’m often surprised that my patients can be so forthcoming about their sex lives. Is there any other setting where you meet someone and within five minutes hear details about her relationship, intimacy, or sexual activity?

As a urogynecologist, most of my patients are women that are mid-life and older. The common issues I see in my clinic are bladder leak (urinary incontinence) and vaginal bulge (pelvic organ prolapse), which are issues that…

Pelvic Health for Brown Girls

Bill Nye taught me everyone is a shade of brown. This is a forum for all females about all things female. Official blog for Dr. Aldene Zeno MD, urogynecologist.

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