Megan Assaf had extremely painful periods from the beginning. In her late 20s, she found out her uterus was upside down, folded in half, off to the left and stuck behind her colon. She didn’t learn this from a doctor, but from a holistic healer working in a tradition that comes from the Maya people of Belize. What’s more, Megan got her uterus repositioned, and learned how to do this very hands-on work herself. Megan Assaf is a massage therapist who works with women, and has moved hundreds of uteruses, including Andrea’s.
This interview was originally recorded in 2012 for the Sound Medicine Radio Hour. Listen to "Can Abdominal Massage Help Painful Menstruation?"
This is the last episode of Season One of LadyParts. Thanks to Melissa Davis, Eamon Linehan, Brendon Linehan, Nikki Katz, and Rev Kev Ewing at Baobab Tree Studios in New Haven for their help and support this season. The Ladyparts theme song is by Adam Ragusea. Other music in this episode by Meavy Boy. Our logo is by Jamie Squire.
As always, we appreciate a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. If you’re interested in sponsoring a second season, please shoot us an email at email@example.com.
This episode is a conversation with Hanifa Nayo Washington and Thema Haida, two women healers who recently opened a holistic healing center in New Haven, Connecticut. The center is called One Village Healing and it’s a bit different from other holistic health spaces you may have been to - it runs on the values of Healing Justice. That means collective healing from injustice and systems of oppression. Ladyparts takes a wide view on women’s health, and we’re not going to focus on reproductive health today. Rather, we invite you to think about how this approach to caring for ourselves can improve the health of women, people of color, people with disabilities, and other marginalized groups.
Midwives are specialists in normal physiologic birth, but only about 12 percent of babies in the US are delivered by midwives. In this episode, two midwives make the case for how better integration of midwifery into the US medical system could help lower this country's high rate of maternal mortality, cut down on unnecessary interventions, and make birth a more dignified, healthier experience for moms. First, Joan Combellick, puts midwifery and US maternal health outcomes in a global context. Then, Stephanie Mitchell speaks to the experiences of black women in the maternal health system, and the importance of being an advocate for her patients.
Guest 1: Joan Combellick, CNM, MPH, PhD. Joan Combellick is a certified nurse midwife with 25 years of clinical experience in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Joan is currently working as a Women's Health Research Fellow at the Connecticut VA Health System
Guest 2: Stephanie Mitchell, CNM, MSN, DNP. Stephanie Mitchell is an advance practice Certified Nurse Midwife in private practice in Providence, Rhode Island. Prior to becoming a midwife she worked for ten years as a labor and delivery nurse at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Follow Stephanie on Instagram @doctor_midwife and check out her podcast, Doctor Midwife- at Your Cervix.
March is endometriosis awareness month. But here’s the thing about these months: they tend to highlight something we should be paying more attention to all the time. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus (called “the endometrium”), is found outside the uterus, where it causes a chronic inflammatory reaction.
Symptoms include painful periods, painful ovulation, painful sex, heavy bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, and fatigue. It’s also a major cause of infertility. The disease affects an estimated one in ten women in their reproductive years.
In Episode One, we took a deep dive into Orilissa, a new hormonal drug developed to treat endometriosis. This time, we’re zooming out.
Guests: Lucky Church, supportive husband of an endometriosis patient Linda Griffith, PhD, Founder & Director, Center for Gynopathology Research, School of Engineering, MIT, and endometriosis patient Serdar E. Bulun, MD, Chair Dept. OB/GYN, Northwestern Univ. & Prentice Women’s Hospital Amy Jane Melhuish, patient and advocate launching the EndoGate™ portal, a "global information superhighway" for patients and practitioners Marc Possover, MD, President of the International Society Of Neuropelveology and Director, Possover International Medical Center Tamer Seckin, MD, Attending physician Lenox Hill Hospital and Founder, Endometriosis Foundation of America
Ladyparts is hosted and produced by Andrea Muraskin, in partnership with Baobab Tree Studios in New Haven, Connecticut. Production help this week from Melissa Davis. The Ladyparts logo is by Jamie Squire, and our theme song is by Adam Ragusea.
Thanks to the Endometriosis Association of America for welcoming us at their annual conference.
Guest Ariel Vegosen is a gender inclusivity trainer and sex educator who is proud to be kinky, queer, and genderblended. No matter your gender identity, Ariel says expanding your understanding of gender benefits everyone. Andrea and Ariel discuss life beyond the gender binary, femininity, polyamory, self-love, strap-on sex and more.
Learn more about Ariel Vegosen’s work at genderillumination.com, shinediversity.com, polyexcellent.com.
Support Ladyparts on Patreon and get access to extended cuts of this and other interviews. Join the conversation on our closed Facebook group or like our public page.
Get in touch @Andrea_Muraskin on Twitter and @andreamuraskin on Instagram
Interested in sponsoring this podcast? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ladyparts is hosted and produced by Andrea Muraskin. Production help this time from Kevin Ewing at Baobab Tree Studios and Abby Maddan. Editorial support for this episode from Lewis Wallace. The Ladyparts logo is by Jamie Squire, and our theme song is by Adam Ragusea. Other music for this episode by Blue Dot Sessions.
This episode explores the mind-body connection from two very different angles. We hear Functional Medicine doctor and OBGYN Jessica Wei on how stress, hormones and the gut affect mental health and mood in women in particular.
Psychoanalyst Jamieson Webster speaks about how women diagnosed with hysteria changed the way we treat mental illness, and why that seemingly outdated diagnosis still matters today. Jamieson's new book is Conversion Disorder: Listening to the Body in Psychoanalysis
Also in the episode: a criminal justice reform package that somehow made it through Congress helps pregnant and menstruating prisoners.
Get access to extended cuts of these and future interviews when you become a Ladyparts patron. (Yes, we're on Patreon!)
Ladyparts is on Facebook. Like our page or request access to the private group.
Other ways to get in touch: Twitter @andrea_muraskin, Instagram @andreamuraskin, email email@example.com
Episodes from other podcasts we recommend: "Nursing the Mind" from Antidotes, Stories in Medicine "Resting Botox Face" from Household Name
Ladyparts is hosted and produced by Andrea Muraskin. Production help this month from Melissa Davis. The Ladyparts logo is by Jamie Squire, and our theme song is by Adam Ragusea. Other music for this episode by Blue Dot Sessions and Meavy Boy.
If you liked this episode or even if you didn’t, consider giving it a rating in Apple Podcasts, iTunes, or Stitcher. Thanks so much for listening.
No-one wants to be in pain. In previous episodes we’ve discussed ways to help alleviate menstrual pain with medication, acupressure, herbs, and even surgery. But aside from not being in pain, if you bleed, when you bleed, what do you want?
In this episode, we explore the concept of creating a special place in time and space for menstruation. Sometimes this happens by choice, as in the practice of “conscious menstruation,” and sometimes it’s enforced, as under cultural or religious taboos. What can we learn from taking a step back, turning away, in whatever small way, from society, from routine, and attuning to our internal cycle?
Links referenced in this episode:
The Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute
Sacred Artist and Hebrew Priestess-in-training Bekah Starr
Call for submissions for "Cycles," a menstruation-based art show in Beacon, NY, curated by Bekah Starr (Deadline January 5, 2019)
"A Girl Gets Her Period, And Is Banished To The Shed" 2015 NPR story on menstrual seclusion in Nepal, by Michaeleen Doucleff and Jane Greenhalgh, featuring Prakriti Kandel
Non-profits working on menstruation sanitation and safety for women and girls: Nepal Water for Health, Wateraid, united.org/">Wash United
Inflection Point with Lauren Schiller
Ladyparts is hosted and produced by Andrea Muraskin. Production help this month from Melissa Davis, Eamon Linehan , and Will Stratton. Parts of this episode were recorded at Boabab Tree Studios in New Haven, Connecticut. The Ladyparts logos are by Jamie Squire, and our theme song is by Adam Ragusea. Other music for this episode by Blue Dot Sessions and Brevyn. Special thanks to Taya Shere.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) presents a completely different framework for understanding the body, and can be used on its own or in concert with conventional medicine. Guest Erik Harris is a holistic healing practitioner based in Connecticut. He holds a certificate in TCM from the Wu Healing Center in West Hartford, Connecticut, and he also has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Springfield College. Erik explains the TCM concepts of yin and yang, energy meridians and more. Plus: Chinese medicine approaches to infertility, painful periods and menopause symptoms.
Research on Traditional Chinese Medicine for Women's Healthcare
Effects of acupoint-stimulation for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhoea compared with NSAIDs: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 RCTs BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2017
Acupuncture and women’s health: an overview of the role of acupuncture and its clinical management in women’s reproductive health, Int J Womens Health, 2014
Effects of moxibustion or acupoint therapy for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: a meta-analysis. Altern Ther Health Med, 2014
Treatment of menopausal symptoms with Er-xian decoction: a systematic review. Send to Am J Chin Med. 2008
Credits Production help for this episode from Melissa Davis, and from Eamon Linehan. Parts of this episode were recorded at Boabab Tree Studios in beautiful downtown New Haven, Connecticut. The Ladyparts logo is by Jamie Squire, and our theme song is by Adam Ragusea. Other music for this episode by Blue Dot Sessions.
Get in touch/share
To make informed decisions about our health, we have to break taboos against publicly discussing our basic bodily functions - and most perplexing symptoms. Ladyparts takes a wide view, attempting to bridge the divide between mainstream medicine and holistic healthcare, and consider all of our options.
The reproductive disorder endometriosis affects one in ten women. It can cause debilitating periods, pelvic pain and infertility. Endometriosis is most often treated with birth control pills or surgery. But this summer, the FDA approved the first ever medication formulated specifically to treat this disease. Elagolix, or Orilissa, suppresses the estrogen that fuels endometriosis, without putting the body into a full-blown menopausal state, as older drugs did. Yet expert disagree on its efficacy. And with a price tag of $1000 a month, is Orilissa worth it?
Caitlin McDonough, endometriosis patient and advocate
Hugh Taylor, MD, reproductive endocrinologist, chief of OBGYN at Yale- New Haven Hospital and endometriosis researcher
David Redwine, MD, founder of the Oregon Institute of Endometriosis at St. Charles Medical Center, Bend, Oregon and expert in endometriosis surgery
Report from phase III elagolix trials, New England Journal of Medicine
review.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/ICER_Elagolix_Final_Evidence_Report_080318.pdf">ICER report on clinical and economic effectiveness of elagolix, full text
review.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/ICER_Endometriosis_RAAG_080318.pdf">ICER report, at-a-glance version
Endometriosis patient information and advocacy:
endopaedia.info (Dr. Redwine’s website)
[Endometropolis Facebook group] (this is a private patient group, you must request access)
Ladyparts is hosted and produced by Andrea Muraskin, with editing help this week from Jenn Stanley. Special thanks to Casey Berna and Lucy Gellman. The Ladyparts logo is by Jamie Squire. Our theme song is by Adam Ragusea. Other music in this episode was provided by Blue Dot Sessions.
Get in touch/share:
Please rate and review!
To make informed decisions about our health, women have to break taboos against publicly discussing our basic bodily functions - and most perplexing symptoms. Ladyparts takes a wide view. We're attempting to ford the river dividing mainstream medicine and holistic healthcare, and consider all of our options.
This podcast is also about the decisions we make as a society that impact women’s bodies, minds, and wellbeing. We’ll look at where the healthcare system supports us, and where it lets us down hard. We’ll think about female bodies in the working world, and how we can bend the paradigm towards gender parity. Transgender and non-binary people have a seat at this table; and yeah, even cisgender guys who care. We’re greater than the sum of our parts... (But the sum of our parts is pretty frickin great too).
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