Episode 245: Komel Caruso, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer of HerMD

We couldn’t wait to speak with Komel Caruso, Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer of HerMD, a comprehensive women’s healthcare clinic that’s creating a safe, inclusive space for patients. We were particularly interested in HerMD’s mission in breaking the shame-cycle so often surrounding issues like menopause and sexual health. Komel founded HerMD with her sister Somi, inspired by their mother’s experience of being repeatedly dismissed by doctors when she was experiencing pain. While Somi had experience working as a doctor for 15 years, Komel had never worked in the medical field. What she did have was a desire to make an impact in women’s healthcare and experience in marketing and social strategy with 16 years of working for Kaplan under her belt.

The sisters noticed a trend in women not being believed (about their own bodies!) and wanted to fill this great void in women’s healthcare. One thing that makes HerMD stand apart is that all of their OB/GYNs are trained in menopause and sexual healthcare, which should sound like a given, right? Unfortunately, it’s not. Only 20 percent of OB/GYNs are trained in menopause and sexual health care. No wonder there can be such shame and stigma in talking about this stuff!

What started with one office quickly grew when Komel noticed patients were traveling to HerMD’s soul location from 35 states! Clearly the void was even greater than she or Somi had realized. Thanks to Komel’s background in business, what started out as helping her sister with a passion project became Komel’s full time job, and a saving grace to women all over the country.

To hear more of Komel’s career journey, tune in to this episode wherever you get your podcasts!

Dan Hodgdon
If you're in a job and it's not your calling, you can learn and soak everything up like a sponge.
Komel Caruso
AnnouncerWelcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™ hosted by Jodi Katz, Founder and Creative Director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.
Aleni MackareyHi, Jody, how's it going?
Jodi KatzAleni I am almost leaving for vacation not packed, but like close to packed. So my last day before we go on break, where I will not be checking emails and it'll be on a different timezone. So I am excited, although this week was like a sprint to get so much done. So I'm kind of really ready for a little break.
Aleni MackareyI'm so excited for you. It's nice when you have something that's so far away, you'll have to tell us where you're going. But it's nice when you have something that's so removed from the work world so that you actually can stay out of your email and take a true vacation. Where are you headed?
Jodi KatzWe are going to Paris with the kids. And David and I have been there a bunch of times I used to work for a French beauty company Lexington and Provence. So I got to go to Paris and other parts of France pretty often, which is very cool. And I think I didn't appreciate how awesome that was at the time because I was a bratty 20 Something year olds, but the kids have never been there and have a tween and a teen. And actually my tween is turning teen when we're there.
Aleni MackareyOh my gosh.
Jodi KatzYeah. So we're gonna have a lot of fun. We're gonna do five days in Paris. And then we're going to do of course two days at Disneyland Paris.
Aleni MackareyAmazing. So on brand for the Katz family. I have to send you the most amazing ghoul Andre is something I dream about. And I will go back there as often as I can. My life have so much fun. But let's talk a little bit about our episode for today. We have Komel Caruso, the co founder and chief growth Officer of Her MD.
Jodi KatzOkay, so Komel is I'll call her friend of the agency, we adore her. We've just actually spent like a really amazing night with her. I'm aleni and I were at the Melanoma Research Foundation Gala. And Komel was one of our dates, and we had so much fun together. And it was such a great night to raise money for an important cause and hear about all the innovation in Melanoma Research.
Aleni MackareyYeah, I love this event. We've gone for the past few years, and you really hear so many inspiring stories and meet so many people who are they're bringing people together and raising money for a great cause. And it was really special for us this year, we had so many friends at our table, and Komel being one of them. So tell me more about what she talks about in this episode.
Jodi KatzOh my god, what Komel is doing in Her MD is really next level, she and her sister her sister is an OB GYN they are growing her MD to be like the new way the new standard of care for women's health. I admire what they're doing so much. Basically, they're like rewriting the rules on how physicians can take care of their patients and what patients should expect. And I'm like, really amazed because it's hard work. This is you know, we're talking about like, you know, how do they run a business where they can spend 60 minutes with a patient and still make money, right? It's like very counter to the way that the industry works now and, um, how prosperous time doctors are and how many patients they have to see in a day just to make ends meet. So it's a huge Herculean task, and they're up for it. And they're going to do it. And I got to go to the opening of her New Jersey location a few weeks ago and it's packed is a packed room with like so many other leaders in women's health care. So it's incredible to see the whole community coming together around Her MD to help them bring it to life.
Aleni MackareyI love it. It's amazing. I loved hearing about this from Komel to she just talks about it with such a passion. And I related to it a little bit. My sister is a pediatrician and I lived with her during her residency and we always talked about how someday like I would do the business side of things and rework the whole residency experience. And Amelia could be my sister Amelia could be the healthcare side of it. So I love this sister journey and this sister business moment and women's health is really an area that we get into a lot at face beauty and I feel really lucky to be part of that conversation.
Jodi KatzOh my God, we love working with these brands and bringing attention to topics that really have been taboo or ignored. We were so thrilled and honored to help launch pause while aging which is a menopause focused skincare brand and we did an amazing job I have to say and doing that that was an incredible one of our favorites. We work with fun, funny clear, which is really fascinating. A brand that goes head to head with all those drugstore brands you know for vaginal health except they do with ingredients that you'd actually want to put inside of you. So we're really proud of all that work and I can't wait to see more brands like Her MD enter the space to really break through and change the way we do business because women I love it.
Aleni MackareyDefinitely more to come on this and 2024 Let's for now get to hear more about Mel's journey. This is episode 245 With Komel Caruso.
Jodi KatzWelcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™. We are a career journey podcast talking about what it's like to define success and reach for it in the beauty and wellness industries. Today we are continuing our health innovation theme quarter with Komel Caruso, co founder and chief growth Officer of her MD. She is a women's health advocate talking about all things sexual health, menopause and comprehensive women's health care. I'm excited to dive into the converse Asian about her career journey from education tech to health care you deserve all in Episode 245. Hi, Komel Welcome to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY™.
Komel CarusoHi, it's so good to be here. I didn't realize it was 245. That's amazing.
Jodi KatzSo a lot of episodes of it.
Komel CarusoYes, I love that.
Jodi KatzI keep going with the show because it's free coaching and free therapy for me, which is always really good.
Komel CarusoWe can always use therapy and coaching. Yes, I have a coach. I love her dearly.
Jodi KatzSo this is a career journey show. So what we love to do is start at the very, very beginning, right when we're kids, we all have fantasies about you know what career we're going to have when we grow up. So think back to your 11 year old self, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Komel CarusoSo I was really specific and what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a pediatric cardiologist like that was exactly what I wanted to do, which I don't know. I don't exactly know why. But that is what I wanted to do.
Jodi KatzSo did you pursue medical school?
Komel CarusoI did not pursue medical school, I did enter into college, pre med. I took a lot of AP math and science courses in high school. And I said, you know, that's what I'm gonna do. My older sister was in medical school at the time when I went into college as an undergrad. But about a year into pre med, I dropped and said, This is not this is not for me. I'm good at science. Not that good.
Jodi KatzThis is interesting, because I did a show with Ron Robinson. He's a cosmetic chemist, and he said his mom wanted him to be a doctor. And he started his first year medical school. And he's like, No. And his brothers became doctors just like your sister's a doctor. But it wasn't for him. So this is a theme today. And it's very appropriate considering this is our health theme quarter. So you know, we met through LinkedIn, which is so cool. And I'm always grateful for people who you know, are willing to make connections. I know there's a lot of spam and junk in LinkedIn. But I keep trying because sometimes like that's how you meet people. So thank you for responding to my LinkedIn notes so we can get to know each other.
Komel CarusoOh, yeah, of course. I love LinkedIn. Yes, there can be spam. But I have found very meaningful connections on LinkedIn. I've found team members on LinkedIn. And I've stayed connected with past colleagues who've connected me etc. On LinkedIn. So I love it as a platform.
Jodi KatzOkay, so let's talk about this journey. Because I want to spend most of our time talking about women's health, but you didn't go to medical school, your sister did that checkmark on for her. What did you think you would like? Where do you think you would land once you walked away from the pre med track?
Komel CarusoI honestly had no idea. I had a lot of different interests. I was taking psychology and a lot of courses there and really enjoyed that. And that was my major actually as an undergrad. So I thought perhaps I would be a psychologist or a therapist and still kind of stay in that health and wellness industry, of course. And then what happened was, I had a part time job in college as an undergrad teaching, the LSAT and AC T, which was a really good gig. I enjoyed teaching, I enjoyed helping students and it paid well compared to a lot of the other part time jobs you can have as an undergrad. And so I ended up working at Kaplan as a teacher for SATs and AC T. And post college. There was a full time position open at Kaplan for business development or field marketing, which I really didn't know too much about at that time. But it was an entry level position. I love the company love the people. And so that is what I ended up doing.
Jodi KatzSo for how many years did you spend in this education space?
Komel CarusoI was in the EdTech space, an education space up until the end of 2019. And I graduated college in 2003. So I was in that space for 16 years. And I have to say I do love the education industry. I have a lot of respect for Kaplan I will get it I learned an incredible amount there. But test prep and admissions didn't seem like my calling in life, I will say and so I was definitely looking as I got older for something that I felt was my calling.
Jodi KatzSo when did you hear that message?
Komel CarusoYou know, starting at around 2018 90 You know, I was like 15 years into my career. I had done a lot of different jobs at Kaplan and other education based industries story to an apple roof. Had a lot of amazing mentors. I worked on inside sales teams outside sales teams did business development, ran business development teams customer experience. I was obviously an educator there as well and I also ran Mark Getting around content ran live online events. And I had really done what I thought was done at all or done a lot, right, I was exposed to a lot of different positions and roles within the industry. And I said, you know, I really want to take everything I have learned and take it somewhere else and make an impact. And I was very interested in women's health and wellness. As you said, my sister is a board certified OBGYN. And while I was working full time, I was helping her on the side with what is the original Her MD location, just helping with business development, email marketing, social media, etc. Because a lot of doctors offices at that point, it was one standalone practice, didn't have someone who was experienced in marketing or business development or promotional strategy. And so once I started helping her for a few years, I really thought I wanted to go into that industry. So I got the opportunity to meet your sister and hear her very strong point of view at the opening of your her MD location in New Jersey. And I was literally blown away by what she had to say. And I wish I had like a printout of her speech, because it was like the most clear, concise, emotive and relevant expression of what we deserve as women and why we weren't getting it until you chose to deliver it.
Jodi KatzCan you just like, kind of summarize this point of view for us? Because I do find it so meaningful?
Komel CarusoYes, of course. And so, you know, the, the founding of Her MD is rooted in something extremely, extremely personal. And, you know, so me was pre med at the time, and I was in high school. And our mother, who was alive and well to this day, was 45 years old. So smack dab in the middle of how old so me and I are now, which is very young. I mean, when I was young, that seemed old at the time 45. Like that, while it's old, it's not old at all, you know, she had gone to the doctor repeatedly, we grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, we had insurance and those things are important. And she was repeatedly dismissed, she presented with left arm pain, chest pain, shortness of breath. I mean, everyone would say, okay, that's probably her heart, an extremely, extremely strong family history of cardiovascular disease. And she was sent home repeatedly, and the providers told her, you know, we can bet our life savings actually is one of the providers said, that is not your mother's heart. And she was rushed urgently to the hospital. One day I was in high school, I got called down, you know, to the office, and she had emergent quadruple bypass surgery at 45. She was thin, non smoking, you know, didn't drink. So science, at the time just couldn't explain why this thin 45 year old, otherwise healthy woman would ever present with four vessel disease. And her left anterior descending artery was blocked 98%. So that's a major artery to the heart. And she would have died had that heart attack come. And so we were she was robbed of talent. She didn't see her children, her three children before she went into this major surgery. And we didn't get to see our mother. And so that was really an aha moment for Somi that she wanted to go into women's healthcare, because we are dismissed, were dismissed up until this day. And so she wanted to become an advocate for women to make sure we're not dismissed. And we're not seeing, as we say, invisible patients. And so yeah, so that was the founding story. And, you know, it's really unfortunate, we're still myths are underrepresented, and three out of every four research trials, and up until about 30, some odd years ago, we weren't even included in research trials, medical research trials. So it's pretty astounding how broken this healthcare system is for women.
Jodi KatzSo when somebody came to you and said, Hey, can you help me on the side with my local practice? was the vision to change the way women's healthcare operates? Or was it something that was developed over time as you started to learn more about what's going on in the medical world?
Komel CarusoSure, so she practiced for about 15 years before she opened the doors to the first practice. And so I say she did 15 years of field research. She was, you know, talking to 1000s and 1000s of women every single day and saw just how little she was actually able to advocate for them and what little time that she was able to give them I mean, eight to 10 minute appointments is just simply not enough and she was hearing a lot of her patients talk about up sexual health and wellness and perimenopause and menopause. But she didn't have the time to really address those complex issues in eight to 10 minutes, it just seemed impossible to her. So she knew at the get go, that she was going to open a practice that focused on menopause, sexual health care, this big gap and void that was in the industry and give not only patients time, but providers time because she was burnt out seeing 40 to 50 patients a day. And so when I joined, you know, my mission was to help spread that word that this type of health care is available. And this is what we, you know, deserve. We deserve time. We deserve experts who really specialize in these fields, because we're often forgotten after we have babies if we choose to have babies. And so it's like what now? Right?
Jodi KatzSo when you started working with Somi, and you saw like what the schedule look look like, right? Like to every 10 minutes as a new patient. I'm assuming you asked like why, right? Like, why you only get 10 minutes. So what was the answer?
Komel CarusoYes. So when Somi opened, she actually eradicated the 10 minute appointment, because she knew that was such a big barrier. So she started with 20 to 60 minute appointments all within an insurance based system. But I did want to understand because when she approached me and said, Can you help me? And of course I wanted to help her. I was her sister. I had no experience in the health industry. I looked at it, it was like menopause care, like what is menopause scared even myself, I was just so ignorant of menopause, and even sexual health care. So she gave me a lot of education. But she told me, you know, the 10 minute appointments is due to insurance reimbursements. You know, you have to kind of turn through patients to be able to collect you know, as much as you can during the day from insurance revenue. Because reimbursements for GYN only are very low. We don't do obstetrics, because we really want to focus on patients pre and post, you know, baby if patients choose to do so. So we've always started with those longer appointment times.
Jodi KatzSo my traditional practice the doctor in the date book is literally has 10 minute slots.
Komel CarusoYes, so there are different appointment types. So there's you know, annuals follow ups, OB But majority of OB GYN practice obstetrics, there's no GYN only residency, only 20% of OB GYN are trained in menopause and sexual health care. 93% of residents who graduate from an OB GYN residency, don't feel comfortable treating menopausal patients seem to get extra training, which is what Sony did, which is what all her MD providers do. So 100% of our providers are trained. But yes, you get 10 minutes with patients.
Jodi KatzOkay, you are in the world of education, education, tech, you're helping your sister as she's building something new and different. Are you seeing this as a career shift for you at this moment?
Komel CarusoYou know, I did not see it as a career shift. When I first started, I did simply see it as I'm going, I want to help my sister succeed. I want to learn more about the health and wellness industry. You know, I was 35 ish at the time, maybe a little shy of 35, and had undergone my own recent health struggles with PCOS and infertility. And so it became something that was really important to me, just to learn as well as to help my sister. But what started happening was really interesting and exciting. So I had worked and I'd mentioned I did a lot of live online events and business development, which at Kaplan, and other ad tech companies, where we would host a lot of events. And we would definitely get people to come to the events and learn about admissions or, you know, the tests. We did events at Her MD and we would have hundreds of women show up. And it was really odd to me because I said, you know, I like my OBGYN, but it's very transactional, right? I go in, get my get my annual, you know, talk through, you know, a couple of things, and I get my birth control prescription and I'm out the door. And that's really it. And it was like a once a year thing. And no one really took time to really inspire me or even, you know, get to know me so much as a patient and I didn't expect more. That's what I thought was normal, right that that was the status quo. And so when I learned more about her practice, and I started coming to some of the events and seeing this fervor around her MD, which was some age of eight MD and associates at that time, and the love they had for the providers and the team there. I was like this this is different. This is very, very different. You have created something that is pretty incredible. I liked my OBGYN But I don't like if she had an event I would not come I just wouldn't And no offense to her, she was wonderful. But that is when I started to really think, you know, we have something here. And patients are traveling from 35 states, multiple countries to access the care that we're providing. And so that is when I said, I think we need to open more. And I think, you know, I'm ready to leave my full time job and do this thing with you.
Jodi KatzYou had customer patients in 35 states?
Komel CarusoYes, which is incredible. And it wasn't like one offs. There are some, you know, they're not, as I mentioned, there's not a lot of providers who specialize in menopause and sexual health care. And there are a lot of different procedures and treatment options that we offer that a lot of providers are not trained in. And so a lot of it was word of mouth, and spreading through chat groups on Facebook, or Reddit. And so they would travel and because we take insurance, so the insurance reimbursements are low. And so a lot of sexual health and menopause riders at that time have gone concierge. And we have a medical spa. So we have aesthetics, which was, you know, a fast growing industry, especially, you know, eight years ago, one of the fastest growing industries. And so we added that into our practice for continuity of care, and to also help supplement the medical care we were providing. And so because we have a medical spa, we're able to offer those services to our patients, which they love. And we're able to have those 20 to 60 minute appointments.
Jodi KatzOkay, so you see this, like, Aha moment, the light bulb goes off? Yes, you've never run a medical company before? No, but now you are. So I guess I'm wondering, like, you know, where did the confidence come from, or the faith come from to say, I'm going to dig into this and invest my time in it and build something with my sister.
Komel CarusoI had to take a lot of those things, definitely. And we had another co founder Kathy Lai. And so we've had a very nice triad, I would say, we call ourselves like the three legged stool. And so we all have, you know, our different areas of expertise, like, so me, obviously, clearly medical myself, you know, marketing, PR content, etc. And Kathy came from a finance background and investment banking and m&a. So we knew the three of us had really great skills and really great areas of expertise. So, you know, we really trusted each other to be able to do that. The second is, you know, my spouse is a serial entrepreneur. And so I did understand fundraising, being an entrepreneur or starting a company, how tough it is, I'd worked at another startup prior to joining her MD, while I was not at Kaplan, and, you know, I, and this is my advice to a lot of people, if you're in a job, and it's not your calling, you can learn and soak up everything like a sponge. And when I was having all those different roles at Kaplan, I learned a ton. I had people who taught me a ton, I went to all the meetings I could, and I really soaked it up. And I thought to myself, you know, that is a service based industry, with markets and for wall like, testing centers, right, and teaching locations, and we had to fill seats in classrooms. And we had a brand but we had Field Marketing, and I said, I can transfer everything I learned there to another service industry medicine. And I did have to learn a lot about menopause and sexual health care. But, you know, I just said, this is the time I'm so inspired, I'd never felt so inspired. And what inspired me is yes, my sister and the team, but the patients and going to those events and hearing patients and how grateful they were to get information and to have access to the care that we provide. That's what I was like, we have to do this for all these women, they should not have to travel to Cincinnati, Ohio from Seattle and Florida and Canada and the UK, to get the camera providing its criminal.
Jodi KatzI love the parallels between the education testing world and what you're building with Her MD It didn't you know, jump out at me but when she like drew all the lines, right? The the service is different, but everything else is really the same. And what's fascinating about the parallel is at Kaplan your job is literally to like educate your customers and it's no different in the office the way that you are approaching healthcare, right, really making sure that the patient is educated and fulfilled with the experience.
Komel CarusoYes, 100% I mean, education, advocacy and empowerment are three main pillars and without education And, you know, we need to know our bodies, we need to know we don't like the word normal, because everyone's normal is different. And we all know our bodies better than anyone else. So if something doesn't feel right, that's what we say not normal, but right, you need to know, you know, you need to know that sex shouldn't hurt, we all hear growing up, sucks can be painful, but it should not be painful. And so the Oh Period Pain kit is like bad. And you know, you can bleed a lot, but like how much is a lot, you know, some women are bleeding way too much, but they don't know, because they've just heard Oh, it hurts a lot. So that education is so key to knowing that, you know, we are the we are the ones who know, our bodies best, we know what to look out for. And these things that have been normalized by society, are not necessarily normal, right. And so with that education, comes that empowerment to advocate for yourself and speak up. So it was really important to us that that education piece.
Jodi KatzI work with a team of mostly women, a base beauty, and several of them are around my age. So for many years, we've been like, sort of tracking what's happening in the marketplace around the women's health topics that we were having our own private conversations about. And Robin, who you met on my team, she did this great research project where she tracked several different period care brands, leading brands, in all their communications, their customers, how many times they talk about like, like kind of real education around your period. And like, what's going on? What points in one's life, were they addressing this, and what she found was like, you know, at the like, kind of 11 year old mark, you get like a lot, a lot of education from these brands. And then maybe once around the age of like the first postpartum period, and then never again, like they never talked to you again, there's like no conversation, there is no like leveling up your understanding of what's going on your body and how their products could help or you know why you might need to change your approach to using products. And we plotted it on a chart, and it was just like, I don't remember how many periods you have in your whole life. But it was like a dot for every single period your whole life. And we mark the two dots, when these brands are talking to you and helping guide you. And it's a really sad looking chart. But what I love is that you're completely changing all those dots, right? Like you're activating them, and giving people your patients opportunity to really dive deep into like, why is my period like hemorrhaging? Like, is this normal at my age?
Komel CarusoExactly. Because, you know, again, normal is like individual, right? Like heavy periods, light periods, three day cycles, seven day cycles, I will I always say I give a PSA, when I start talking about clinical things. I'm not a doctor, I'm not a clinician, I'm not a healthcare provider. This is my own, you know, education that I've received from her MD and our providers. But yes, I mean, heavy bleeding could be fibroids, you know, abnormal uterine bleeding can happen, you know, there are so many things. So if it feels off to you, and heavy and painful, you should see your provider because there could be something wrong.
Jodi KatzSo let's talk about a topic I love, which is success. So measuring success and defining success. So you're at this really exciting point in this business where you've established your reason for being right, you understand what it takes to run the practice and give the type of care that you want, you know who the target is for your services? And you've done fundraising, right? So I wonder like, what the, if you're feeling this sort of seduction by the success, right? Because you've been able to hit all these important milestones. I wonder, like, do they kind of when you reach a goal, does it say to your brain, like find me more goals to reach and let's just not do anything except to work and to keep pushing into our goals? Like how do you manage that seduction of success?
Komel CarusoThat's a really great question. And, you know, if you told me even five years ago that, you know, my sister and I, together with our team would raise $30 million and start a health care company and have five locations, building more locations, I literally would have said, No way. That's crazy. And so what I'm really driven by Yes, successes, feels wonderful, right? Success for me. You know what, I'll speak for myself, but I know somebody feels very similarly is we think about the patient every day. And you know, we have a podcast where we talk to patients and they tell their stories, and we go to events, and we were just at one in New Jersey this past weekend, where there are 120 150 or so women in the room and I educated outside of a major metropolitan city, we're in, you know, middle America as well, and suburbs everywhere. They're so lost, and they're so desperate. They don't have education around their options. They're still being dismissed and told, you know, drink some wine, and you'll be fine. If they have sexual pain like I don't, that's not a solution. Right? They have low libido, they were never told about treatment options around that. They're going through perimenopause, which symptoms can last up to 10 years, I'm experiencing them. I'm always hot now. And I was always cold. And it's not fun. But I have that education. I know that I'm going through perimenopause. And I know I can get treatment options for it. But they many women don't even know you can experience symptoms for up to 10 years. And so they are so grateful to number one, be able to have the conversation and have it be shame free and stigma free and feel that sense of community. They really want to be able to talk about these things and you know, around sexual health and menopause in their house. And they haven't been given the opportunity to do so let alone have access to providers to educate them answer their questions and give them viable treatment options and not tell them just like grin and bear it. Everyone goes through menopause and just tell me when you haven't had your period for 12 months, like I'm not living a decade with menopausal symptoms. Like no way that's not a way to live come out.
Jodi KatzI'm so glad that we met thanks to LinkedIn, and that I've had time to get to know you and your mission. I'm fascinated by it. I did tell you when we were together last that I don't, I don't have an allegiance to my gynecologist because of these reasons, like you're fine, is what I hear. Right? You're fine. No explanation, no time taken to talk about neither these things. So what you're building is really needed. And I can imagine this being the new standard of care, really. So congratulations to you. I know this is a Herculean effort to move a whole system, but it's worth it. And it's important.
Komel CarusoYes, it's so worth it. And I always have to say, you know, the providers, the vast majority of them, you do not go into medicine, I've seen it, I've seen how hard the work is from our providers from the education they have to do and the training, and then the work that they're they want to do a good job they want to heal, they want to treat, but the problem start with the education and not being trained in some of the areas, right. And then also they're locked into those 10 minute appointments. And so we are going to change that I firmly believe that her MD is going to change that status quo, because the status quo we say has never changed anything. And so we're ready to do that. And we're going to do it, you know, one location at a time. And we just ask people be patient, because it does take time to build out clinics. But our goal is to be in as many states as we possibly can and to continue to give access to this care to all of our patients.
Jodi KatzWell, thank you so much come out. That wraps up our new segment. I really appreciate your wisdom. Okay, so we're gonna play a game together. This one is all about comprehensive women's health. So we thought we can play like a fun fact versus myth, a fact versus fiction game with you around menopause, perimenopause. And I know you're not a physician. So feel free to say like, Wait, that's, you know, let's ask my sister by Yes, there is there are so many myths out there. And some of these myths are passed generationally, right. Because there is no true resource. So let's see. If we can bust some myths. We have five scenarios here ready to play? Sure. I will do my very best. Okay, so the first one is tell me is this fact or fiction? Menopause is just about experiencing hot flashes.
Komel CarusoOh, that's categorically false. I can say that. 100% There are over 30 documented symptoms from head to toe. That can be Yes, hot flashes, of course. But joint pain, vaginal dryness, brain fog or mild cognitive decline. skin dryness, palpitations. Oprah wrote an op ed that her doctors, Oprah could not diagnose menopause for her. She had palpitations, I think it was two years. She was worked up by a cardiologist and she picked up a book that a doctor had written and she said, Oh my god, I actually think it's menopause. So there are a lot of documented symptoms.
Jodi KatzOne of them for me has been from a digestive perspective, like the bloating and Like just my body feeling out of control in the sense. And I started working with a nutritionist to like really like hone in on like, what are the things that are working for me? And what are the things that are not working for me, it's hard like takes time and work to figure this out.
Komel CarusoIt does. Yes. And so many often describes menopause as estrogen withdrawal, essentially. And so estrogen is really good for the body. And so she she makes really good analogies. And she said, Imagine you're on like, six cups of coffee a day, like that, like, yeah, you're feeling good, right? And then you get when menopause happens and your estrogen levels drop, it's like you get a cup of decaf a day, your body's going to feel it. And yes, our patients say a lot about their mental pot, or like their amount of hot belly. And it's because that cells, I've learned this from so many as well don't deposit themselves where they used to. So when we're younger, we get them on our breasts, but you know, places we want that and then as estrogen levels declining, you go through menopause, they deposit in your belly.
Jodi KatzOkay, interesting. Number two, factor fiction. Menopause starts when your period stops.
Komel CarusoSo menopause, I will say a caveat. So menopause is defined as 12 consecutive months without a period. Or you can measure Fs FSH levels, I believe that is correct. Because there are patients who go through cancer treatment, or have hysterectomy and everything is removed, and then they've had a period and then they're going through this. And so the true definition is, you know, the 12 consecutive months without a period, or if you're not having a period, you need to check those FSH levels. But you can go 11 months and 20 days without a period and then you get your period and you've just start all over again. Yes. So that is technically how menopause is defined.
Jodi KatzOkay, number three, menopause never starts before the age of 50 is that factor fiction?
Komel CarusoThat's fiction, it can start I mean, again, if you had cancer treatment, and you've gone through medically induced menopause, the average age I believe, is 51 years old. But you can experience menopause in your 40s you can experience menopause in your mid to late 50s. You can experience Peri menopausal symptoms in your 30s. So it really depends. It's different for everyone.
Jodi KatzI think my perimenopause symptoms started like I'm 48. Now so I think like around 38, actually, so like 10 years ago, things just started changing. Like, it's been a progression of changes, but I definitely started it before 40.
Komel CarusoYes, I mean, exactly. So it's very different for everyone mind started, probably around 42. I would say 41. I'm going to be 43 soon. And I've noticed more of a rapid increase in some of my symptoms, for sure. And so, oh my god, boy. 10 years. I don't know.
Jodi KatzOkay, factor fiction. Number four, nothing can be done to manage my symptoms. I just have to deal with them.
Komel CarusoYeah, very big, like categorically false. Again, there are so many treatment options. There are over the counter treatment options depending on your symptoms, right for vaginal dryness or dryness of your skin, you know, loss of collagen. And there are also you know, medical like medicine, right? That that can treat, there's hormone replacement therapy, there are prescription medications that you can take for low libido for vaginal dryness. And then there are also minimally invasive treatment options. There's radiofrequency microneedling and laser treatments that can help with incontinence, or sexual pain or vaginal dryness or laxity. And so there's so so so many treatment options, and there are non hormonal treatment options. There's a new prescription medication that's non hormonal for hot flashes that just came out. Oh, yeah. And they did the Superbowl ad.
Jodi KatzYeah, I saw a commercial for that. Yeah, well, this was amazing. I think they were all fiction. So thank you for setting the record straight and for playing fact or fiction with us. Now we have a few minutes for fan questions. And there's quite a few of them. So let me whew, this is a really fun one. Come on, what are you reading right now?
Komel CarusoThat's really That's a good question. So I do a lot of thinking during the day. And my brain does get very tired at the end of the day. So I have an affinity for those who know me well, for anything. That's why a or T teen age ask. So I am reading the Summer I Turned Pretty. Oh, cool. Is it good? Yes. It's very good. It's all and I watched the show with my daughter. She's 22 And my son just started watching it with us and he like, likes it as well. All. And so I decided I would read the books. I always like reading the books if I'm watching the show, I only wish I had started and finish the books before I watched the show, but it is good.
Jodi KatzI do like it. I do indulge in some young adults from time to time to especially if there's a show I'm watching with the kids. I think that's like a really fun process. I'm reading right now, the memoir of Colin Joseph. He's a comedian from Saturday live is the books called a very punchable face. And I think I'll pass it to my son who's 16 Afterwards, I think he'd get a kick out of it. It's a good one. Who like it? Yeah, funny. Yeah. It's like I was giggling on the train reading it. That's great. Yeah, I can't I can't do anything too. too serious. Okay, another question. Oh, I'm Kara wants to know more about the aesthetic side of Her MD.
Komel CarusoYes. So it's a very important part of our practice. You know, as I said, we we viewed as continuity of care. And so I'm someone who struggled with PCOS my entire life, and that led to infertility. But it also led to acne and something called hirsutism. Because of elevated testosterone levels, where you have excessive hair growth. And I have, you can see the hair on my head, this is not dye, it's black. And I had black hair growth on my fees. And that was really, really, you know, traumatizing for me growing up. And so I got laser hair removal. And it really it sounds might sound silly to some, but it really did change my life. Because I was convinced when I was speaking to people, they were looking at the hair, and maybe they were maybe they weren't. And so for PCOS patients who need laser hair or wants laser hair remover, they don't need it. If they want it or are perimenopausal or menopausal patients who complain about their menopause or skin laxity. You know, we can do filler or we can do Sculptra, which actually builds collagen. We can do emsculpt Neo, which is a body contouring device, which I actually partook in myself recently. And it was wonderful. It's like the equivalent of 11,000 situps, in 30 minutes or something. And so, you know, we don't push it on patients, and we don't tell them you need this. But 80% of our menopausal patients tell us they're concerned about their weight and their changing body. Many complained about loss of collagen. And so we want to be able to offer those services under one roof. I mean, as a patient, as a woman, as a patient, if I can do everything in one place. I barely have enough time for that one appointment. Now I have to go somewhere else. It's like I have to make more time to do that. So it's really convenient as well.
Jodi KatzI love that come out. This has been amazing. That's all the time we have for questions today. I want to thank you. You are our 240/5 episode. And this is such a joy to spend time with you here today. Yes, thank you so much. This was great. And for our listeners. Thank you so much for joining us. If you liked this episode, please rate and review. And as always make sure you are following us on your favorite podcast platform and Instagram to stay up to date on the upcoming episodes and all the fun we have along the way. So more to come in the health theme, which will take us through the end of the year. Thank you so much come out. Thank you for everyone for joining us.
Komel CarusoThank you have a really great…
Jodi KatzThank you. Bye.
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