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Ask Dr. Tosha: Let’s Talk Women’s Health

Dr. Tosha Rogers is an obstetrician-gynecologist in Atlanta, Georgia. Her unrivaled skills and credentials are only matched by her honest and positive approach to helping women maintain optimal reproductive health.

I think a big part of my mission on earth is to uplift women, educate women, and provide a safe space for them to have meaningful dialogue when it comes to matters of sex, pregnancy and more.” states Rogers.

What do you wish more women knew about their bodies?
I wish that women understood that what your body expresses is a direct result of what you put into your body. That means food, beverages, supplements, etc. You can’t put 87 octane into a Bentley and expect a good outcome. The same applies to our bodies. The phrase you are what you eat still holds true.

What are the most common mistakes women make when it comes to reproductive health? 
Reproductively, it is important for women to be proactive. During the earlier years (20’s-early 30’s), we need to be protective. We need to understand the protective properties of birth control, HIV prevention meds, prevention of HPV and other STDs (some cause infertility issues) with condoms and also egg freezing/preservation. We should be thinking and acting in our 20’s for what could come in our 30’s and 40’s. Prevention is the key. It’s never too early to have a plan in place.

What questions should every woman ask her OB/GYN?
Every woman should be comfortable enough with her provider to have discussions about any aspect of her health. Sex, relationships, discharge, medication, supplements and habits. ANYTHING!! If you cannot be honest with your provider, you can’t get the appropriate help. As women, we have to stop being afraid to admit that our expectations were not met with respect to our care, and that another provider may be necessary. You should not leave the OB/GYN office with unanswered questions and concerns not discussed or addressed. Questions are specific to each woman’s health profile, so there are not any set questions to ask, but you should walk in with a list of questions/concerns to be addressed.

What are the most common concerns/questions you get from your patients?
The most common questions or concerns hands down are about bacterial vaginitis. Why do I keep getting it? How can I fix it? How can I prevent it? Some patients have been told absolute craziness by friends or even providers, and are acting on misinformation. Some of the things that patients are doing are outright dangerous. I consider myself the BV (bacterial vaginitis) slayer, so it’s very gratifying for me to educate the patients and correct their problems.

Other than caring for your patients, how are you bringing the conversation about women’s reproductive health to the forefront?
Other than working with patients, I’m out in the forefront of the community as well as the health circuit. I work with the local government to educate about PreP therapy. PreP therapy is pre-exposure HIV prevention. There is a pill (Truvada), when taken, can decrease the risk of transmission of HIV by 90 percent. Most people are not aware that it even exists. The City of South Fulton in Atlanta has HIV infection rates that are currently higher than Zimbabwe- and growing. I am the only provider in South Fulton that is discussing PreP therapy. I take it seriously and discuss it whenever I can. I also developed and hosted a Girls’ Night In event. It’s usually given quarterly. The event is designed to bring all women together. We let go of all inhibitions and just have open frank discussions about women’s health issues, sex, relationships, men and anything else that women want the answers to. We discuss issues that you just won’t ask your typical OB/GYN. I listen to the ladies, laugh, engage and ultimately educate. It’s hilarious and never disappoints.

When it comes to vaginal health what should we be talking about?
When it comes to vaginal health we need to understand that the vagina is reflective of what we do to it-literally. Yeast is usually a reflection of our diets (sugars and carbs and wines and cocktails and minimal water intake). Bacterial vaginitis is more reflective of bubble bath, liquid soaps (all kinds), perfumed soaps, Epsom salts and feminine wash (all kinds). It can even be caused by the lubricant on condoms, and most surprisingly by the DIET of the partner when unprotected sex is involved. Good vaginal health requires good vaginal hygiene- the proper way with the proper cleansers. Annual evaluation is also essential. Infections are not the only points of concern. We must evaluate any lesions, lumps or bumps. As I tell my patients “Don’t self diagnose, ’cause everything that itches ain’t yeast!”

Why are women not having candid conversations about vaginal health? 
Women don’t have candid conversations about vaginal health because they feel like it’s only happening to them. It’s usually not pretty. It doesn’t look or smell good, and a component of shame comes with the diagnosis for most women. They feel like they are not clean or that the partner is cheating, and it’s just not true. I empower my patients by educating them, changing their behaviors that are causing the vaginitis and effectively treating the infection. Admittedly or not, most women, at some point in their lives have experienced vaginitis.

What inspired you to become an OB/GYN? 
Honestly, I thought I was destined to be a pediatric cardiologist. In training, I quickly learned that pediatrics nor cardiology interest me. I thought that of all specialties, OB/GYN would be the last thing I would do- until I actually got to the labor floor. From the first delivery, I couldn’t imagine my life doing anything else. There was this awesome energy in the room that was unexplainable and unforgettable. I still feel it with every delivery. As I matured in my training, I began to understand the impact I could have on the lives of women. Because of my truly humble beginnings, I have the ability to communicate with people from any walk of life. It is my gift and what allows me to be successful at what I do. I’m able to break down any barrier and get through to my patients.

Learn more about Dr. Tosha at http://askdrtosha.com/.


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