An Interview With the Leaders of DHC’s Women’s Wellness Center
In the spirit of the 18th annual National Women’s Health Week, we are encouraging women to make all aspects of their health a priority, especially their gastrointestinal health. To that end, we thought it would be beneficial to sit down with our premier female physicians Dr. Claudia Barghash and Dr. Kristen Lee of the Women’s Wellness Center to discuss the issues surrounding women and the sensitive subject of digestive care:
Q: What are some of the more common types of gastrointestinal issues you see with female patients?
Dr. Barghash: Yes, some of the more common issues seen—in addition to the ones mentioned by Dr. Lee—include constipation or diarrhea, reflux symptoms, and pelvic floor disorders such as pelvic pain, incontinence and difficult defecation.
Q: Are there special steps women should take when it comes to certain gastrointestinal conditions?
Dr. Lee: Yes. With the more common conditions, diet plays a major role in exacerbating patients’ symptoms. I spend time educating my patients on the known common triggers of these conditions and also encourage them to find their unique dietary triggers.
Dr. Barghash: Along with diet, what women can do to decrease common abdominal disorders includes—with our help—educating themselves about healthy lifestyle choices, stress-reduction techniques, and use of some over-the-counter medications, fibers and probiotics.
Q: Do you feel that women are more comfortable seeing a female gastroenterologist for their issues?
Dr. Barghash: Yes, I think women do feel more comfortable discussing their digestive and pelvic issues with a female gastroenterologist. In fact, I think their preference for a female over a male may result in delaying their evaluation and possibly even their colonoscopy screening.
Dr. Lee: I agree with Dr. Barghash. I’ve actually heard female patients comment, “I’m so glad you’re a woman,” when discussing sensitive symptoms, such as fecal incontinence, perianal discomfort or itching, or increased flatulence.
Q: As busy working women, what do you do to stay healthy while on the go?
Dr. Lee: Personally, I drink a lot of water because keeping well hydrated helps me feel energized. I also have a healthy snack at hand, so I don’t always reach for the cookies, chocolate or chips that I naturally gravitate toward thanks to my sweet tooth. I get more sluggish by the end of the day if I snack on too much sugar.
As a full-time gastroenterologist and mom of a toddler and newborn, I don’t have much time during the week to work out, so I make time to do my favorites stretches or short, low-impact yoga sequences. All I need is 10 or 15 minutes to feel relaxed and healthier.
Dr. Barghash: Indeed, staying healthy with our busy careers and all of our demanding educational, parenting and family needs require finding a subtle balance between life and work. For me, that includes keeping a regular exercise routine two to three times weekly and mindful meditation for a few minutes once or twice daily. It also involves healthy, high-protein snacks and a healthy diet. These are some just some of the ways I stay healthy, happy and highly productive.
We are proud to support Drs. Barghash and Lee and National Women’s Health Week. Ladies, get started on a happier, healthier you by scheduling an appointment with one of our female specialists. Contact Digestive Healthcare Center (DHC) today.