The Vagina Bible: Debunking Myths and Misinformation Around The Female Body Ft. Dr. Jen Gunter

“You’re more than your menstrual cycle. You’re awesome whether you have estrogen or not. It has nothing to do with your awesomeness. It really doesn’t.”

Episode 01

Do you ever feel like you don’t have all the answers and information you need around your very own body? Are there beliefs or “facts” you might have learned that maybe aren’t actually centered around truth or science? Perhaps you’ve entered various seasons of your life as a female (menstruation, fertility, childbirth, hormone fluctuation, perimenopause, menopause) where you’ve felt like your concerns were dismissed or you weren’t given the tools, knowledge or treatment to help you navigate these season as well as you’d like. Whether you avidly seek knowledge about your body, or you’re bumping up against walls in what has been, historically, a lopsided research culture where male health has been more highly prioritized, we’ve got a guest today who is determined to correct that inequity with scientific and experiential information, research and active destigmatization. Dr. Jen Gunter is an obstetrician gynecologist and a bestselling author (The Vagina Bible, The Menopause Manifesto) who has made it her goal in life to “fix the internet” regarding information about women’s bodies and correcting the misinformation that runs rampant there; long held myths that cause fear, stress and even shame around our female physiology. Dr. Gunter debunks common misconceptions around our periods, our hymens (fyi, it’s not a “freshness” seal), synthetic hormones, menopause symptoms and more. Bottom line: you deserve to know about your body, and this conversation opens the door to finding true and accurate information that will help dismiss the fears you may have around all the seasons of your female health experience.  

 

Episode Transcript

Hey, everybody. Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the For The Love Podcast, Whoo. Welcome to the show. I just finished this interview, so that was what that “whoo” was about. Right now we’re in a series called For the Love of Facing Your Fears. It felt like an important conversation to host across a handful of channels, particularly this one today. There’s something that most women face, frankly, that’s created fear and shame as far back as any of us really can remember and it involves our own bodies. 

For example, our periods. Let’s start there. Maybe you had a very normal and healthy talk with your parents about what to expect, what this meant, and what’s going on internally. But so many of us did not get a lot of information about it. That’s probably because the generation before us had even less. So that change in our lives as teens or pre-teens for a lot of us was accompanied by surprise, fear, or even shame. For women, there’s still so much mystery shrouded in our reproductive systems and what we can rightly and normally expect to encounter throughout the different decades of our lives; through childbearing years to menopause and beyond. Then you compound it with the stigma that is layered on by religious structures, and sometimes just by cultural conversation, and sometimes by patriarchy. I mean you have a recipe for pretty severe cognitive dissonance around our bodies, which is sad and unnecessary.  Of course, let’s be fair. In some cultures and countries, the stigma is even stronger. So much so that women don’t even have access to basic products and services to take care of their bodies.

We are here to say we should not have to fear the normal and beautiful progression our bodies take. We should be able to talk about it with each other. We should be able to rely on good scientific information from professionals. We should be able to trust that more research and more answers are coming all the time and ultimately live peacefully inside the experience of natural changes that happen in our bodies with experts who are listening and caring for us as we go; which is why we’re so grateful for our guest today. She’s made it her mission in life to open up this conversation around female bodies, our menstruation cycles, our reproductive systems, and all the sorts of changes that we go through. She’s also taken to the Internet to fix it so that there’s more good, helpful, and true information from professionals out there for us to learn from. 

You guys, get excited because today we have Dr. Jen Gunter. A ton of you already know her because she is such a leading voice in this conversation. So let’s say she’s an internationally bestselling author. She’s an obstetrician-gynecologist. More than three decades of experience as a vulvar and vaginal disease expert. She’s been called the world’s most famous and outspoken gynecologist by the Guardian. Her New York Times and USA Today bestselling books, The Vagina Bible and The Menopause Manifesto, which I bought six months ago, have been translated into 25 languages. She’s the host of Jen-Splaining, which is a CBC Amazon Prime video series that kind of highlights the impact of medical misinformation on women specifically. She’s also the recipient of the 2020 NAMS Media Award from the North American Menopause Society. 

Dr. Gunter’s 2020 TEDx talk called “Why Can’t We Talk About Periods” received more than 2 million views in its first six months, which led to the launch of her very popular podcast on the TED audio collective called Body Stuff with Dr. Jenn Gunter. Finally, she’s got a brand new book out that I just got a few days ago called Blood. The Science, Medicine and Mythology of Menstruation. She also writes the popular Substack newsletter called The Vagenda. I just wish I had to come up with that. So she talks about her own personal experience with her body, her health, and pregnancy, and how that has fueled her passion to fix the medical Internet. She’s smart. She’s direct. She talks plainly. She debunks junk science. She’s a relief in a conversation that is sometimes shrouded in confusion. I was hanging on her every word, and I think you will, too. So I am delighted to share this conversation with the incredibly knowledgeable and passionate Dr. Jen Gunter.

 


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE: 

 

Guardian Article about Dr. Jen Gunter

The Vagina Bible
by Dr. Jen Gunter

Menopause Manifesto
by Dr. Jen Gunter

Jensplaining – Dr. Jen Gunter’s Amazon Prime Series

2020 NAMS Media Award from the North American Menopause Society Recipients

“Why can’t we talk about periods” – Dr. Jen Gunters 2020 Ted Talk

Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter

Blood: The Science, Medicine, and Mythology of Menstruation
by Dr. Jen Gunter

The Vajenda – Dr. Jen Gunter’s Substack Newsletter 

The Preemie Primer: A Complete Guide for Parents of Premature Babies–from Birth through the Toddler Years and Beyond by Dr. Jen Gunter 

Ensure Meal Replacement

 

The For the Love Podcast is a production of Four Eyes Media, presented by Audacy.

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