Updated: Aug 18, 2021
Health is wealth, and for many women, that should include your vagina. The vagina is host to an active microbiome that, when not taken cared of, can affect your overall health. Hayley Foster has a satisfying conversation with The Vagina Doctor herself, Dr. Betsy Greenleaf. In this episode, they cover all things vagina, longevity, supporting women in business, and so much more. Dr. Greenleaf talks about why she went into urogynecology and her interest in helping other women. She then discusses the importance of the vaginal microbiome as it relates to gut health and vaginal health. If you’re on your way to stepping up your overall health and wellness but missing something, then maybe you’re overlooking the importance of your vagina. Vaginas need love too. Allow this conversation to remind you.
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Vaginas Need Love Too: On Women’s Health With Dr. Betsy Greenleaf
Talking All Things Vagina With The Vagina
I'm excited here with Dr. Betsy Greenleaf. Betsy touts herself as The Vagina Doctor, which is trademarked. No one else can call themselves The Vagina Doctor because Betsy has that name coined and I love it. This is going to be an interesting conversation. I'm recording Betsy from my show and Betsy is recording me for her podcast. We are going to kill two birds with one stone. That's what busy women do. Betsy, do you want to do a little introduction?
I'm Dr. Betsy Greenleaf, I'm the host of Some Of Your Parts Podcast. I'm excited to be interviewing Hayley Foster. This is going to be exciting because we have so many things that we can talk about that will help women in both ways.
One of the things that led and drew me to you other than the fact that you call yourself The Vagina Doctor is that you say, "Dr. Betsy No Wetsy." Is that the term? You have a marketing kick to you as well. I have this marketing kick inside of me as well. I'm always rhyming things. A lot of my tools in my toolkit are, Slay Your Sales Pitch, Nail Your Niche, Work on Your Why. I get the whole marketing side behind it. Tell me a little bit about how you’ve got into what you are doing.
I was always interested in medicine. I remember there is a story. I had a friend. We are eating lunch during residency. She was a podiatrist. I look across the table at lunch. I'm like, "How do you look at people's nasty feet all day long?” She was up with this shocking look on her face. She was looking at me because I was a gynecology resident at the time. She was like, "Really? You are seriously asking me?" I have patients all the time, though. "Why would you go into gynecology?" In medicine and medical school, you become desensitized to what you are looking at. I knew that I wanted to help people. I started my training doing general surgery. I found that it wasn't that satisfying, nothing against general surgeons, they are amazing.
To be a good general surgeon, you’ve got to be an unemotional body mechanic. You’ve got to get in there, fix things and get out. I was the person who when we were rounding on patients and being, "How do you feel now that your appendix is out? How do you feel now that you don't have your gallbladder?" I wanted more of that relationship with the patient. I was always stuck between the surgical aspect versus gynecology. I ended up switching to gynecology because I could have that relationship with patients. It wasn't until my very last rotation in training that I found urogynecology, which most people don't even know what urogynecology is. I remember telling my mom that I was going to do training in urogynecology. She thought, "Is that a fancy European, Euro Disney?" I said, "No, it's urology having to do with the bladder and gynecology having to do with the pelvic organ." We addressed everything. I found myself doing that.
Excitingly enough, it's a new specialty in the United States. There is probably about 1,500 urogynecologist across the country. I'm lucky enough to be the first Board Certified female Urogynecologist. That is how I ended up in urogynecology. It's interesting. I did take a little bit of a turn. That is where I'm at now. I'm reinventing myself is after working so many years of working hard. I was unfortunately in a car accident that ended my career being a surgeon. That is what I did for fifteen-plus years is pelvic reconstructive surgery for women. Unfortunately, due to a neck injury, I can no longer perform surgery. It was funny because my doctors were all like, "Just sit back, be retired. Enjoy yourself." I'm like, "I am too young to sit back and do nothing." I think I'm like most women, there is stuff to do. Some things need to be taken care of.
More importantly, pelvic health is still a topic that is not openly discussed. 50% of women are uncomfortable saying the word vagina. If we can't say the word, how are we going to get the information out? How are we going to get healing? How are people going to be able to live their best lives? 50% to 80% of women will have a pelvic health condition at some point in their life. I said, "That is it. I’ve got a lot more things to do." I’ve got my hands on a whole bunch of little businesses. You are catching me right as I'm coming out of disability and getting on to creating some new things and having a broader reach for women.
I'm excited about that. You are pivoting. You have such an amazing perspective on, "I'm not done." Maybe the best is yet to come for you. Good for you for pivoting and figuring out how do you stay in this field and still have an impact on women. Something you said struck a chord with me. I can say vagina all day long. I can't wait to put vagina all over this blog post and throw it all over my social media. I'm super excited about that. That is not a problem for me. If anyone is reading this say, “Vagina,” three times.
I would love to start a viral trend, social media trend where we go out and scream the word vagina. You are in the supermarket and videoing yourself up on Instagram and say the word vagina. The more we say it, you become desensitize even if it's not the vagina, even if you want to say the word penis, go out and record yourself. Put it on social media so that we can desensitize the world to these words. I have this picture where I have a woman's torso and I photoshopped out the whole pelvic area because that area doesn't exist. We ignore it. It happens all the time with orthopedic doctors. They will send me patients for pelvic pain. Some of those pelvic pain is coming from back issues, hip issues or orthopedic issues. Even in the medical world, they hear the word of the vagina and everyone's, "No, it's not me. It's you. It's a gynecologist.
It’s such a fun idea. Do you do real on your social media? You should just keep saying the word vagina and dance around for 30 seconds.
I'm this close to getting kicked off of Facebook because I have gotten so many warnings on Facebook for using the word vagina because vagina goes against community standards. They say if I get one more violation, they are going to kick me off of Facebook. On Instagram, I can say vagina all day long but on Facebook, you are not allowed to.
We should have world Vagina Day where everyone has proposed the word vagina on their Facebook. We are going to start a whole trend. This is a great conversation so far.
I want to ask you in return. How do you get into doing what you do?
I had a business for twelve years before I started this one. I rode that entrepreneurial roller coaster. I was 30 years old. I had no idea how to start a business. I had a business partner. Over twelve years, we figured it out the hard way. We rode the roller coaster. We had up years and down years. We had successes and failures. One of my favorite things was figuring out how to fix the shit. It's funny. I was just writing a post the other day and I was, "What was the name of that book that I read when I started this business?"
We started our business in 2001. We didn't have the social media stuff like Facebook, the only thing, check-in apps. There was not a lot out there. I was using these books and reading all about how to start a business. What are some of the things I need to do? I figured it out the hard way. As I went through that business, I’ve got married. I had two kids. I’ve got divorced. I was commuting to the city and I hated what I was doing. At some point, I was like, "I don't want to be in this business anymore." I felt I had learned so much. I wanted to give back when I had learned to other women that were looking to get started or wanting to take their business to the next level.
I'm one of those people that's like, "What is podcasting? I will start a podcast with social media. I will put myself out there." I'm that person where I jump off the cliff and then figure it out on the way down. I wanted to give back all of the things that I had learned along the way and help women to maybe not go through some of the heartaches, hassles and downs that I had been through and help them and give them tools and a community to thrive and grow. I went to a business coach. When I was leaving my business, I had no idea what I was going to do. It was a marketing, design company and manufacturing. I started telling him that I was helping women as a side thing. I was running this networking group and they were coming to me and asking for help. It was this side hustle that I was doing for free, for fun. He is like, "You are a consultant so you should go write a business plan."
I went and wrote a business plan. I went back to these women that had been asking me for help. I was very connected to the entrepreneurial community in my town. I was, "I'm going to start a business that is going to help you get to the next level, are you in?" I’ve got all these women to sign up. I was giving them all of me more than they were paying for. They became my salesforce. They became my army of being on the pickup line for school. I will be like, "I see all the social media you are doing. It looks like your business is amazing." They would be like, "I hired this consultant Hayley, who is helping me." They became my salesforce. I grew very organically.
For the first time ever, I'm putting out my first big launch of a toolkit for women that are starting businesses or want to get to the next level, which is super exciting. It's the first time I'm offering a product online that people are going to have to pay for. It's only $47. It's more like a lead magnet to get people in and for them to get to know me and to see what value I can offer. The lead magnet turns into the marketing funnel. It goes from there. I'm excited about that. That has been an incredible learning experience. When I find that I do, I learned these lessons, and then I give them back. It’s like, “Do you want to start a lead funnel, let me tell you how to do it. Let me connect you to my people." That is how I roll. That is what I do and I love it. I have been doing it for a few years. I wake up every day excited to do what I do.
Coming from a health standpoint, this is one of the things I talk about all the time with my patients. They go to the doctor all the time for physical symptoms and the doctor can only do so much because the total wellness is a three-legged stool. You have to have the physical, emotional and spiritual altogether. Many women I hear when I talk to my patients, are in jobs, miserable, going through the motion, doing the grind or even if they are not working. Maybe they are home and not feeling fulfilled. They start to have physical symptoms. They start having physical problems.
Stress can affect your cortisol, which can affect and lead you to having inflammatory issues. Inflammation can show up in many different areas of the body. I specifically deal with the pelvic issues that we see with more urinary tract infections, bacterial infections but it can affect the total health. By doing this for women, you are helping their overall wellness and their health because they need to have the fulfillment. It's scary to start a new job or to walk away from a job and be like, "I'm starting my own business." There are such great life lessons to learn from that.
It's funny you say that. I was on a consulting call. I call myself a business consultant because I have no coaching certifications or anything, but coaching comes along with the territory. The woman I was consulting turned into a coaching session. I said to her, "What is getting in your way right now?" She talked about how she is overwhelmed because she is not organized and doesn't have a routine. We shifted gears from me consulting her on her business to me coaching her through some life stuff and talking through like she is not getting enough sleep. She is not working out, which leads her to not eating healthy. That is my three-legged stool. You need to work out, sleep, eat the right amount and eat the right foods. I'm all about that.
One of the things that my husband and I are totally obsessed with right now is this whole idea of longevity and doing the things we need to do to live a longer life, feeling the way we feel now. I want to be stuck in my feeling and my body of a 48-year-old and live until I’m 100 or 125. We are trying to figure out how do we do that. I am in search of a functional medicine doctor that is going to give me practice. We talk about this the whole time. We don't have a healthcare system. We have a sick care system. I'm sure as a doctor you are like 100% agree with this.
I worked for fifteen years in a hospital. It was by coincidence that I had this car accident and ended up having this injury and got out. I was unhappy. I had administrators, no joke, come up and say to me, "See more patients. Spend less time." They wanted the factory. They wanted to in and out. It's triage care. The American Medical System is based on triage, "Let's cover things up with some pills and not get down to with what is the root cause of the problem. Try to fix the root cause." Sometimes we can't fix the root cause but we can alleviate it. Let me give you a pelvic cover-up something, that is the American system. That is unfortunately what is taught in medical schools.
It's so broken. I don't know if you follow him but I'm obsessed with Peter Diamandis. You have to look him up. He is incredible. He has a podcast with Dan Sullivan, who is the strategic coach. They do this podcast together. Peter is a futurist. He talks about all of this research and all this stuff that they are doing in medical technologies that are not widely accepted. They don't go along with how our medical system is built. They defy it. They are trying to figure out ways where they can put something into your body that will target a cancer cell and kill it without you having to do chemo, radiation. It goes against Big Pharma, which makes all their money on serving us chemo cocktails. What are some of the things that you are super passionate about when it comes to longevity and vagina? I want to keep my vagina at 48. I would like it to be like 30, maybe 35. I want to keep it the way it is right now and not have it changed, droop, sag, dry up. I don't want to have any of those issues. Hook me up. Give me some big nuggets.
There are a couple of things. What I'm passionate about is the vaginal microbiome. The microbiome is micro meaning small, biome meaning the environment in certain areas. If you are aware of a lot of things with health and what has been in the news, there are a lot of stuff on the gut microbiome. We know that 90% of your happy hormones are made in your gut. Unfortunately, the traditional American diet is not very supportive of a healthy gut microbiome. We also know that 85% of our immune system is made in our gut. This was important. During all the issues with the pandemic, if you are stressed and your gut is not healthy, you are more likely to get sick.
They also realize that there is this gut-brain connection. The happy hormones are made in your gut, if your gut is off, then you are having more issues with potentially depression and anxiety. Shifting that into the vaginal microbiome, there is a big connection between gut health and vagina health because everything is connected. We are what we eat. If we are eating inflammatory foods, then we have a higher risk of developing pelvic infections, recurrent urinary tract infections, vaginal infections. They are doing research now, which I'm so excited about, looking at a vagina brain access, the connection between the bacteria in our vagina affecting our sex drive.
When this was brought up to me, I go, "That's brilliant. Why didn't I think of this a long time ago?” If the bacteria in the vagina is off, then evolutionarily, that would not be an ideal time to reproduce. That would make sense that maybe there would be this feedback loop that would affect our sex drive. There are a lot of stuff coming out with being able to test the vaginal microbiome. I have been able to do that in my office for the last several years. They are starting their companies that are now coming out where you can do it at home. You can see exactly what is there. Fast forward this now to why is the vaginal microbiome and what happens as we get older? It's the lack of estrogen. That is the hormones are made by our ovaries.
As we go into perimenopause and menopause, estrogen levels start to decrease. When those estrogen levels decrease, the lining of the vagina starts to thin out. It starts to dry up. It starts to lose its elasticity. We end up having vaginal dryness, pain with intercourse. Our risk of vaginal infections and urinary tract infections go through the roof because estrogen makes this nice healthy tissue in the vagina. When that tissue sloughs off as it grows, the healthy bacteria eat it. The healthy bacteria lose their food source. Your microbiome goes out the window. You lose your healthy bacteria and now you get bad bacteria. You get inflammation. This affects the whole body. I hope I didn't confuse everybody. To have a healthy, happy vagina, there are a couple of ways to do it. You want to do all the things that you need to do to support your health like eat well, make sure you are drinking fluids, get enough sleep, eat a low inflammatory diet. That will help with the microbiome to a certain point with the gut, but then we have to do things for the vagina.
What has been on the market for years is just estrogen creams. Women don't want slimy creams and things. It's uncomfortable. There is always the question about, "What happens if it gets on a male partner?" Since 2016, we have had some amazing technologies that have come out. It's snowballing. Every time I look, there is something new. It started with the Mona Lisa Touch vagina laser. I love some of these technologies over having to use a hormone cream all the time. The lasers use light energy to stimulate the tissue to regrow. Lasers have been around since the 1980s. They have been using it cosmetically.
I look back and I go, "Why didn't I think of this?" Somebody is like, "If it works on the face, why don't we turn it into a probe and put it in the vagina?" That came out on the market in the United States in 2016. It has been out in Europe forever and that opened the floodgates. We went from having one company, one product on the market with laser treatment to now, there are 10 million companies that have their own lasers, laser the vagina. There is something called radiofrequency, which uses heat to use sound waves to generate heat to stimulate the vagina. With COVID, they were like, "People aren't coming out of their houses to get these laser treatments, we’ve got to come up with some home devices."
I almost bought one during the pandemic. I feel like it popped up in my Instagram feed or something. I was, "It's a neurofeedback thing that you put in your vagina."
This is the My L. There is also Joylux Company that makes one called the vFit that uses red light. Once again back to aesthetics, we know that red light penetrates your tissue and stimulates regeneration. My goals are someday to get a red light bed because that would be awesome. It regenerates all your tissue. They made it into a vaginal probe. You put it in the vagina and regenerate your tissue. There is also a company called CO2 Lift. They use something called carboxytherapy, which uses carbon dioxide in a gel form that you put in the vagina. It helps to draw oxygen into that tissue for vaginal rejuvenation.
There are so many of these devices and ideally, you combine them all and you get the perfect vagina. I have a lot of my patients where we laser them and then we will have them add one of these temporary gels to boost the laser or use a home device to keep it healthy. By keeping it healthy, we help support the food source for healthy bacteria. You could do all the other healthy things to keep the healthy bacteria in your body, having a healthy gut and lifestyle. Stay away from stress. That is probably one of the biggest things that have chased away some of these healthy bacteria.
You have mentioned earlier that you have a couple of programs coming up. One of them is called The Happy Vagina Rally. What is that all about?
We will be releasing The Happy Vagina Rally. It's a three-day summit with over 30 speakers talking all things, pelvic health. It's geared more now towards perimenopausal and menopausal women because that is where a lot of the problems for most women will start to show up. I'm very excited about that. We will be getting out the information soon on how to sign up for that.
Do you have all the speakers lined up for that and sponsors? Is it virtual?
Yes. We are still working on the spot. You can join from the comfort of your own home. It's all recorded. We will have some live, interaction every night. We are going to have some live question-and-answer interactions with some of the speakers so you get that more one-on-one type of interaction.
How do people find out about it?
Follow me on Instagram, @DrBetsyGreenleaf. I will be announcing it there with how to sign up for it. We are still developing some of the things for it in the platform. Follow me on Instagram and it will be coming there soon.
I have a couple of questions. One is, are you a believer in supplements? I am not peri yet. At least I don't think I am. I don't have any signs other than a little bit of brain fog but that could be because I'm super busy. I have a million things going on. What is the first step for people to find out? Is it a blood test?
There are two tests I love that are my favorite. One is a gut test to look at the blood. What type of bacteria is in your intestines? Do have a leaky gut? Do you have inflammation in the intestines? That is probably the easiest one to start with when it comes to making some changes.
I have a question. I ordered a biome kit. Do you know biome?
There are a couple of different companies out there. I use GI Map. That is the one I happen to like but there is a couple of different ones that are out there.
It sounds like you can't ship it in New York. I shipped it to my mom. My mom shipped it to me. Now, I can't ship it back because I'm in New York. I need a friend that is going to go to New Jersey to ship my shit or to drive over the state line to send it back in. Why can’t New York ship it?
That is horrible when it comes to some of these functional tests. They don't allow it. I don't know why. I have had that problem. I'm located in New Jersey. I have a lot of patients that come from New York to see me. I'm like, "We are going to get this test." Unfortunately, a lot of times I have to give them the kits. We are doing the test in New Jersey and then sending it out from New Jersey because New York State is bad. They won't allow a lot of that functional testing. That is one of the problems. A lot of the traditional testing isn't good. From looking at hormones, we can get blood levels. You could get a prescription, go to a regular lab and get your blood levels checked. Blood is only telling certain hormones. It's only telling you what's happening right then and there, the moment you had your blood taken. It's not telling you what's going on with a tissue.
There are a lot of different companies that I like, where we look at your cortisol levels, hormone levels, how you are processing your hormones. We use either saliva or urine for that. As much as New Jersey gets on my nerves with a lot of things, in that respect, I would much rather live in New Jersey or come to doctors in New Jersey than have to deal with New York State. If you are in New York, write to your politicians and be like, "This is ridiculous." Unfortunately, it has to be on a legislative level to be like, "Listen, you are lacking proper medical care,” because they are preventing this. I don't understand why.
I'm going to put this on the agenda of Giuliani's son who is running for governor. I met him at an event and I'm like, "I'm going to put this on his agenda, women's vaginal health.” I'm getting a gut check. It's the first place to begin.
For hormones, especially your cortisol, especially in busy women, we don't realize what we are doing. Our bodies were meant to be in fight or flight when we are running away from a saber-toothed tiger. We have the systems that if there is a saber-toothed tiger, this fight or flight kicks in, which is our sympathetic nervous system. It diverts energy and blood flow away from our reproductive organs or our gut, into our arms and legs so that we have the energy to run away from a saber-toothed tiger. In the modern day, our brains don't understand the difference between that saber-toothed tiger and I'm under a lot of stress. I have work commitments. Who is getting the kids to soccer? There are so much going on, our brains don't know the difference. A lot of us are in that fight or flight mode. We are just sucking all our hormones. It sucks away all your sex hormones. You can start seeing problems with your cycles.
If you are menstruating, you can pause your sex drive, and then you can even make yourself sick. You can have problems with your gut health, more inflammation. We end up messing with our adrenal glands, which make our cortisol. That is something we can easily test but not with a blood test, with either saliva or urine. You want to see a natural curve where your cortisol is very low. It's coming up in the morning that makes you wake up. It goes up during the day. You have your energy. That is supposed to go down at night where you end up starting to slow down. For a lot of women, especially that are under chronic stress, that nice curve gets completely flattened. We may start complaining of more anxiety, depression and can't get out of bed. Sometimes you get your curve reverses where people are, "I can't get out of bed. I have no energy," but then at night, they can't go to sleep because their cortisol is going up.
Things that we do in our lives, caffeine to try to give ourselves energy, alcohol at night to get ourselves to go to sleep, make that cortisol response worse. There are things that we do to try to cope and we are making it worse over time. That is the idea of what we are doing when you are talking about longevity. As a passion of mine too, we look at oxidative stress. We know that living and breathing, even if you sit still, you are going to experience oxidative stress. There are these little free radicals that bombard your cells all the time and those cause your cells to age. There are so many things that we do in our diet like a high sugar diet, dairy, gluten, these inflammatory foods that will make those oxidative stress worse, sometimes sun exposure. We need some sun but not too much sun. There are these free radicals and oxidative stress builds up in our system. What ends up happening is we age and we get these states. Some fascinating products are out there on the market.
There is a great researcher. His name is Joe McCord. He has done all the research when it comes to oxidative stress. Years ago, he came up with a supplement that he took things that we knew were antioxidants. We hear about it a lot nowadays, curcumin and there are a whole bunch of different ones. He took them and he researched them to see in what ratio were they working ideally. He found that in combination, they were synergistically boosted each other. He came up with products that can help to reverse your oxidative stress. Unfortunately, the test that he used to measure people's oxidative stress, I have not been able to find for the life of me as a commercially based test. It was something they were doing in the lab but he was able to show that you could reverse your oxidative stress to that of a newborn by taking this combination of supplements. It's fascinating.
That being said, it sounds like you are a supplement fan. That is a regimen that I'm not quite on yet but I need to get on. It's funny because I'm in search of a doctor that believes in what I believe in. Some doctors are like, "You are meant to age." My husband and I cannot accept that. He is taking some shots now. It's not a testosterone shot but it is meant to boost his production of testosterone. Not so he can like to build bigger muscles but so he can recover normally from workouts, feel good and energized. All that good stuff that testosterone does for him.
That is another area of medicine that I'm fascinated with. They are looking into using peptides. We have all heard of proteins. They are made up of amino acids, the little building blocks that make proteins. Peptides are bigger than an amino acid, smaller than protein. They go and signal the body to do different things. They are discovering that there are a lot of peptides that can be either taken, ingested in a supplement form. There are a good number of them that have to be injected. They can help to slow down the aging process. They are used for many different things. Some of them are prescription based or starting to make them as prescription drugs. Some of them are available through compounding pharmacies, through doctors. Some of you can buy through legitimate companies that make the oral versions as a supplement. There are a whole range of things there. Even they are looking into something called exosomes. It’s another type of conglomerate of building block natural chemicals to trigger your body to do things. It's like this ultimate biohacking. They are like, "Let's trigger the body to heal better."
You are going to love Peter Diamandis. He does a three-part series. He does a longevity retreat every year. He did it in the middle of the pandemic and people are like, "Are you sure it's okay?" He's like, "Yeah. We are all going to get tested. We are going to follow the protocols. It's going to be fine." They all went to this retreat. They learned amazing things. They met with all these scientists, doctors and all of these people. You are going to love it. It's a three-part podcast series. I need to listen to it again because there are so many nuggets in there that I wanted to write down and companies that I want to start following that are all into this space. There is something here, Betsy that is meant to be for us to help out the universe. I'm such a believer in that. As someone who lives in Long Island, do you do virtual, Telemedicine? Are you doing a lot of virtual patients?
This another thing that drives me crazy. Get in front of your legislators because it has to be new changes lot. The laws on Telemedicine are so crazy. I'm in the process of trying to get my license in other states because even though my butt is physically sitting in New Jersey, at least for New Jersey, I can only practice on somebody who is also physically in New Jersey. That means that either you are coming to my office or if it's a Telehealth, you are physically sitting in New Jersey. Theoretically, you could ride over the bridge and go sit in a Starbucks, use the Wi-Fi, sitting in New Jersey, and then I can see you.
That is probably one of the reasons why I'm in the process of trying to get licensed in other states. From a business standpoint, we are talking about how you support women's businesses. I have a website called the Pelvic Floor Store that has pelvic health products. I am developing that website further. It's not just going to be products but we are also going to be doing education. The education will be through the Pelvic Floor Store, some of these courses and summits.
Also, we are trying to develop home based testing. As long as you are not in New York, you can do some vaginal microbiome testing, send it in and be associated with a Telehealth service and also have in-person services. It's in the works. We are not all the way there. That's what we want to see. At some point, have the Pelvic Floor Store even franchised so that there is a Pelvic Floor Store everywhere women can go. What I see with women, how many times has it been 5:00 on a Friday when you are like, "Something down there doesn't feel quite right, itchy. I think I'm getting a bladder infection." You can't get into your doctor and you can't get in anywhere. That's one of my goals, to try to answer that question and provide people with services where they can at least get the relief fast until they can get in the doctor.
This conversation has been amazing. One of the things that I love to do is to support women in business. I love all that you are doing. I want to support you in any way that I can. Maybe we do some Clubhouse rooms.
I have a club. I haven't figured out how to do it, though. I started a club at Clubhouse called the Jani Posse. I talk about all things, women's health. I cannot figure out how to host a meeting through the club. I think I have to get my iPad and do it. I tried to do it on my Android and I can't seem to go about inviting people into the club through my phone. I’ve got to sit back down with my iPad, try to figure out how to invite people, start hosting the club and have women come to talk about anything. It doesn't even have to be necessarily vaginal health. We will be talking about, "I'm stressed because I'm trying to start this business. I'm not getting a lot of support." Anything that is part of our lives.
We could host a room under my club, which is Women Fostering Women. We can invite everyone that comes to that room to your club.
That is amazing. I think that would work great.
What else can I do to support you in all of these endeavors? You also have your Pelvic Peace Program. Can you talk about that?
That is being developed. It is going to be a two-tiered type of program. One is going to be a do-it-on your virtual course that you go through to figure out how to rebalance your pelvic health, stop urinary tract infections and recurrent vaginal infections, forget about your pelvis so you can get on with your life. That's going to be a do it on your own type of self-guided course. Next would be a group program. We do it where we were going to meet weekly. I'm looking at it as a three-month course. It's being developed. Once again, as soon as that's developed, if you follow me on Instagram, in the meantime, I'm putting out tons of stuff on Instagram.
Do you have a Facebook group?
I have one that exists but I have not advertised it. I don't have anybody in it yet. I do have a Facebook group called Pelvic Restore. I haven't promoted it too much. I think I have a group, I will probably do a lot better than if I'm just posting about vaginas. You can't get ahold of anybody on Facebook to be like, "Just because the word vagina is out there, it doesn't mean it's a porn site. I'm trying to spread health awareness." I know Facebook has gotten bad when it comes to just anything healthy. Forget about blocking vaginas, they are blocking everything health-related now. I know a lot of top health experts that are even getting off Facebook because of it. In return for my readers, what kind of services do you offer?
I have a membership, which I was going to talk to you about. It's called the Foster Women membership. It's a website where you post your personal story about why you started your business, what your achievements have been, what motivated you. It's a place for women to connect with other women and see the personal side of their business, as opposed to just reading an about page. What it also does is, gives you access to other women. If you were looking for a web designer or a graphic designer, I vetted everybody that's on that website. It's not something that is out there to the entire world where anyone could just sign up vet people into it. I want to use it as a referral source.
If you are looking for a headshot photographer, I have this amazing woman who does headshot photography for women over 40. It's very different than headshot photography for anyone. If you need a headshot photographer and you are over 40, she is on my website, you know that she is amazing. It's almost like I brought all of these badass women together onto FosterWomen.com. What I also do is, if you are a Foster Women, you become part of our portal. I have been doing them weekly, I'm not sure if I'm still going to do them weekly, I do education sessions, where I asked Foster Women to come in and educate other Foster Women on what they do and how they do it. I did an Instagram coaching class. I coached all the Foster Women on Instagram, tips and strategies.
I had the public speaking coach come in. I have had an email marketing person come in. I bring in the Foster Women to educate the other Foster Women. I ask them to give a discount to Foster Women that sign up for their services. It's an amazing community. It has been super fun. That is one aspect of the business. I also do one-on-one consulting. For anybody that is looking to deep dive into some of the business issues they are having or if they are doing a launch and they need help, that is something that I do as well.
I have a twelve-week program, which is a twelve-week accountability group where we set goals for those twelve weeks. We hold each other accountable over those twelve weeks. We do virtual meetups every week to check in, what was your win, what are you working on, how can we support you, conversations. As part of that, I do one-on-one coaching. You get three hours of one-on-one time. We do three hours of group coaching. I will take a pulse of the group and see what everybody needs for their business. I will bring in a speaker accordingly. That is the twelve-week program. Those are the big things I'm working on right now. I'm launching this tool kit if I can get all the tools finished in time. Over time, I have been building this business. I have been putting all these tools together. They are now inside a nice toolbox that will have all the different tools. That is the big push that I'm doing.
That is so amazing, especially with supporting other women in building their businesses. In my spare time, I also go to school. I’ve got my MBA in 2020. I'm now doing a dual degree in Strategic Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It should be on my LinkedIn account. I did an article not too long ago about investing in vaginas, and how, unfortunately, the business world is very male-dominated. I think this is great that you are supporting women. The more women can have businesses and develop, I think the better the world is going to be. My focus is femtech on pelvic health, which has been squashed by the investment community in the past. It was something about 2% to 3% of global venture dollars are given to female founders of companies. That is not even female founders having to do with pelvic health stuff. That is any company that has a female founder. We need to change that and change those conversations. We are not in the 1800s anymore. It's time.
One of the things that Peter Diamandis was talking about is that our Big Pharma doesn't test the majority of drugs on women. I had no idea. I have a twelve-year-old daughter. I'm vacillating on, whether or not I want to put this vaccine in her. Part of it is, how do they know? How is this going to affect these girls? I'm a Jewish neurotic. This is so ridiculous but I'm going to admit it on the show. We watched a couple of episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale. I don't want to ruin it for you but I will give you the premise behind it, which is basically all the women in the world become infertile, except for a handful of women that are still able to conceive.
This new government, the most messed up government, if they have an infertile wife, they get these women who come out of this prison camp where they are mentally messed with. They are literally just there as a baby maker. In my head, I'm thinking, "If I don't vaccinate her and she is one of the few women that remain fertile, she is going to become a handmaid." Do I want that life for her? Maybe she should just be infertile with the rest of the world. This is the ridiculous neuroses that go on in my head. It's hard to think through.
I understand why they don't do and this is what Peter Diamandis was saying, we are so confusing. We are so complicated. You are shaking your head because you know a lot more than I know. I'm taking what someone else has told me. We have all different stages, ages, hormones and cycles. Depending on where you are in your cycle and your age, all of these other things, your chemicals, as you were saying before, it will be completely different, depending on what time of day it is even. How on Earth are we supposed to test drugs on women? I get why they don't do it. Maybe they should find more money, since they are Big Pharma, to figure out a way to test for drugs.
Most drugs are tested on men because women are very complex, plus the fact that we can get pregnant. Big Pharma does not want to test on women. All of a sudden, we get pregnant and this baby has some problem. They come after the company. We don't have the same systems as men. We don't have the same hormones. It’s a lot more complex. We do need more research on women's health. I think that we are heading that way but it's not anywhere close now. Hopefully, in the future, we are seeing more and more companies that are women-friendly and information coming out. We’ve got to keep pushing for it supporting other women in business is going to turn that around too.
That is what I love to do. It's all-encompassing in terms of what I love to do. When I start with women, we start talking about they want to start a business, to make this amount of money, it reverts to how much time do you have in a day? How do you handle stress? Do you have kids running around? What else are you managing and juggling? In my Clubhouse bio, it says, "You are helping women juggle the struggle." It is a struggle. There is no balance. It's a juggle. How good are you at juggling is the question at the end? We are all just a bunch of clowns. It's like a clown on a roller coaster.
I don't want to open a can of worms but I'm going to put this bug in everybody's ear because this is another conversation that we can do another time. Women are very good at multitasking, except for the bedroom, it's not the time to multitask. This is why a lot of women have problems with sex or sex drive. Your brain is your largest sex organ. You need to only be thinking about one thing when you are trying to have sex versus, "What is going on at work? Who's taking so-and-so to soccer practice? What is for dinner?" That is one place that we need to learn to shut off our brains.
Do you have any advice for women on that? I'm in a second marriage. I have had a whole rejuvenation of my sex drive. I shouldn't say it's fortunate but it was fortunate for me. I thought I was dead sexually. I'm a very sexual person. I met my husband and I was, "I'm alive again." These things work. This is amazing. How do you keep that going? How do you shut out all the other stuff to get back into that place? Orgasms are all mental. That is something I think you learned later in life. That is, again, another whole account. We need a three-part series show. Any tips for women?
The research was done by Rosemary Basson. I have been trying to get her on my podcast forever. Everyone thinks of the Masters and Johnson's graph of sexuality, where it's your desire and arousal, it goes up, it plateaus, you have an orgasm and it comes down. Masters and Johnson did amazing things in their time but that graph does not describe women at all. If you look up Rosemary Basson, she did a new model of women's sexuality. It's all these interconnecting circles. If you could understand that model of sexuality, then your life will change. Some so many women put pressure on themselves, "I don't have the desire anymore." It becomes a stressful thing. What happens is, for many women, especially as they age and have more responsibilities, the initial, immediate desire goes away. That spontaneous desire can't happen. It's not the commonplace thing for many women. What is commonplace and can help is if you have the willingness. Willingness is the number one key. You have to commit to willingness. You have to be, "I'm going to try."
You have to have that conversation with your partner. Sometimes, you have to even schedule it. We see these things in the movies where people are rolling around in the ocean waves, which I still never understand because I'm always thinking about where is that sand getting into? In the movies, one minute or the next minute, you are all over each other. Set some time aside, work with your partner and be like, "I'm willing to try." You also have to have this agreement that you are willing to stop if it's just not going that way. For a majority of women, if you are willing to try and go through the motions, that is when arousal will kick in and the desire to want to go further kicks in. You have this great sex. You will have a satisfying sexual event that encourages you to do it more. When I explained this to a lot of my patients, they go home and they try it. They come back and they are like, "You're right.” Once I did those steps, I started going, "Why don't we do this more often.?" It's important to make a conscious effort and try to go like, "I'm willing to go through the steps."
How do you accomplish a task? Get started. How do you have good sex again? You just get started. You have to be willing to do it. Take the first step.
Go through the motions of it. A lot of times it will move into something else. If it doesn't, let's try it again another time. It's not a race. Certainly, don't go forward if you are not interested. That is the worst possible thing you could ever do. In the same thing, I don't understand this whole idea of women faking it. Just be, "It's not working." Communicate it. You are going to create this system if you are angry, you are not going to like it. It's going to be stressful every time you are in that situation. Speak your mind and try it. If it's not working, then do it another time. I could talk about all this stuff forever and ever.
This has been my favorite show. We should make this like a weekly series.
From my standpoint, where can people find more information about you?
I am everywhere, @Fostering101. My LinkedIn is Hayley Foster. Make sure you look at me on a different platform because there is a few Haley Fosters on LinkedIn but I think I am the Haley Foster on LinkedIn. That is where to find me. My website is also Fostering 101. For anyone that wants to become a Foster Woman, that website is FosterWomen.com.
With me, I’ve got DrBetsyGreenleaf.com. More so, follow me on social media, mainly Instagram. It's probably the best one I am on. It's, @DrBetsyGreenleaf on Instagram. It's the most active out of all the accounts but I am on other things. We will be developing more the PelvicFloorStore.com.
I'm super excited to have had this time with you. Thank you so much, Betsy. I appreciate your time and all of your incredible insights. You have so much value for women, unbelievable. I look forward to staying connected, doing some fun things on Clubhouse, getting you into the Foster Women platform, supporting you and your events coming up. This has been great. Thank you.
Thank you so much too. I'm so glad we connected. This is wonderful.
Everyone, thanks for reading.
@DrBetsyGreenleaf – Instagram
@Fostering101 – Instagram
Hayley Foster – LinkedIn
LinkedIn - Betsy Greenleaf
About Dr. Betsy Greenleaf
Dr. Betsy A.B. Greenleaf DO, FACOOG(Distinguished), FACOG, FAAOPM, FPMRS, MBA
America's Vagina DoctorTM, First Board Certified Female Urogynecologist in the United States
Board Certified in Obstetrics/Gynecology
Board Certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery
Board Certified in Procedural Medicine and Aesthetics
Masters of Business in Strategic Management and Innovation