Women are incredible, powerful and strong creatures. They could run the world if they wanted to. Yet, why is it that women are always underserved and unheard? Dr. Mona Orady grew to be very familiar with this topic after listening to her mother’s circle of friends vent about their struggles as women in society. She would often hear the grown-ups complain about not getting the proper healthcare, and how they would feel uncomfortable about being treated by male doctors.
And so, at the young age of nine, Dr. Orady had already decided she would become a gynecologist. She wasted no time getting her degree and started medical school at the University of Western Ontario in Canada when she was only 18 years old.
Her move to fulfill her residency at the Ohio State University pushed her passion for OB-GYN even further, fostering her passion for minimally invasive surgery.
“I felt the main problems that weren’t treated well were a combination of menstrual problems, pelvic pain and infertility — all the issues that have to do with the uterus,” Dr. Orady shared. “Basically, every woman was just offered either a birth control pill or a hysterectomy. And I didn’t feel like either option was a good option. And that was kind of what set me on the path of becoming an expert in menstrual disorders.”
Now, Dr. Orady is the president of the Society of Laparoendoscopic and Robotic Surgeons, and with more than 10,000 minimally invasive surgeries and over 3,000 robotic surgeries under her belt, she travels the world to teach and mentor medical students, residents and surgeons on advanced minimally invasive surgery techniques and alternative menstrual problem treatments. In this article, she shares her advocacy for giving women the medical or surgical treatment they rightfully deserve.
The Biggest Problems Women Face and How to Treat Them
It’s not uncommon for women to complain about painful periods or pelvic pain. Many women think that the pain they experience during their menstrual cycles is normal, but according to Dr. Orady, it’s not.
“The most common cause of that is endometriosis, and endometriosis affects up to one in five to ten women. So it’s extremely common, but it’s also extremely underdiagnosed,” Dr. Orady expounded.
And instead of prescribing birth control pills as many gynecologists would typically do, Dr. Orady goes the extra mile and permanently removes the endometriosis lesions through micro laparoscopic or Robotic surgery.
“So rather than band-aiding the problem, I’m actually removing the problem and resolving the underlying cause of pain and the underlying cause of infertility in these patients,” Dr. Orady said.
Another typical problem women face is fibroids, affecting one in five to ten women. Dr. Orady reveals that many women don’t realize they have fibroids until they have trouble getting pregnant or develop a heavy period. Sometimes, there are instances when the fibroid gets too big and becomes difficult to remove while still trying to save the uterus. Thankfully, Dr. Orady’s skills in minimally invasive and robotic surgical techniques can remove the fibroids and reconstruct the uterus as well.
Why Are Women Underdiagnosed?
But why exactly are women underdiagnosed in the first place? Well, Dr. Orady has three answers to that question.
“There’s a lot of things that affect a woman’s menstrual cycle that are just poorly diagnosed. This is because most gynecologists — number one, don’t have the time to really dig into a menstrual problem. Number two, don’t have the energy or the education to properly diagnose it. And number three, they don’t know what to do when they do diagnosis” Dr. Orady explained.
However, Dr. Orady was fortunate enough to have studied in Canada, where there was a lot more awareness for these conditions (such as endometriosis) and even specialized centers to treat them accordingly. Countries like Australia, Germany and Italy are also more focused in dealing with gynecological problems, which is why Dr. Orady spent a lot of time traveling to these places to learn more about the specialty. These opportunities allowed Dr. Orady to offer more than just band-aid solutions such as birth control pills, and these are the reasons why she has developed surgical techniques that set her apart from a regular OB-GYN.
Awareness Is Key
If you’re a woman reading this, Dr. Orady asks you to listen up. Painful periods, painful sex and chronic pelvic pain are not the norm.
“Women don’t have to live this way. They can live a normal life if they just get treated for the problem,” Dr. Orady shared.
It all boils down to being aware of what’s normal and what’s not. And when a woman is diagnosed with endometriosis or fibroids, they shouldn’t settle for poor advice from their OB-GYN to just take birth control pills or do nothing. Instead, Dr. Orady urges women to seek an expert right away.
“Women need to be heard, and they need to advocate for themselves. And if they’re not being heard, they need to find someone who will hear them, who will listen to them, who will actually understand their problem, diagnose it and then advocate for the best treatment for them,” Dr. Orady said.
A Minimal Future for OB-GYN
According to Dr. Orady, the availability of minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery is a big game-changer for gynecology. Such advancements have allowed reconstructive surgeries on the uterus to be done successfully and have improved fertility for many women. But more importantly, these minimally invasive surgeries have allowed women to heal quicker.
“We [women] take care of everything. We work full time. We take care of the house, the kids, we take care of our parents. We take care of the pets. We take care of our friends. I mean, we’re the caretakers of the world. And so, when it comes to taking care of ourselves, we can’t afford, or we won’t sacrifice weeks and weeks of not taking care of everyone else in order to take care of ourselves. Minimally invasive surgery allows women to get back on their feet right away,” Dr. Orady concluded.
And lastly, when asked about her personal plans for the future, Dr. Orady had this to say:
“I have a dream of opening a center for taking care of women that includes nutrition. That includes psychology, that includes physical therapy, acupuncture and all sorts of different ancillary medical services that really take care of the whole woman, not just the one thing that we’re looking at.”
Her holistic approach to healing patients is definitely something Top Doctor Magazine is excited to see and is precisely the breath of fresh air that women need.