Meet Dr. Jessica Shepherd. The Doctor is In (And she’s really smart).
Change the Cycle wants to introduce you to our super star Doctor on Call, Dr. Jessica Shepherd. Dr. Shepherd will be sharing her extensive knowledge and experience with us. She is not only an Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology, as well as the Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecology, at University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, she’s also a writer, and has appeared on numerous television programs, including the Dr. Oz Show, and The Doctors, where she discusses women’s gynecological health and well being. Meet Dr. Jessica Shepherd.
1. Tell us a little bit about your background, Dr. Shepherd, and how you got interested in obstetrics and gynecology?
I received my undergraduate degree from University of Oklahoma and it was during that time that I knew I wanted to be a doctor. While obtaining my medical degree, I became very interested in pursuing OB/GYN because I loved the aspect of dealing with women throughout their entire lives, from their first PAP smear to their journey with menopause and beyond. The excitement of bringing life into the world was also fascinating to me. During residency at Drexel University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, I found that I loved to be in the operating room. After residency I completed a fellowship in Gynecologic Endoscopy and Minimally Invasive Surgery at the University of Louisville where I also completed my Masters of Business Administration. In completing my fellowship, I found it empowering that I could offer my patients laparoscopic surgical procedures that may not have been offered in their past.
I have learned from my patients, that women’s health issues are not discussed enough and that there is a need to have conversations on these matters that affect them. Women’s health spans physical, emotional and spiritual positions and I address as many of these topics to create an atmosphere of encouragement and empowerment for women.
On the personal side, I’m married and have a son who is one, and another baby on the way! I love to travel, try new foods, and work out.
2. Wow, we want you to be our doctor! What is the most common complaint women have in your practice?
Everyday I see women in the office that come for a full range of issues, but the most common complaint would have to be with their menstrual cycle and particular issues they have with their cycle. That can range from too frequent, infrequent and sporadic, heavy cycles, and also pain with cycles.
3. Speaking of issues with menstrual cycles, many women experience heavy bleeding, what do you think is important for them to know?
When women experience heavy bleeding it is important that they have a thorough work up and also an understanding of their pelvic anatomy so they understand the different reasons for heavy bleeding.
4. Fibroids seem to be extremely common (and very annoying), what’s your advice?
When discussing fibroids, I feel it is imperative for women to know how common fibroids are, how the size and location affects them and also the options that they have to address them. Fibroids are the most common benign tumor of the pelvis and are very common in women, they can be symptomatic and also go undiagnosed. It is important to know that they can be dealt with medically as well as surgically if they are symptomatic.
5. Any words of wisdom for those women experiencing menopausal symptoms?
Menopause is such an important journey in a woman’s life and the transition can be a time of rapid changes due to hormone levels. The changes that happen may lead to anxiety, fears and mood swings. The changes that women experience during this time can be both positive and negative however with proper counseling and an open relationship with your health care provider, it can be a transition that can open the door to the best years of your life. With so many options for women to resort to for symptoms, it can help alleviate the changes that women can feel physically, sexually, emotionally and socially. Treatments can range from hormone replacement therapy to alternative therapies such as: exercise, relaxation methods, supplements and pelvic physical therapy.
6. While hysterectomies are still quite common, there are numerous technologies that can prevent women from having to have one, any favorites?
Although I perform hysterectomies, I still offer every option to women especially those that are procedures with minimal down time and allow women to return to their daily activity in a short time frame. Depending on their issue at the time and how it affects their quality of life, I find that being able to offer them hysteroscopic myomectomies and endometrial ablations, such as the MyoSure and NovaSure procedures, is exciting! That way, they can have short down time as well excellent outcomes for their bleeding concerns.
7. What’s the best thing a woman can do to take care of her reproductive health?
As a woman, I encourage all women to maintain good reproductive health as it is just important as their overall health. Ensuring good reproductive health can affect our longevity, ability to conceive and prevention of disease. Good reproductive health has a direct relationship with your overall health status. Establishing a close relationship with your GYN or health care provider can allow a woman to maintain regular periods, decrease infections and detect problems early. I encourage women to lead a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise and scheduling regular appointments to maintain excellent condition of the reproductive system. It also provides a way for women to take care of themselves and to discuss any concerns.
We’re so happy Dr. Shepherd is part of the Change the Cycle conversation. If you want to follow her on social media, or have a questions for her, you can find her here, or at:
- Posted by holx-admin
- On June 1, 2015