🦩How infertility and autoimmune diseases make us feel like we are not in control of our bodies.
🦩How just because something is healthy, that doesn’t mean it’s the right food for you.
🦩Why do we have to become more in tune with our bodies.
🦩Getting back to our feminine sides.
“What they say is healthy may not be what your body needs.”
Throughout history women were revered along with our traits and habits. As time advanced that changed from a matriarchal society to a more patriarchal society. Now we are just starting to reverse this trend and again place value in the matriarch approach.
As women it’s so important for us to be in tune with our bodies and understand what it’s like to take care of ourselves. In our fast paced world it can seem selfish to slow down and take time for our mental health, to enjoy the warmth of the sun on our skin or to take in the beauty around us.
“Let your body express itself the way she wants to.”
In this episode Dr. Nikki Cohen sits down with us and helps us better understand our womanhood, and how to really get back into our feminine sides, and why that is so critically important not just for our well being but also for our fertility journey.
“With autoimmune disease it feels like your body hates you.”
🌺 Download your FREE Guide: Top 3 Steps to Maximise Your Fertility That Your Doctor Isn't Talking About
Thank you for joining me for another episode of the finding fertility podcast. I want to remind you that every Tuesday I re launch one of my favourite episodes that we've done in the past. So if you hear any funny dates, offers or even the podcasts being called the infertile diagnosis, this is why I hope you forgive me for this and enjoy the amazing content we're putting out here on the podcast. And whenever you're ready for more guided support, make sure you go over to the website and check out the fertility formula. This is where I take you through the six vital steps you need to overcome your fertility issues. The formula is an exclusive 10 week online programme packed full of everything I did to get pregnant naturally, using science backed functional medicine, you'll discover the method I take with my one to one clients without the high price tag. start boosting your fertility naturally by maximising all areas of your health today, the monthly membership includes special access to me your fertility health coach, so check it out over at the website, www dot fining fertility.co backslash fertility formula. Hello beautiful and welcome to finding fertility. I'm your host Monica Cox from finding fertility.co And I created this podcasts to help get you to start thinking outside of the box and realise that your infertility might have nothing to do with your lady but rooted in functional medicine and personal experience. Finding fertility is all about looking at the whole body and finding the root cause of your infertility. Finding fertility does not diagnose, prescribe or treat any issues of infertility. But what we do is take a holistic approach and improve your diet and your lifestyle to get you steps closer to creating your dream family. Just by being here with me listening to this podcast. You're already going down the right path to making your dreams come true. Let's do this together. Happy Friday all it is September 18. I hope you've had a beautiful week. Thanks for tuning back in. Today we have a special guest is Dr. Nikki Cohen. Dr. Nikki is a Doctor of Physical Therapy who has been specialising in women's health for the past 10 years. She is the owner of a successful private practice organic PT out of San Diego, my home town country state San Diego's a town right. She offers women a holistic approach to healing through traditional and non traditional methods. She believes that the woman's body has an infinite intelligence and the source of her power. she educates us and empowers us to reconnect with our bodies and take back our power. So without further ado, let's get to today's episode. Today we have Dr. Nikki on the podcast. I'm super excited to have her on because she is going to help us reclaim our vaginas. Because for a lot of us, especially going through fertility treatment, sometimes it doesn't even feel like our own anymore. So welcome to the podcast. Nikki.
Thank you, Monica. I'm so happy to be here.
Tell us a little bit about your story. Because for a lot of our listeners, we're dealing with unexplained or autoimmune issues and you have your own personal story with autoimmune issues.
I do Yes, about six years ago, I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. And by the time they had found it, it was in that severe category, which was shocking to me. And they immediately put me on all sorts of medications and whatever. But it was the most life altering experience to date of my life. In my 40 years on this planet so far, maybe like some of your other listeners, I felt as if my body was not my own. I felt as if my body was doing its own thing, and I had absolutely no control over it. And through the process of experimenting with different other types of modalities and dabbling more into spirituality and energy work. It really allowed me to see that it wasn't that my body had a mind of its own. But my mind was completely disconnected from my body. I was doing things and living my life in a way that I thought was the right way to be. I was vegetarian at the time. I was doing yoga two or three times a week I was meditating every day. I still got this disease and I just threw my hands up and threw Are several fits of tears and screams. I recognise that it. Like I said, it wasn't that my body was betraying me those were the words that I used for years, it was that I was betraying my body
100% Because infertility itself feels like your body just hates you. And it's very much so like that with autoimmune disease. So you're a doctor. So you obviously went through a lot of schooling. And you had this autoimmune disease during the schooling, as well. No, it
happened after I received my doctorate in physical therapy. And that was I think, I graduated oh, five. And this didn't happen till 2014. So I had been a working professional, very properly trained by Western medicine, to deliver all of the physical therapy techniques for people, you know, again, I thought I was doing everything right. I was living the high life I had a doctorate, I was working at Kaiser, I had a well paying job, probably the most well paying job in the world of physical therapy in America. I had all the benefits like it was, you know, on paper, it was perfect.
Yeah. Did you feel sick? No.
I felt great. I mean, I'd always had some history of digestive issues growing up, you know, little bouts of constipation and bloating and things like that. But nothing I'd ever write home about. I mean, and as a woman, you get a menstrual cycle. So a little bit of lower abdominal pain was not going to send me to the doctor. Yeah, but it wasn't until the pain you know, the normal menstrual cycle pain, if you will, started. And it was it was this was a new pain. It was not a period pain. And it was not all I haven't pooped in a few days pain. It was this new, sharp stabbing, I can't move pain that went misdiagnosed for months and months, because my main symptoms at the beginning of the Crohn's journey was in my vagina and in my pelvis. So I thought, I have something wrong kind of psychologically. So I went to two different gynaecologist and obstetricians. And I was like, I feel like something is falling out of my vagina. And I thought I had a prolapse. And they looked and they were like, You have no prolapse. Everything looks fine. And I was like, Well, why does it feel like there's a brick inside of my body that I am carrying around with me everywhere. And they were like, I don't know. And then eventually, after the third gynaecologist, it was, well, maybe you need to see a psychologist. And I was like, this is not in my head. And I'm fully aware that there is a mind body connection. But then I started to really think I was crazy. And I did go see a psychologist, and I couldn't sit in the chair because it hurts so bad, and paste in her office and talk to her about how I can't focus at work, because I have this pain in my vagina. And so she threw her hands up and basically told me I was crazy to not in those words, of course, I mean, more professional than that. Yeah.
I mean, I don't we are laughing now. Because we can but for for many of us, I mean, I've been in the same situation where I've been in OBGYN office, I told her about my theory of this autoimmune issue, how was it, like affecting my fertility? And she basically like she laughed at me and told me that was made up science. And like, when you are dealing with that physical pain, that mental pain, that emotional pain, and professionals who are there to guide you and help you and we kind of have given them this godlike status, are basically telling you that you're crazy. I feel like it compiles on to the issues you already have.
Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. I mean, if the doctors were trained that if the doctors can't find something, either with their eyes or on the tests, then there's nothing there. Yeah. And what they actually teach and it might be different now because it's been almost 20 years since I've graduated, but what they even teach in physical therapy school is that those diagnostics, the bloodwork the MRIs, the CT scans, and the X rays are only about 85% accurate anyway. And especially with bloodwork, it puts you into a huge range of what normal is, it doesn't take into account me, it just takes into account that I'm a 35 year old female. That's it.
That's it and most of the people who are getting that bloodwork done, are sick because they need it. So the ranges over the years just been pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed. And yeah, everyone's kind of normal. And then they come to see people like us, and I'm like, Whoa, your thyroids, crazy. They're like, Oh, they say it's normal. It's like, it's cool.
Yeah, yeah. And I had some markers in my bloodwork that were abnormal, but they were like, well We'll just keep an eye on things. So you know, to be more specific, as you probably know, with an autoimmune condition. Oh, wait, did you have
autoimmune? Yeah, yeah.
The AMA count was really high on me. It was like, really high. I'm trying to remember I think it was in the 1000s, when it's supposed to be nothing. But they were like, well, I don't know, we'll see. We'll just wait. And I was like, You don't understand. And over those months, the pain that was in my vagina started to move backwards into my rectum. And that was when it became severe, it felt like not to get too graphic, but it felt like there were shards of glass within my butthole at all times. Every time I moved every time I walked. And then whenever I would sit, it was like a scalpel was being jammed up there. Though I had that in addition to this brick sensation, and like this falling out sensation in my vagina, and that was like, nothing is showing up anywhere. Like, how is this possible? And then finally, thanks to my sister who talked me into going to the hospital because they hadn't ordered any MRIs or anything like that yet, because I don't know why that was when they finally gave me some God's saving meds. And there is a place in medicine for Western drugs. Let me tell you, they saved my life in that moment, and then they did a colonoscopy and an MRI. And that was when they they saw it, and they were like, the doctor actually apologised. She was like, I'm so sorry. But your presentation was so not Crohn's disease. I had no blood in my stool. I had no diarrhoea, I had nothing. In fact, I was pooping every day, twice a day, and everything was great. I had a normal menstrual cycle, like everything was fine, except for this unexplained pain. And so I think that was one of the reasons why I felt this huge disconnect between what I was doing right in my mind and what my body was actually communicating to me. And then that got reinforced and validated and supported by my godlike doctors, right of all of that. And then finally, it was this very odd, ironic moment when they told me that I had Crohn's disease, and I almost felt well, at first I was devastated because I had a cousin who had Crohn's disease, and I saw what she went through, and she's been she's on her six abdominal surgery. And that was the norm for Crohn's. And I was like, Oh, my God, my life is doomed. And at the same time, I was like, see, I'm not crazy. I was almost kind of happy
like 100% Yeah, anyone dealing with unexplained infertility, once they get that, like, this is your issue. You're just like, you're so thankful you're almost willing the test to come back of normal, so you have something to focus on and fix and explain. Explain that you are not crazy.
Yeah, exactly. When I was creating my private practice and physical therapy, I've wanted that to be my tagline as you're not crazy. I wanted all those women to feel like they were heard and validated and they had a safe place to come.
Yeah 100% Now dealing with it over the six years so you've obviously you were already vegetarian, which when people hear the word vegetarian they think health like automatically but in reality you could be pretty unhealthy on a vegetarian diet. What What's your thoughts on your your journey with food?
Well, I am I have tried every diet on the planet. I was normal, right? Grew up meat and potatoes, family, whatever, no vegetables, most of our fruit was in adult fruit cup. Like the healthiest upbringing with regards to nutrition, but that was why I was taking the reins of my own health and decided to go vegetarian after watching some of those, you know, a boring documentaries and all that good stuff. Yeah, in my mind, I thought I was being super healthy. I wasn't eating sick, tortured animals. And I was doing this but when I look back, I was like, I was drinking beer a lot. I was in my late 20s I was eating a tonne of cheese and grains. And like still vegetables and real fruit. This time. There is a place for animal products. I think that a person's diet or a woman's diet is kind of like unique to them, like your body needs things that my body might not need, because we have different bodies and different chemistries. And some people can't break dairy down very well like me, which may have contributed to a lot of that it can be very inflammatory. I also don't tolerate histamines very well, so all of the tomatoes and the eggplant and the zucchinis and the cashews that I was eating that were super healthy for you. Were probably contributing to the manifestation of the Crohn's. When in reality had I eaten some chicken or some fish? I probably would have been healthier. I'm not saying I would have staved off the illness, but it allowed me to see my relationship with food and how what they say is healthy is not necessarily what my body needed at the microbiotic level to perform at its best.
Exactly, and I think are people who get, you know, diagnosed with Crohn's later in life, because my husband's father actually got diagnosed 70 with Crohn's. Wow. So he dealt with symptoms for a really, really long time. But I think like you, they were just kind of like, well, usually you're born with Crohn's. Right? Like, it's, that's now getting disproven. But he, the school of thought is like you're born with it, where I think that's a really big problem with the fertility diet world is everyone has this opinion of like, this is the perfect fertility diet. And I'm sitting there going like, No, you have to find your inflammatory foods, I don't care what they are. You have to find those and eliminate them. Because just like you, I can't eat tomatoes, I can't eat over jeans, I can't eat paprika. And it wasn't like I was born that way. It was very similar to your story. I grew up on Pop Tarts, and Kellogg's cornflakes and chef for D and we didn't eat out like McDonald's every day. But it was just that 7080s generation where it's just easy, convenient, really shared highly processed food. And even though it didn't look unhealthy, for us, it was just like the catalyst for late onset autoimmune disease, and then you you put the 20s in there and party like, I can't even tell you. Like, I'm glad I just like dealt with infertility. Like, I'm glad I'm not dead, or like have a severe case of cancer or, you know. So yeah, it's really, it's harsh. And it sucks, when you find out, you now have really done way too much damage to your body to even reintroduce, because if we would have known this in our 20s, we could have maybe had a different path. Not that we could have listened, I probably would have told you to fuck off. Like, I mean, I can eat a tomato and drink beer. That's ridiculous, you know, but yeah, you we would definitely have a different journey of to where we are now, if we would have just known the truth about food. And I'm hopeful I'm hopeful for people like us. And I feel like the whole functional medicine side of science is getting out there. You know, like, it's, it's breaking through, it might take another decade, but it's getting there.
I agree with you. And I think that yeah, I mean, people of our generation, we did grow up on convenience foods. I mean, a TV dinner was my meal, like my dinner for a couple nights a week. And that was just and but that was accepted by society, you know, it was the norm. And so, you know, and it is what it is, right? And food, though it is a huge piece, I believe, to the way your body works. It's really not. It's not the only way. You know, it's not the only thing. I mean, there's childhood stressors, of course, which we could probably talk about for that dozens of hours more, which I did have, you know, some traumatic experiences as a child that I think primed my body to not be able to break down the food I was giving it and use it for all of its good. So things that maybe aren't inflammatory by science standards, were inflammatory for me, because of those reasons. You know, there, there really is that give and take and flow of your emotional status and how you view the world and how you view yourself and your body's ability to literally digest life and food and experiences and all of that.
Yeah, I mean, that is a totally another episode but I feel like that in the infertility world people do get on these perfect diets for them like like, let's say they even eliminate 50% of their inflammatory foods like the corn the dairy, sugar, soy, the emotions when it comes to it, you know, they the whole community hates when they say like stop stressing or just relax and like stress doesn't cause infertility. And I'm sitting there going like, yeah, I can does. Like you can have the perfect diet but if you're not, you know if you're still because I would say a large majority of people dealing with infertility and probably autoimmune issues to our type a man like we have stressed the shit out of ourselves. polls, and always going and going and having a doing and just pushing ourselves. And that 100% contributes to, you know, that buildup of these big issues that we're having.
What 100% 100% I am one of those self proclaimed type A people as well. And I realised that my lifestyle that I was living that was this societally accepted way of being is, you know, very type A right it's the type A personality is the honoured revered, you know, go getter person that gets all of this emotional support and validation from your peers of like, oh, wow, look at her, she never sleeps. Wow, look at her, she's just a machine. And when you get confirmation and validation, and praise, for those ways of being, you don't think there's anything wrong with it. And so to sit and stop and meditate for an hour a day is now like, lazy, like, why on earth? Would you do that? Why? Why are you gonna, you know, it's the our mind is much more valued than our bodies, actually, in this day and age and taking care of your body is seen as a privilege, right? Or it's self care is selfish. I hear that all the time from the women I work with. And a lot of times when people struggle with infertility, or autoimmune diseases, or basically anytime something isn't going the way you think it should go, it is an opportunity for us to stop and look, and really get honest with ourselves about what is not working for me. And when I did that for myself, I realised that working in corporate healthcare was not working for me. Even though I was making the bucks, and I loved making the bucks. It wasn't working, I was seeing eight to 10 people a day back to back five in the morning, lunch break, three or four in the afternoon, go home. And I found that the way I work it switching so quickly from you know, this woman, and then going and hurrying and charging a couple of notes, and then switching gears and changing the sheets and going to see another woman and doing with her for 40 minutes and going back and doing some notes. And that constant day to day, five days a week was exhausting me. Exhausting me. And when I would complain to my closest friends about it, you know, a would just be like, Well, don't sweat the small stuff, Nick, you know, you've got a great job. Now, you know, for years, I was like, You're right. I do have a great job. Why? Why is this bothering me so much. But then it would end? I wouldn't allow myself that further investigation as to why is this bothering me so much? Why is this not feeling right? Yeah. And it was once I started to actually, well, it was really once the Crohn's hit and forced me to stop and look, because I literally couldn't walk I had I couldn't go back to work. I went on state disability. And I had all the time in the world then to lay in bed and go, What the hell? Something has to change? And what is it? And that became a whole journey of is it this? I don't know. Let's try it. Let's switch things up. And yeah, that helped a little, but I'm still getting flares. Okay, there's something else still, that's not working. And through that process, I created, you know, a different lifestyle, which is not the norm lifestyle, right, that socially accepted way of being, but it it works for me. And I had to get okay with that.
Yeah, I think that brings up a really good point is that, you know, with all the self help out there, nowadays, I think people get frustrated because it just maybe doesn't click with them. And they're like, well, that doesn't work. And the point is, there's so many different ways to reconnect with yourself, you have to like, almost try them all, to find something that you know, sits with you like some people don't like meditation, it's doesn't do it for them. So you have to find a different way to, you know, slow down and reconnect and all those things, but it's about just keeping going. Right? Like if you would have given up the first year figuring out what you needed to do to be more holistic and manage your Crohn's. You probably be a medic, you know, a boatload of medication and unwell because you just think, well, it doesn't work. It didn't work in six months. So fuck it, right. So like, infertility is the same way like people get so frustrated. It's like, No, I'm not pregnant this month. It's like give us 30 days like your body literally has had the last like 25 to 35 years of being hammered. You know, if you break your leg, it's not fixed. Once you put a cast on it, you know, you have weeks and months recovery. Sometimes if it's a really bad break, you have years of recovery, and it really comes down to how much damage you've done to yourself either most of the time. him unknowingly and then giving your body that time and like you say, it's people think you, you're like you've gone fucking nuts. Right? Like people still to this day are like what? You don't eat tomatoes? I was like, yeah, they don't fucking do it like it that's just a kid Ito and I think more people are coming out. So it's like the norm like when I went gluten free, like people were really like, Oh, you're just doing gluten free. It's the trend. It's not you know, it's a cool thing to do. Now I'm like, No, my ass thinks when I eat gluten, like deep, like I could clear the like, I'm a little five foot five girl, and I could fart like the drunken sailor. Know, Like, oh, it just worked for me.
Oh my gosh, that's how I would dairy.
Right, and realising that those things aren't normal, like people think they're normal. It's like, no, they're not normal, like having really severe pain. You know, even if it's just during your periods is not normal. That's not how the woman's body was created. And I know we had this little chat about the Egyptian time and this, this documentary that you've watched, I would like you just like kind of explain that for everyone where they were very feminine and very, like picture oriented. And then it kind of moves into this more masculine age and where I feel like hopefully we're at the end of this masculine age,
I agree with you. I think we are towards the end of this masculine age where and because of all of the current social status and things that are happening right now with you know, we're questioning everything and but yeah, so back to that. So one of my passions in this ongoing journey of exploring myself and my auto immunities and and my womanhood really is in looking back into the history and seeing how things have evolved to be the way they are today. And when you look back towards the beginning of mankind, maybe not quite like early homo sapien days, and I'm not a history buff, so like, if you're a historian listening to this, don't quote me on any of these numbers. But I want to say somewhere like 50,000 years ago, you know, humans were inhabiting the planet and everything was a very matriarchal woman centred society. And you can, there are pictures that archaeologists have found, like cave pictures, and really primitive drawings of woman and a woman's body being revered. And it was because of her fertility. They compared her to Mother Nature, which is a very feminine, you know, nature is feminine, and she is the mother and because a woman could birth, a human being, and then nourish it with the milk from her breasts, the society was like you are like a god. And so for 1000s and 1000s of years, the woman and her body was revered and worshipped. And it wasn't until it like things started to change. And no one really knows exactly why things started to change. But we did slowly move into more of a patriarchal versus a matriarchal society. And nature and the woman were no longer the source of worship, it became more about knowledge and seeking and writing and reading, linear science, you know, linear ways of thoughts. And in doing so, the written word became the now worship thing, knowledge and wisdom, actually, not wisdom, knowledge, and science became more important than age old wisdom, and the written word became more important than the spoken word. And so you start to see this evolution of masculine and feminine qualities emerging as a separation and as a division, and we are still living in the aftershocks of that shifts. And so that documentary that you were referring to, I forget the guy's name, but it was I think it was called the alphabet and the goddess or something like that. And his philosophy is that it was one the written word became more available, and people were going to school more and people were reading more that the linear way of thinking of creating letters that creek eight words that create sentences that create paragraphs was very methodical and very structured, which is a very masculine trait versus cave drawings and hieroglyphics. And you could interpret messages via a singular image, which is very feminine. And so you know that that separation started to exist. And in doing so, just as the way I think human beings are, when one thing gets revered, the other thing gets shamed. And so part of a woman's power back in those days, was her physical body the ACT of giving birth, the act of nourishing another human being. And so those things started to become shamed and vilified. And now we have this society where it's not appropriate to talk about your periods, it's not appropriate to talk about sex, or your vaginas or your breasts. In fact, everything is covered up and shamed. And you wear bras to smush them down, and you wear underwear to like, hide any smells. And it's like, everything about a woman's natural womanhood is,
is gross. Basically, I can speak to that, you know, I think most women in this day and age now have this disconnect that I was talking about in the beginning of this call, be with their bodies. And you know, it took being in the hospital being diagnosed with Crohn's disease for me to actually see that I was completely disconnected from my body. And once and that spiritual journey of going back and connecting with that feminine, right not girly, feminine, like you know, lipstick and heels and all that but like that Mother Nature divine feminine, and infusing that into my way of being and going through practices to reconnect with her, helped me reconnect with my physical body and vice versa. When I became very in tune with my physical body, specifically the female parts of me, my breasts, my vagina, my labia, the pubic hair, like all of it, when you see how much kind of you have towards your bone anatomy, no wonder there's this loss of power, and this loss of sensuality. Because, you know, even though those womanly feminine things were suppressed and oppressed, it's still the thing that the guys can't handle, right? Like, that thing that is like, super duper sexy, but it's shamed at the same time. So we are brought up in this culture in this society of like, flaunt it, but not too much be empowered, but don't use your body. And like, there's just this constant dichotomy. And I am in the process now of like, forgetting all of those rules, and letting my body express herself the way she wants to not the way I think she's supposed to.
And it starts so young, right? Like, as women, we are taught how not to get pregnant, and that is don't have sex, or get on the birth control pill. There's a little little anatomy maybe that you get shown like, this is a Venus and this is a vagina, but you don't get taught about why you have menstrual cycles. So really late, you know, a lot of women, when they start trying to conceive, they actually have to look up ovulation. And when the perfect time to get pregnant is you know, where it's like, we should know, all this information, when we're young women to know that that information is just so powerful, and it just gets suppressed and suppressed. And then when you when you're doing fertility treatment, I would say like 90% of women doing fertility treatment have a full time job. They schedule around their job and their other commitments to do IVF, which is an insane motional physical procedure that lasts a really long fucking time. I mean, I used to get up at 6am, to drive to the clinic, get my blood work done, drive straight to work, work an eight hour day. And it's just like, No wonder my body was like, this is not working for me. And I'm not saying you have to be like a Buddhist monk to get pregnant. We all know that that's not true. But when you are dealing with fertility issues, you have to realise it's highly unlikely you're going to be the one who can be super stressed to the max and get pregnant. Even with fertility treatment, it's really, you really have to take a step back. And then I think like this whole not knowing your body and knowing your power and trusting your intuition and you know, believing that that's what you were born like you say like women were born to have other babies, that was our job in nature, right, and to be the carer and be the hub of the family and I think women still are, but you have to work a fucking 80 Hour Work Week on top of that.
Yeah, we definitely don't live in a society that supports a woman in her natural state. Right and we could probably talk for another podcast about like feminism and the you know, the rise of feminism and I am a self proclaimed feminist but I think that us trying to be Eat like men back to that masculine way of being of being the high ranking CEO and being, you know, working the eight hour work week and all of that I'm not saying women shouldn't be at all. In fact, it's amazing that we are yet it's very time consuming. It's one dominant way of being the type of energy and mental state and physical demand to climb the corporate ladder is not the same energy that is required to become pregnant and be with your body and nurture a family home. It's just one is not better than the other, they're just different. And so yeah, like you said, scheduling IVF sessions in between your 40 Hour Work Week is adding to that masculine way of being it's not fostering that beingness right, that that that Mama, right that like mother, that oak tree that is being it is rooted, and allowing things to come into you, pun intended. to tap into the different side of life, the feminine way of being a whole new world opens up for you, a whole new world and a relationship with your body and a relationship with your time or relationship with your purpose in life. It's really just this whole it's like a whole other world like Wizard of Oz became colour, like it's literally an entire different planet.
Yeah. 100%. So most of your work has been really with pregnancy. And after birth, have you noticed a big trend of the wear and tear of a woman's body physically and mentally when they haven't really taken that time to slow down? During one of the most amazing and underrated activities or events in our lives? You know, like when you're pregnant now, like back in the day, like, you were the goddess, you got tooken care of you, you know, they waited hand and foot on you you had and it wasn't the men doing it. It was your sisters and your auntie's in your we don't like we don't have that anymore. And it's not anyone's fault. That's just how we became and it's not the men's fault that they don't know how to take care of us. But we don't even know how to take care of ourselves. We don't even know so. So when people don't take care of their health, physically and mentally, they get pregnant, they have the baby, what are kind of the aftermath that you see,
usually, and everyone is different. But if there isn't that presence of body during the process, and when we overthink things or things should be this way when people should on themselves. And when people are trying to analyse the process versus feeling the process, whether it's during pregnancy and definitely in the act of giving birth, there is again a continuation of that disconnect of the body. And in such a vulnerable physical and emotional mental state of being postpartum. It creates a feeling of helplessness of a feeling of disability that starts to manifest in the physical body itself. So women who aren't connected with themselves and with their female community, right, like you were saying the sisters and the aunties, they have a higher incidence of bladder leakage. They have a higher incidence of pelvic pain. They have a higher incidence of dyspareunia, which is the fancy medical term for pain with penetration or they can't return to having sex without pain. There's an ongoing, it can manifest not just in the vagina and pelvic region, but it can manifest as headaches, jaw pain, low back pain that doesn't go away a feeling like something's missing a feeling like I should be happier. It's not just a physical thing, but I am a physical therapist. So that is my expertise. But over the decades that I've been working with that population, I think providing that safe space for a woman to work through those emotions within another woman. And to have that hands on contact with her physical body while we're discussing emotions, helps to bridge and reconnect her to her body, and therefore connect her to her family and that that sense of being who she is. And so it's both a physical manifestation and an emotional journey. And then to add on that, I think, again, because of this demand to hurry up and get back to work, and our government only gives us six weeks of paid maternity leave which is absolutely ridiculous in my mind because it takes six weeks for the physical body to actually heal. Not to mention, you know, the emotional stress and caring for an infant. And then if you have another kid, and then your marriage and like all the other things that are going on at that time, physical tissues take six to eight weeks to heal and a healthy body that is getting the sleep that it needs that isn't having rages of hormones, and all the other things that a postpartum female has, in doing. So also, we have this expectation to hurry up and lose the baby weight, hurry up and get back to exercise. And the women who don't give themselves that full six weeks to actually let their physical tissues heal, again, have more incidents of prolapse, which is where organs kind of fall down and potentially out of the vagina. More incidents of back pain and tailbone pain, hip pains, hip tears, the body's just not ready for the demands that we put on it.
Yeah. 100% And so what can we do when we're dealing with infertility? You know, our sexuality kind of almost gets beaten down a little bit more, right? Sex becomes a chore, very time rigid. If you're doing fertility treatment, you know, sexism, even really on the card, you feel kind of you know, you don't have your power because it's been taken away, you know, you have sticks up your vagina eggs are taken out and all that stuff. So what what are a few tips that you can give the listeners to hone in on their own sexuality themselves, while they're going through these issues?
First, I would say that your sexuality is your power. And your body is the source of that. And finding moments outside of actual sex, to connect to your sexuality is huge. And some of the little ways that you can do that is by tuning into your five senses, right, your physical messengers, so touch, smell, taste, sound, and sight, put yourself in positions or appreciate moments where something feels good, not emotionally, but literally in your body, the warmth of the sun, right as you feel it on your skin, and literally take a moment to be like, Oh, that feels really good. And let that Bayview for that 20 seconds. Or when you're eating, you know, a peach or a strawberry or a piece of just delicious fruit, like really feel how delicious and sweet and juicy it is in your mouth. When you see a beautiful flower or a sunset, like really connecting that and feeling where that beauty feels in your body is an act of sexuality, and sensuality. And so connecting with that side of yourself outside of sex helps to reframe you, and that your body and your vagina is not just for your partner's penis to impregnate you to have a baby. Right? That's, that's such a medical way of looking at things. So when you allow yourself to experience your body sensation and your connection to pleasure through your five senses, you will probably turn around and look at the act of sex different and that sex is a form of expressing your sensuality and of honouring your body. And when you can approach it that way that this is an opportunity for me to experience pleasure in my body in a very specific way. And allow that to be expressed through you in whatever way it is. I think that reframe will make it seem less of a chore because it is your powerful expression that is being manifested through the sex. It's not your duty.
I mean, infertility does it feels like a duty like you have to perform and I know there's times where I'm like, Oh my God, my husband is going away for three days. I'm going to ovulate a young and obviously in those three days, so we have to have sex really quick because he's about to leave work. Okay, what position gets him off the most? You know, and it's just like, oh my god, like, oh, like life is supposed to be created, right? It's a crazy thing. I think we can sit here and talk all day to each other absolutely adore you, Nikki, tell the listeners where they can connect with you because you really help women reconnect with their body at every single stage of infertility, fertility pregnancy after pregnancy. You were all about you know, just waking us up and getting us comfortable with our vagina. So let us know what
Yes, I would love that. Yeah, you can find me at my website of course. which is Dr. Nikki cohen.com You can follow me on Instagram at Dr. Nikki cohen.com. I also have a YouTube channel if you want to start it's mostly more pelvic floor physical therapy, pee, poop and sex stuff, but feel free to educate yourself for free in one plus videos. That is also Dr. Nikki cohen.com or not.com just Dr. Nikki Cohen. And of course on the website, there's a Contact page or you can DM me on Instagram. If you have any personal questions about yourself. I am more than happy to hop on a phone call with you and and see if there's any way I can help you. Yeah, 100%
and I'm sure anyone listening with Crohn's as well. I'm sure they can contact you with any tips and advice because it's a big thing and people do miss that disconnect when you do have a big issue like that, that that impacts your fertility or can do.
Absolutely. Yeah. Well
thank you so much again, Dr. Nikki. It's been a pleasure and I am sure we will reconnect soon and talk more about vaginas at a later stage. Pleasure is all my Monica, thank you for having me. Thank you once again for tuning in to the finding fertility podcast. If you're loving this podcast, please leave us a rating in review and let us know how this podcast is supporting you to get steps closer to creating your dream family. I hope you have a beautiful weekend and we will see you next Friday for another episode of the finding fertility podcast.
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Anything written or said about health and diet are my opinions, that I have formed over the years, through trial and error, study, reading, listening and observing. What worked for me may not work for you. I am not a doctor, nutritionist or dietician and all medical advice should be gotten from a qualified professional. Product recommendations are based on what I used during my infertility journey or wish I had.
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