In the new recurring guest column “Ask the Gynecologist,” Kate White, M.D., of Boston Medical Center, answers reader questions on all things gynecology.
As the author of the Mayo Clinic Press book “Your Sexual Health,” she’s ready to dole out wisdom on sex, periods, menopause and more. This is just one example of Mayo Clinic Press bringing in experts from across the country to address questions and spark discussion about health — to put the needs of the patient first.
As readers of her books know, Dr. Kate — as she likes to be called — addresses light and weighty topics alike with warmth, straightforward explanations and humor. Reading Dr. Kate’s writing is like talking to a girlfriend — but one who’s an expert in women’s health.
“I think I’m most attracted to talking about and writing about things that are traditionally laden with a lot of shame and embarrassment, and sometimes outright stigma,” she says. “Anything below the waist is very hard to talk about. We use euphemisms.”
As an OB-GYN, she loves being able to answer patients’ questions to empower them with information about their bodies — from “What’s up with my periods?” to “Why is one breast bigger than the other?”
But even in the privacy of an exam room, patients are sometimes hesitant to bring up topics that they find embarrassing. It may take them a while to find the courage to ask or even formulate their questions, she says.
That’s the beauty of an online advice column, says Dr. Kate (an avid advice column reader herself).
“An advice column is the equivalent of the shoe box that went around in high school class, where people would put questions in — where they didn’t want to admit who was asking what question. This is just the grown-up version of that.”
An advice column is also a great space to unload any worry that’s been “rattling around your brain,” Dr. Kate says, or the questions you’re dying to ask, “but don’t want to ask your parents, your partner, your sister, or your doctor, and really want a reputable source.”
She loves tackling hard questions — and has fun answering simple ones. So whatever your quandary, don’t hold back.
“Nothing is off-limits. Use the anonymity of the internet to be able to ask the deepest, darkest scariest (questions) that you have, or the light-hearted, seemingly silly, trivial things,” she says. “If it’s taking up space in your head, you are not the only person whose head it’s in.”