In this episode, Tara talks with Dr. Jamie Erwin of VIVI Women's Health about the correlation between mental and physical health, as well as the different stages of womanhood. Throughout their discussion, Jamie offers advice on coping with isolation and talking to your physician.

Mental and physical health

Mental and physical health are sometimes linked. Mental health issues can manifest in physical symptoms, such as anxiety causing an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Stress can even have an impact on a woman’s menstrual cycle. Jamie says she tends to see more adolescents seeking guidance about period abnormalities in January after final exams.

Jamie’s background and some advice on success

Jamie grew up in Fort Worth and attended the University of Arkansas. She returned to Texas to attend medical school at UT Southwestern and got married to a West Point graduate after her first year. Jamie talks about the low points, the challenges of loneliness and worrying, she went through while she was in school, and her husband was deployed. For women experiencing isolation and anxiety, Jamie suggests finding someone to talk to who either has been through something similar or is a professional, which could include an OB-GYN. The most important thing a doctor can do is listen and build trust with their patients.


In this episode, Jamie walks through the different stages of womanhood, from adolescence to the reproductive years to menopause. Adolescence is a challenging time, as a young woman's body is changing, and an initial visit with a gynecologist can be a scary experience. Jamie strives not only to help normalize body differences, speaking to the negative impacts of social media, but also to create a safe space for having difficult conversations.

Reproductive years

Jamie describes the reproductive years as those in which many women find themselves — many are finishing education, starting careers, looking for a potential partner, etc. Women may deviate from set expectations and are often faced with pressures about starting a family, though it’s a deeply personal choice. Jamie talks about the challenges of infertility and the courage she sees in women that decide to keep trying. She also discusses postpartum, as well as postpartum depression, and how taking care of a newborn is often the hardest thing a woman has ever done, likening it to running a race without knowing where the finish line is. Jamie compares mental health issues to a broken arm — they require care and time to heal.


Jamie says menopause, which is defined as twelve consecutive months without having a period, is a very individualized experience unique to every woman. She explains that a woman can be perimenopausal, or experience "pre menopause," for up to 14 years, during which time she can experience hot flashes and night sweats.