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The Path to Urogynecology, Longevity Medicine, and Patient Empowerment

From Passion to Purpose: A Journey into Urology and Beyond with Dr. Christi

 

The Path to Urogynecology, Longevity Medicine, and Patient Empowerment

Embark on a compelling journey with Dr. Christi as she shares her inspiring path from childhood dreams to groundbreaking work in urology, urogynecology, and longevity medicine. Discover how her unique blend of expertise and compassion revolutionizes patient care, blending cutting-edge technology with holistic wellness solutions. Explore the intersection of medical innovation and patient empowerment as Dr. Christi navigates the ever-evolving landscape of modern medicine, offering insights into hormone therapy, longevity strategies, and intimate health. Join her on a quest for lifelong wellness and vitality, guided by a commitment to innovation and holistic care.

 

What You’ll Learn

  • Dr. Christi’s journey from chemical engineering to urology, driven by a passion for healing and innovation
  • Why Dr. Christi empowers patients to prioritize their vitality and intimate health, using cutting-edge technology and compassionate care
  • When Dr. Christi found her calling in urogynecology and her holistic approach to wellness through longevity medicine and hormone therapy

 

Ready to get started on your path to optimal wellness? Start today by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Christi. Whether you need urological expertise, hormone optimization, dietary advice, or personalized wellness protocols, Dr. Christi is dedicated to helping you achieve your health goals.

 

Listen to the audio version below.

 

Transcript:

Dr. Christi: Hi, welcome to the Christi MD podcast. I’m so glad you’re here. And I thought today it would be a good idea to just take a step back and talk about what is urology and what my journey to urology and then ultimately to urogynecology and longevity medicine.

So I’m so glad you’re here and I hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast and click the bell so you’ll get alerted when there’s a new episode. All right, so my name is Dr. Christi Pramudji and this is about my journey through medicine. So I’m going to start at the very beginning. I’m one of those lucky people who have had a calling in my life since I was the age of three years old. I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor.

I don’t know where exactly that came from, but I just had this feeling in my heart that I just wanted to be able to help people the best way that I could. I’ve always loved studying. I always loved school and learning, and learning came easy to me. So I was able to excel in school. I had the aptitude to go into medicine. I also always loved working with my hands. I loved doing crafts and electric electrician kits that you’d get from RCA or chemistry kits. I loved crocheting and cross-stitching, sewing, and art. So it kind of is ironic that I ended up in a field that incorporates both book knowledge and using your hands. So I always knew that I wanted to go into medicine. I had a couple of little funny, funny little side thoughts along the way. One was that I wanted to be a veterinarian. I’m going to grab something really quick. This is kinda cute.

Okay, so this is something that I wrote when I was in the third grade in a class called Ringlish. I guess I was writing in English together. This is May 8th, 1978. And my mother kept this and framed it for me, which was so sweet. I just really, I was just so precious that she did that. So when I graduated from medical school, she gave me this. But this is what I wrote. I wrote, my future.

When I’m grown up, I’m going to be a veterinarian. So at this point, I thought maybe I’d be a veterinarian I just love animals. They’re all so cute and cuddly. I know I’d love my job very much. I’d also get good pay. I do all kinds of surgery. I would cure all kinds of diseases. I would give out a million prescriptions a Week, I might even have to put a pacemaker in a parrot. Before I got married I would be known as Dr. Klein big capital letters.

So I was just always enamored with the thought of being a doctor and just thought it would be really enjoyable and satisfying. And so I just kept focused on that goal throughout my education. So came time to go to college and I ended up, I was in Atlanta growing up at that time and I was encouraged to apply to Georgia Tech by a friend. So I did. It wasn’t necessarily my first choice because it really didn’t have a strong pre-med program, but I ended up getting a scholarship to Georgia Tech, an academic scholarship. And that became the best choice, you know, financially, how can you turn down free college at a great school? So I ended up going to Georgia Tech and ended up studying chemical engineering pre-med.

I sort of picked chemical engineering because I liked chemistry and math. I didn’t really want to do just biology for some reason. Now I think it would have been really fun and fascinating. But I kind of thought in the back of my mind, well if medicine doesn’t work out then chemical engineering would be a good fallback plan. Not really recognizing at the time that they’re really different fields, different types of brain alignment to do those different kinds of disciplines. So I did chemical engineering. I graduated with honors. I never really loved it. I liked parts of it. Some of the classes were pretty cool. I resonated most with the mechanical engineering classes. I thought those were really, really fun.

But I did end up graduating on time with honors and got into med school and was able to pursue my dream to be a doctor. I went to med school in Birmingham, Alabama at UAB, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and it was an excellent medical school. The Harrison’s Annals of Internal, they had a very renowned surgery program and cardiovascular program. The obstetrics and gynecology program was amazing as well as the gynecology. And there were just several really wonderful departments in Birmingham, Alabama, of all places. You know, I had not lived in a city that was smaller. But I was very pleased with my education there. I met some amazing people along the way and really enjoyed my time in Birmingham.

I was in gross anatomy in the very first semester of medical school. And this may sound kind of strange, but we were dissecting the cadaver. So you would dissect, someone would donate their body to science and we would be able to dissect their body and learn anatomy up close and personal. And I really enjoyed that. I really enjoyed using my hands, using the knife, and began to think, okay, what kind of doctor do I wanna be? I think I might wanna go into surgery. And this was in the early ’90s. There were more women going into surgery and subspecialty surgery, and a lot more women going into obstetrics and gynecology at that time. So it seemed a little bit like a reach, but it didn’t seem out of reach completely. So I decided to start thinking about that. I kind of went back and forth in my four years of med school. I did a year of research, actually in cancer research using immunotherapy on a Howard Hughes research fellowship. That was really fun and interesting. That was a really impactful year in my life. I realized I didn’t really want to do bench research for a career, but I did learn a lot. I met a lot of great people and was able to present my research around the country. So that was pretty cool.

So I got to my senior year and now I’ve got to make a decision about what am I going to do. And what you do in med school is your fourth year, you apply to a specialty. So you have to kind of nail down a specialty at the beginning of your senior year. You’ve had two years of, the way it was at my med school, we did two years of basic science in the classroom. And then you do two years of clinical rotations where you’re going through the different specialties and you do pediatrics, internal medicine, general surgery. And then you do some of the OBGYN and then you can do subspecialty electives. And you can kind of get a taste of each thing. You learn about each thing. So you have some proficiency in it. And then you get a taste to see what do you feel like would fit for you. So, at that point, at the beginning of my senior year of med school, I was really thinking about obstetrics and gynecology because it involves surgery, but it didn’t seem as crazy difficult as doing one of the general surgeries or general surgery specialties. And I didn’t really wanna deliver babies. I had done that in my rotation. It didn’t resonate with me. I thought it was cool, but it didn’t light my fire. So I thought I would do gynecologic oncology and remove uterine cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, really big, cool surgeries and good medicine, and really and the people that were there were incredible mentors. So I’m all ready to apply for that. And then I did a rotation in urology, a two-week rotation. I just fell in love with it right away. I was like, this is the coolest specialty there is. The people, the urologists were really fun. They were really down to earth, kind of a little bit on the laid back, but the smart, ambitious side, not too intense good sense of humor. You have to have a good sense of humor to go into urology and deal with genitalia and help people feel comfortable. And then just really cool technologies. And I began to see like, okay, in urology, I can treat men and women. I can treat adults and children. I can do big cancer surgeries and I can do tiny microscopic surgery, you know, vasectomy reversals. So it just had a big range of cool stuff. Plus, there are a lot of patients in urology that you never operate on. You’re just seeing them in the office and helping them solve their urological problem. So for many reasons, it appealed to me and looked really interesting. But it was the 11th hour. I had only done two weeks of this. I had my application ready for OB-GYN to apply to all these residencies across the country. I had picked out the top 10 that I was interested in from Pittsburgh all the way out to Stanford.

And at the very last minute, I changed my mind. I just decided, you know what, I’m going to go for it. I just feel like this is something that I would enjoy. And it seems kind of crazy. There weren’t very many women in urology at all at that time, and maybe a few dozen across the country. So I went for it and I interviewed across the country and I ended up matching at one of the top three programs in the nation, which was Baylor College of Medicine here in Houston, Texas. And it was perfect because I was born in Texas and I had always kind of wanted to come back to Texas. It just felt like home to me. So to be able to come back to Texas and do my training here, it just felt like, okay, this is all making sense.

So I came to Houston and did a urology residency. And I have to tell you, I don’t know how anybody could have better urological training than what I had. Baylor at that time, it incorporated, well, number one, Texas Medical Center is the biggest medical center in the world. There are so many hospitals just concentrated in this, in Houston, in this small area. And my residency incorporated almost all of those hospitals. We went to St. Luke’s, Methodist, those are private hospitals. We did Bentob, which was the general public hospital where we would have trauma and gunshot wounds. We had Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest children’s hospital in the world. And we had the Veterans Administration, the VA hospital, which has a whole range of urological and patients that are struggling with all kinds of different things.

So, we learned everything. We learned the biggest surgeries that there are in urology. Removing the bladder, reconstructing, making a new bladder, removing all the lymph nodes, big, removing big, giant kidney tumors that are invading into the blood vessels, the great blood vessels of the, like the inferior vena cava all the way down to microscopic. I mean, we trained with world-renowned Dr. Lipschultz who does microscopic vasectomy reversal. So we did all that. We would do gunshot wounds, we’d be on trauma call and we’d have gunshot wounds to the kidney, the penis, the scrotum, the vagina, all of that. It was incredible. I had the most broad, amazing experience, many world-renowned urologists that I worked with. So super proud of that if you can’t tell, and did a year of research. I was part of our program. It was a six-year training program. So I was in school and training all the way up until I was 35 years old. No, that’s not right. Up until I was 33 years old. I was getting ready for my career, but I loved every minute of it. It was not even like, I didn’t feel like I was waiting. I was just embracing each moment as it came. So I did all this wonderful training and then considered a fellowship to be more specialized, but I was getting ready to kind of start my family and thought I don’t want to move around. I’m just going to get going here in Houston. And I joined a really great group, an incredible group of urologists in Houston, a private practice. And then it was interesting because my practice became almost immediately all-female. I mean, I was really kind of annoyed at first because I did so much training with men and helping them with their prostates and erectile penile implants, you know, whatever men needed I could do. But as soon as the women heard that there was a female urologist in West Houston, they just, you know, I got the referrals and my books just filled up really quickly with women, and after a couple of years I just decided you know what I’m going to e for that, helping women with incontinence, developing new skills such as the robotic bladder lift. That’s something that I picked up along the way in private practice.

And that has now evolved even further, where I have board certification in urogynecology, also known as female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. And I think there’s a new name for it now. They keep kind of revising it to make it a little more reflective of what we do from day to day. So now I’ve got that. So I do urology and urogynecology.

And then a few years back, I started really looking into hormones and bioidentical hormones. How can I bring that to my patients and bring that to myself too? You know, as I’m aging and going through menopause, went through very early menopause, what can I do to help my own health? And that has now evolved into longevity medicine because hormones are very foundational in longevity medicine.

I don’t want to call it the fountain of youth, but they are very important to slow down the aging process, to give us energy, and keep ourselves vital and functioning properly. And so that’s where I am today. Not just hormones, but nutrients, looking at functional medicine and how I can help patients. The whole picture, not just their urological care, because a lot of times the urological problem is part of a bigger issue going on with their metabolism, their immune system, and their ability to process what’s going on with their environment. And so now I’m kind of bringing that all together and also improving intimate health, which I think is just so critical to good health and good life. So that’s where I am.

And urology is an exciting field. I encourage every medical student that I have a chance, to look into urology and consider it because it is very fun. We do really cool stuff with technology and surgeries, and we get to develop relationships with our patients. So it’s not just you meet them, you fix them, and then they, you know, you take out an organ and then they move on. That does happen occasionally, but usually, you get to develop a relationship, which is very satisfying as a physician. So that’s about me. That’s about urology and my journey. I’d love to hear any questions that you have and look forward to seeing you again.