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Zermina Akbary is a Registered Nurse and functional nutritionist with 12 years of clinician practice experience. She’s dealt with fertility challenges, such as hashimoto's disease, PCOS, history of thyroid cancer, and high levels of prolactinoma. She was diagnosed with PCOS at a young age, and was told by doctors that it would be very hard to become pregnant naturally. “My own struggles lead me to go through the institute of functional medicine,” Zermina said. She was interested in a root cause approach. Zermina became inspired to work with women trying to conceive after she got pregnant naturally. Her practice is primarily rooted in functional medicine. “I help women optimize their fertility, improve digestion, and improve thyroid function,” she said.
When Zermina was introduced to Oova, she thought, “this is going to allow me, as a practitioner, to collect more data. Being conventionally trained, I really wanted to see that information.” She decided to give Oova a try, and began using it with some of her patients. She started with patients who had progesterone deficiencies, and was immediately excited about the new information she was able to gather. “By getting that data, it allowed me to understand what was really going on with my patients hormonally,” she said. Before Oova, she used basal body temperature measurements to monitor her patients’ ovulation and luteal phases. That helped her gain some insights into progesterone levels, but it was never exact. “That wasn’t giving me 100% data. The thing that was really appealing to me about Oova was that it was actually giving me lab values. I found that really fascinating.” It made a big difference for Zermina to get that information from her patients.
Zermina had been working with one patient for six months before suggesting she start using Oova. Using the hormone measurements from Oova as a guide, Zermina started this patient on a new protocol. This patient got pregnant in the first cycle of using Oova. “One of the things that Oova gave me was the confidence to tell my patient to check a pregnancy test. With a woman who’s been going through fertility challenges, I don't necessarily want to do that if I’m not really sure,” Zermina said. Zermina had essentially known that her patient was pregnant, based on the hormone levels she was seeing. Oova helped Zermina put this patient on a better protocol for her. Before using Oova, Zermina’s patient was using basal body temperature measurements to track ovulation. This patient was on thyroid medication, which increased her basal body temperature. When Zermina was monitoring this, it seemed like the temperature was high in the luteal phase, when in reality, this patient had very low progesterone levels. Oova allowed Zermina and her patient to see this trend, and act accordingly.
Oova is extremely convenient for both Zermina and her patients. “Some women can feel unmotivated to use ovulation monitors or take their temperature every morning. But with Oova, they wake up, they usually need to pee anyway. They can just pee on the test strip and scan the code, and they’re good to go.” Zermina likes that using Oova doesn’t feel like an extra task that she needs to ask her patients to do. Oova provides the same results as blood tests, which are time consuming and invasive. In the time of COVID especially, going to a lab to get blood drawn can be an ordeal for patients. With Oova, patients can gather the same data at home. The results are almost instant, which takes away the anxiety of waiting to hear back after getting blood work done. Zermina also feels more connected to her patients while using Oova. “We’re in more constant communication. They know they don’t have to present data to me, because I can already see it on the dashboard,” she said. Zermina likes that she can check her patients’ data in real time, and send them a message to let them know what she thinks of the data, and what they should do next.
Zermina’s patients who use Oova have better understandings of their health and fertility. “It gives patients a sense of control. They know what’s going on with their cycle.” Even if a patient does not become pregnant that cycle, they are able to have new information about their hormones, take this knowledge into their next cycle, and be proactive moving forward. Zermina has had a great experience using Oova as a healthcare provider, and plans to continue integrating Oova into her practice. “If I could have every single patient of mine use Oova, I would be a very happy fertility nurse consultant,” she said. When she has new patients come on, she immediately introduces them to Oova. The information that Oova provides allows Zermina to give more informed and more personalized care. “With hormones we never want to guess. It’s great that with Oova, I have that data, and I can work off of that to provide recommendations for my patients,” she said. Oova has made a world of difference for Zermina as a healthcare provider. The convenience, exact hormone measurements, and ability to connect with her patients have allowed Zermina to feel more confident in her care.
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