Wendy Hoffman blogs about menopause and women's health—particularly focusing on how diet and nutrition can positively affect a woman's life around the age of menopause.See all posts »
Twitter can be an E-Patient's Best Resource
Do you consider yourself an “e-patient” or an “online health seeker?” Those are terms that researchers call internet users who go online for health information on a regular basis. I definitely fall into that category.
Since I first began experiencing symptoms of menopause five years ago, I’ve relied on internet searches to learn what mid-life hormonal changes are all about and what can be done to alleviate life-disrupting symptoms like hot flashes and insomnia. I used to spend hours at my computer, combing though hundreds of website and online newsletters to find gems of information that I would consider reliable and unbiased.
But that was before Twitter. In the last year or two, it seems to have caught on with medical professionals who are passionate about their work and like to share their thoughts or point people to articles, books, and websites that they think are high-value.
In other words, it can be a rich source of information that someone else has filtered or “curated” for you. And with millions of people now “tweeting,” there’s a good chance that someone else shares your interest or health concern.
What makes Twitter especially valuable to “e-patients” like me is the ability to ask questions, discover new medical experts, learn about online and offline events, and participate in scheduled chats where you can ask questions.
For example, I learned by following the Twitter feed of Women to Women, a clinic in Maine with an established online presence, that their physicians hold an “open wall” on their Facebook page every Wednesday. It’s a chance to ask questions on menopause, adrenal and thyroid support, weight loss and more. You can visit their wall and leave a question. (www.twitter.com/womentowomen)
Another physician that I follow, Dr. Lisa Larkin holds a monthly chat on Twitter to discuss issues of concern to mid-life women. Her topic next month, on May 16th, at noon CDT, will be on Menopause. Dr. Larkin is the Division Director of Midlife Women’s Health at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. This is an excellent opportunity to have a specialist answer your questions. (www.twitter.com/lisalarkinmd)
Here are three other physicians whom I follow on Twitter. They always lead me to interesting articles or nuggets of information that inspire me to do further research.
Dr. Marina Johnson is board-certified in endocrinology and metabolism, and internal medicine AND she’s a former pharmacist. She’s the author of “Outliving Your Ovaries,” which explores the risks and rewards of treating menopause with Hormone therapy. (www.twitter.com/drmarinajohnson)
Dr. Robynne Chutkin (@RChutkan) is a Gastroenterologist practicing in suburban Washington, DC. You might know her from all her appearances on Dr. Oz. She just started “tweeting,” but expect lots of Tweets about fiber, bloat and overall GI health.(www.twitter.com/drchutkan)
Dr. Alicia Stanton - A hormone health expert, she wrote the “Idiot’s Guide to Hormone Weight Loss” and “Hormone Harmony.” She often links to her informative newsletter “Hormone Health News.” (www.twitter.com/aliciastantonmd)
As your “information sherpa,” I also share my discoveries of interesting articles and other medical experts on my own Twitter feed (www.twitter.com/menopauseblog) I hope to see you there!
Wendy Hoffman writes about menopause at www.menopausetheblog.com.