This episode of Busine$$ of the V is all about the intersection of women’s health and technology. Alyssa and Rachel speak with Kathrin Folkendt, who began in the tech world, later combining technology with women’s health and is now the founder of Perla and Femtech Insider. Kathrin discusses PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) – a condition that she has been diagnosed with and one that affects 10 percent of women.
Kathrin discusses her own experience with PCOS as well as points where many women struggle with this condition such as the difficult process of diagnosis, dealing with a chronic condition, and the general lack of information. The treatment for PCOS is – or should be – multidisciplinary and involve professionals such as gynecologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, coaches or trainers, and sometimes mental health specialists. This multidisciplinary approach is where Kathrin’s startup can really come into play. Perla will attempt to deal with the whole process: early in the diagnosis process all the way through the care of a chronic condition.
Kathrin’s desire is to create more awareness of women’s health issues like PCOS, making the process easier for women and, ideally, leading to more research and funding for these important topics.
Topics Covered in This Week’s Interview with Kathrin Folkendt
- Kathrin’s two companies and what they’re about
- Kathrin’s own experience with her PCOS diagnosis
- Alyssa explains PCOS and what she sees as a practitioner
- Challenges for women with PCOS
- The multi-disciplinary approach to addressing PCOS
- How Perla deals with the diagnosis as well as what to do after
- What is PCOS?
- The community’s response to Perla and Femtech Insider
- What other causes or startups get Kathrin excited?
- How COVID has affected how women’s health is treated
- What we can expect to hear from Perla in the near future
Quotes from Kathrin Folkendt
(6:40)- “PCOS… is a situation where ovulation doesn’t occur regularly if at all and therefore hormonal imbalances are quite noticeable.”
(8:39)- “I definitely believe that getting diagnosed with PCOS is somewhat this bittersweet moment of, you know, on the one hand you’re like, ‘Well, it’s not me. I’m not causing all these things.” But on the other hand it’s also like, ‘Okay, I have a chronic condition now.’”
(9:47)- “There are so many disciplines that need to be involved… The OBGYN is the first step for somebody… But we also have the dermatologist involved. We have an endocrinologist – a hormone doctor – involved. We absolutely need nutritionists involved. Exercise coaches or trainers certainly are part of the picture. And, in some cases, mental health specialists.”
(11:49)- “With PCOS, the problem may change. If I’m diagnosed as a young woman, I might not be struggling with fertility yet.”
(12:25)- “You also mentioned the mental health aspect… Having somebody to help you through that journey of the many ups and downs of living with a chronic condition I think is really, really crucial.”
(12:59)- “PCOS is basically and anacronym for something called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.”
(13:28)- “Women suffer with clinical symptoms such as really wonky periods, acne, hair growth in typical male places, and also weight struggles, fertility troubles, mental health issues such as depression and even sexual health issues.”
(16:33)- “Ever since, it’s been great to see the space grow and just observe people connecting and, you know, hearing stories and people getting funded because an investor saw them featured on Femtech Insider.”
(19:28)- “In order to treat a woman, you have to understand the wholeness of her experience.”
21:18 “We need to talk about PCOS more, we need to talk about women’s health and all these conditions that are stigmatized and not talked about enough.”
(21:32)- “I really believe that creating more awareness for all these conditions will eventually lead to more research in these spaces… I think that creating more awareness for these conditions will lead to more funding and that’s really what we need to move this industry forward.”
About PERLA Health Co-founder, Femtech Insider Founder and PCOS Awareness Advocate Kathrin Folkendt
Kathrin started her career in technology, designing and building products. But, when she was diagnosed with PCOS in her 30s, she shifted gears to help address the innovation side of PCOS and related conditions. Now, she is the founder of two companies: Perla and Femtech Insider, which is a platform all about women’s health innovation, from investments to insights as well as a job board. Her goal is to create an intersection of all the important aspects of women’s health and tech.
Contact Info for Kathrin
LINKS FOR BUSINE$$ OF THE V:
Dr. Alyssa Dweck: https://drdweck.com
Author Rachel Braun Scherl: www.sparksolutionsforgrowth.com/about-rachel-braun-scherl/