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Allie Talk: It’s Been a Year. But I'm Extra Grateful This Thanksgiving

During Thanksgiving with my in-laws, we always go around the table and say what we’re thankful for before competing in the annual Egan Family Pumpkin Pie Toss. (It’s exactly what it sounds like. And, yes, there’s a trophy.) In the past, my answers have run the typical gamut of annual highlights: I was thankful for my friends, for a fulfilling career, for my amazing husband (who I’m sure faithfully reads this column).

But this year, my answer is a little different.

I look at my family—my 14-month old son Cooper and my expanding belly that houses my growing daughter—and I think, “Holy crap—I really don't know if my family would exist without modern science and technology.” To be honest, I don't think it would.

When I think about all of the cutting-edge specialists I saw along the way of my fertility journey, all of the tests I took, all of the research and scientific developments that helped shed light on what was going wrong in my body and how to fix it, my mind is completely blown.

That’s why, this Thanksgiving, what I am most grateful for are the advances that have been made in women’s health research. Yes, I know it’s nerdy. But after the past few years in which I’ve dealt with both my own health struggles and launched a company with the intention of being a pioneer in the women’s health space, I have such a deep appreciation for how far science and medicine have come. But most importantly, how these fields are finally—finally!—starting to step up for women.

I can’t imagine what our mothers went through just several decades ago. Beyond the fact that IVF didn’t exist for most women back then (the pioneer IVF baby was born in 1978), things have gotten so much better in areas like childbirth education and helping expectant mothers understand their options. (Though this can sometimes seem like a Catch-22. Should you get an epidural? Do delayed cord clamping? The questions are endless.) From what my mom has told me about my own birth, she just showed up to the hospital, laid in bed while things started happening around her, and was never given the opportunity to be a decision maker in her own care.

So, I'm grateful that the paradigm is starting to shift. And I’m proud that it’s largely happening because women have started to demand that change.

That being said, there’s so much more to be done. Part of our mission at Veracity is to help make every woman’s journey navigating her skin and health issues be at the very least shorter, but hopefully also easier and less painful when it comes to getting clear, helpful answers and to never feeling like you are in the wilderness of uncertainty alone.

I have heard the same things from so many women, both privately and through our Knowledge community. The details may change, but these stories generally follow the same pattern: it took years of suffering, multiple doctors visits, thousands of dollars spent on trial-and-error solutions, and hours of personal research before they finally started getting some clarity on what was really going on. And, more importantly, some relief.

I founded Veracity to help solve this gap, particularly when it comes to skin and hormone health. During my own journey, I was shocked that no one suggested I get my thyroid hormone tested—and all of the thyroid hormones, not just TSH, which is the only one most doctors test for—until after I was diagnosed with infertility. Hashimoto’s, the autoimmune thyroid disorder I was eventually diagnosed with, doesn’t just affect fertility; it could have done real damage to my health if I had lived with it for even longer without receiving treatment.

Out of this experience, I developed a conviction that all women should have access to affordable and accessible hormone testing during all life stages. We shouldn’t just wait until something goes disastrously wrong, and we shouldn’t only be educated about these things if we happen to be trying to get pregnant.

As women, most of us know hormones affect our skin because we see it on our faces during that time of the month. But the link between these two systems has been established well beyond hormonal acne. Your hormones and hormonal imbalances really do change your skin, something I experienced when my skin was trying to tell me about Hashimoto’s via dry, flakey patches years before I was diagnosed. Yet so few women know about this connection, not to mention are taught to pay attention to their skin as a way to collect information about their overall health? I certainly wasn’t.

I want to help women get to the root cause of their issues, and that’s the main reason why I (along with our amazing team of physicians) developed Veracity’s Hormone Wellness Test When I figured out that my skin had been trying to tell me, I realized that our skin can provide us with a critical look at what is going on inside our bodies.

To develop this pioneering test, I dove into the research, teaching myself how to read medical journals, talking to a whole hospital-full of dermatologists, endocrinologists, and other health experts. I talked to labs to figure out how we could test hormones and other biofactors in a person’s home and still get accurate and precise results with a cost-effective price.

The result is a product that would have helped me so much when I was going through my own struggles. Veracity’s test does not diagnose diseases, but it does provide real physician-reviewed results and recommendations that arm women with the information they need to ask the right questions of their doctors.

Our test currently looks at five hormones (not yet including thyroid) and your pH level. I was blown away when my results during our development phase identified dry, flaky skin as being an issue, and recommended Veracity’s Hydration Balance Vital Concentrate to target that at the root cause and to help retrain my skin. Then, they told me that I could be at risk of a thyroid problem or hypothyroidism.

Veracity is founded on the latest scientific advances, and we want to give back to this effort. That’s why a portion of all test kit sales are donated to institutions that are working to further women’s hormonal health research. I am so grateful for how far women’s health research has come, and I am proud to contribute to the continued advances to come.

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