WIWIK S1E7 Sylvia Kang
Irene Ortiz-Glass: [00:00:00] I just want to thank our partner, Mira Fertility Tracking, for working with us to help women to get connected to the opportunity to actually measure hormones at home. It is the technology that I personally used during my menopausal transition. It was life changing for me. You can find more information on Mira on our website at menocoaching.
com and you can also find it on our show notes. We look forward to supporting you and your hormone transition.
Sylvia Kang: There’s a huge lack of Women’s health research and many diseases that were dominating with women’s cases were using the male sample to study in the clinical trial.
And there’s many female diseases were not being studied at all.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: [00:01:00] Hello and welcome to What I Wish I Knew. I’m your host, Irene Ortiz Glass. What I Wish I Knew is dedicated to providing women with information and a guided path to find purpose, healing, and joy. It is to give women power and permission to go inward during the time of perimenopause and menopause to find their inner compass.
Well, also actively making changes to allow them to thrive during this period of time in life in this season. We’re focusing on the issues surrounding menopause and its transition, and I will share what I wish I knew today. I am honored and absolutely thrilled to have Sylvia King, the co founder and CEO of Mira with us here today.
Sylvia holds an MBA from Cornell University and an MS in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia. Before she started MIRA, she was in business in director level roles in Fortune 500 life science companies, running a hundred million global, a hundred million dollar global business. As many women in their 20s, [00:02:00] Sylvia prioritized advanced education and career opportunities over family planning.
When one close friend of hers started to try for a baby, she had no success after six months of trying. Doctors couldn’t find any problems with her or her husband and Sylvia witnessed her going through a very stressful time, guess, guessing and disappointment around what was actually happening in her body.
The existing fertility products didn’t help because they couldn’t pinpoint what was going on or give enough insights to be a guide. She eventually got pregnant through IUI, which was time consuming and expensive. And this is a general trending issue faced by more and more women today. Shortly, Sylvia left her corporate job and used her biomedical degree to create Mira, on a mission to give women the accuracy of lab testing at home.
Sylvia is also a concert pianist. She has won multiple international piano competitions in France, China, and Hong Kong. So Sylvia, it is so important that you’re here today for many reasons, mostly because [00:03:00] I’m such a fan, and I’ve had such a personal experience with Mira Technology. So the purpose of this podcast is to talk about the, the, Power of being able to test hormones at home.
So just as an intro to the audience today I want to let you all know my experience with Mira because it literally changed my life So as everyone knows on that has been listening in on the podcast I went through surgical menopause about 19 months ago and during that period of time Everything felt really off in my body and, you know, honestly, every day was different and my hormones were not stable for a while and I was unable to continue to go get lab testing through my doctor every day or every other day, every six weeks and was basically looking for a solution.
And another founder. Most of you know, I’m an executive coach to founders and Another founder that I was coaching said have you ever heard a fear of Mira and I said no What is that? And he said you need it Irene go look it up and and that was my first introduction to Mira and I [00:04:00] Tested my urine every day for about eight or nine months and I made adjustments to my hormone therapy and also So, funny enough, would actually share the results with my doctor.
So she knew what I needed to do to tweak my patch or add gel in because, you know, there’s a sweet spot you’re trying to find in menopause. And we found it. And we found it because I was an advocate. I had a great… But also because I used Mira technology. So that being said, Sylvia, thank you for being here.
Would love for you to share with us, you know, a little bit about your story about why you started Mira.
Sylvia Kang: Sure. So, um, hi, everyone. I’m Sylvia. I’m the CEO and co founder for Mira. And thank you so much, Irene, for having me. So, um, I’m really excited to be here, too. Um, so as I mean, this, I mean, describes a pretty precisely, um, you know, my goal, really, to Find to fund Mira at the beginning was to try to help women.
Um, so, you know, it’s this was the [00:05:00] actually was a surprise to me because when we were in our earlier education, like from high school and in college, we always think about fertility means. We just need to try to avoid the pregnancy, just don’t get pregnant. But then, uh, when the time really come, which is usually after our 30s now, and we found this fertility journey, um, it was much more difficult than we thought.
And there is so little education, and there is so little information out there. And then, uh, even if you go to see a doctor and say, you know, I’m just trying, and I just don’t have any luck for six months. And usually the OB will say, Well, you, you, you know, just keep trying and if you just don’t have time to wait, I will give you some medic, medication for stimulate, uh, cycle or eventually we’ll send you for IVF.
So this is, to me, it was a little bit like a, uh, you know, you have a disease and you got the symptom, but the doctor just send you some, some chemical to cure that symptom. But what was really happened with your body? What was the root cause? We never got an [00:06:00] understanding. And then, uh, when I was the, uh, you know, I, you know, as Irene said, I had so much education and I was focused on my career when I was in my twenties.
And then, uh, after I graduated from school and, you know, also career start to settle down. And I found that the, uh, many of my classmates. I’m from Cornell from Columbia. Now you’re trying to conceive and they were all in their 30s even, you know, between 30 to 35 or some even a little bit older than 35 and many of them face this problem and there’s really nowhere to seek for a solution and then I was You know, I did a lot of research and, uh, including, you know, I tried to read the paper, tried to look for the scientific research for this female hormone or how the fertility was related with age and related with lifestyle.
Is there anything we could do to improve that? And I found a lot of really weak information. It’s basically based on population average. Just to say, yeah, after 35 years old and you will have much last chance. And this is very weak [00:07:00] because we know 35 is not like a cut off. And after that, it’s like a zero one.
After that, you go from one to zero and there’s really nothing happened on your 35th birthday. So, you know, with all this, I think there’s a truly lack. Of data. And they, and also based on the lack of data, there’s lack of, um, information and treatment and very, even very useful, like a blockbuster product to help with women.
And this thing has become a very trending issue. So that’s the idea, you know, where the seed of the idea of Mira coming from. So I was thinking like, you know, to solve this, we, we need to be very science backed. There’s many, you know, FinTech products, but you could see many of them are. Not really at this clinical level of accuracy and not very easy to use.
So we’re thinking that maybe there’s some, uh, some product we can innovate. We can use the lab technology, um, and, but we can, we should make it really small, really user friendly. And [00:08:00] the, uh, you know, women without a medical education, like, you know, they’re not a doctor, they could understand. And also, they should be able to take action based on that.
And also, this should be the bridge between the patients and the doctor. So the doctor look at data and, you know, the prescription whatsoever treatment will be more personalized, not just tell you to just keep trying and otherwise I give you injection for simulation after six months. So, that’s where, you know, the mirror idea came from.
And then I… Had a team together with me like from, you know, my have another technical co founder and we started to investigate how to shrink really big lab instrument into something small because for a consumer to use it has to be very usable and a small sits in your bathroom and also it has to be paired with an app.
So the information can be viewed easily. You can see that anytime. And it will be really easy to share with your partner, with your doctor as well. So that’s where, you know, we really start to work on the mirror. And initially we start to work on a single hormone, which was LH, because that hormone was ovulation.
And then we gradually expanded that product offering. So today we test multiple hormones. We test the LH, estrogen, progesterone, and FSH. So pretty much the major hormones you will, you know, that will go up and down in a cycle. We test all of them. And we test all these hormones quantitatively. So that means we give you a numerical.
data, like a number for your hormone, just like when you’re doing the blood drawing. So you can see the [00:09:00] curve, you can see over long term what’s the pattern, and those are really personalized information for you to understand what’s going on, and for your doctor to do a better diagnosis.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Yeah. So, I mean, that is my experience, right? Is being able to see the pattern because it can, you know, attach to my phone and I can see. I could see, you know, when things were going up and down, I saw that stress was impacting it, exercise was impacting it. So, tell us a little bit about, you know, the menopause world, right?
So now, you know, myself and others are using, you know, MIRA for perimenopause and menopause transition. What do you see in the data about how this can help women in perimenopause and menopause? Because clearly we know, based on the science, that peri is flux. It’s up and it’s down, right? And then we know menopause, we start to dip progesterone first before we then get into estrogen dip.
So how can Mira support the woman in perimenopause and menopause? Because clearly that is a 22 billion market in the next two years. And I look at you and think this is the, this is your moment in, in the menopause perimenopause space. So tell us a little bit about that.
Sylvia Kang: Yeah, sure. So, um, last year mirror launched the, uh, a [00:10:00] test ones, which, which is to test FSH. So this was our time, you know, that was beginning for mirror to enter into this pyrimidopulse market. So FSH is a hormone to tell you your. Uh, fertility level, like, yeah, are you still fertile or how long are you going to stay with fertile, whatsoever.
Um, and by testing this FSH at the beginning of your cycle, which is usually day 4, day 3, day 4, like when your hormone FSH was at the baseline, and that can tell you your, where your fertility level is at. And you want this level to be low, you know, you want the hormone level to be low, and usually means you have good fertility level, if your, you know, FSH level start to increase at the baseline, and That’s huge.
It means the, uh, maybe there’s some, uh, diminishing over, uh, reserve whatsoever. So that was the, uh, where we started. And then, uh, we started to build, uh, more like, um, product bundle, because we understand that, you know, testing multiple hormones together to see their pattern, to see the ratio, to see your unique pattern is [00:11:00] very important.
So there are a few other hormones that can be, you know, useful to your menopause. I think one is probably everyone understand is estrogen. So estrogen is such an important hormone and it supports your ovulation, supports your cycle, and also supports many functions in the female body, like your skin health, like your, Uh, if you’re gonna get osteoporosis and, uh, you know, collagen synthesis in your skin whatsoever.
So all these things can, you know, when during menopause, uh, the estrogen will start to fluctuate, you know, because your cycle will fluctuate. Sometimes you have the, uh, even in perimenopause you probably don’t have a period for three months. You’re thinking, well, that’s it. And it’s in the fourth month, the period come back, or you have really heavy bleeding, you have pain and you have all these symptoms.
And in many of these are, having some correlation with the estrogen level. So to understand where the estrogen level is at and working together that with your doctor, I think that has been, uh, very helpful for a lot of mirror users, uh, to better [00:12:00] manage their symptoms during the, uh, during the perimenopause and the menopausal stage.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Yeah, I mean, for me, it was about the ratio, you know, we talk a lot about ratio, right? Like, what’s the ratio of estrogen to progesterone and what’s right for a woman? And to your point, everyone used to say it should look like this, but what was right for me isn’t right for someone else. And the convenience of being able to journal and track my symptoms against where my estrogen and progesterone were.
were very helpful for me to know what to do to get my doctor to compound the right level of, you know, bioidenticals for me. And it was really, really, really helpful in helping me to advocate for myself and feeling like I had some level of power. You know, like, You feel a lack of power when you’re a woman going through this, like you have no control of your body and then a doctor only wants you to go get tested every six months and by then you’ve had 20 roller coaster rides of emotion, right?
And as you mentioned, you know, estrogen is like every part of your body. It’s your neurotransmitters. It’s your [00:13:00] hair. It’s your nails. It’s your collagen. Um, and so I, I just think what you’re doing is so important. So what are you hearing from your clients? What, you know, what are the customers that are using Mira telling you?
Um, other than me, you know, I’m such a strong advocate. But what are other, what are you hearing from other people? And what do you think is coming in this space for women?
Sylvia Kang: Yeah, sure. So, um, we have many success stories from our user. Um, but what really impressed me was the, uh, how much challenge those, you know, those experience where it was at was for those women. And before I started Mira, I wasn’t really know. And, um, so, for example, we have the users who are trying to conceive.
And, you know, as I mentioned before, we used to think. Trying to conceive was something not too, too trivial. But when, after I started Mira, I feel like I heard all kinds of different stories. Like some people got really, you know, really difficult trying to conceive for the second kid. Or, you know, they came out from birth control and their cycles were really messed up.
This is another really hot topic right now. You know, it’s really, hormone birth control is really good for you or not. And then, uh, Um, and the, uh, um, emotional rollercoaster, as you mentioned. And, uh, also doctors giving this kind of… Uh, very like a standard package for you. So you just basically go through this whole thing and without understanding, ability to understanding, [00:14:00] um, the, uh, you know, what’s really going on with your body.
And another really common thing is like, uh, people, you know, or women don’t feel like they were being taken seriously during those, uh, Healthcare situation. And I think it’s a reason being that when we talk about, you know, how we feel in our body, regardless, we’re trying to conceive, we’re menopausing, and those are like the first sign of what’s, you know, there’s something happening with your body and your body is trying to tell you, you know, here’s a clue.
However, many of these data were not Captured or researched extensively. So when you’re going to, for a doctor to visit and they don’t have evidence, they don’t have scientific evidence to show this means something, so they will have to tell you no. So basically a lot of things like that just being ignored.
And so people being treated like very standard. And, uh, the result was that the Um, you know, not very good experience, not very helpful, and a lot of worry, worriness in the people’s mind. Uh, we feel like we don’t have a control, and the, um, also we don’t feel, we feel like [00:15:00] the, um, We don’t know what to do, like, you know, you just say you can’t get pregnant or you have this symptom about perimenopause and you just have to keep doing the same thing as you’re doing.
Even very simple question like, um, how can I get feel better? You know, should I do more exercise? Should I, you know, sleep better? What kind of food should I eat? Sometimes those are really helpful because, you know, your body is a whole thing. They’re kind of regulating, your brain is regulating, your life is regulating what you feel.
But the doctors can’t give you good advice. They would tell you, of course, you know, do whatever you want, but what does this mean? So it’s really like no clue or no designed path for someone having an issue to say, okay, I just need to do this and that will make me feel better. I will be confident I’m going to be feeling better.
So this part is really lacking, you know. From our, um, you know, the customer experience and, but, you know, the good things like, you know, when they were using Mira and many of them feel like they now have more visibility about their body, their hormone change, and so they will, [00:16:00] you know, they will have some thoughts or some pattern to understand, okay, this might be something, you know, we want to do.
And also Mira will be launching a, uh, New product feature, which is in the app. It’s like a fertility plan. So this really to help you to manage going through a fertility journey, regardless what that is. So you will have some a very personalized education and some action guide about, you know, what’s what could be helpful for you to go through that pass.
So you know what’s what’s really happening in the industry. I think it’s still in a woman’s house is a big industry, and it has has kind of been going through Um, ignored or underserved in the past, and, uh, there’s a huge lack of Women’s health research and many diseases that were dominating with women’s cases were using the male sample to study in the clinical trial.
And there’s many female diseases were not being studied at all. So, uh, you know, with that It’s the, um, although there are many fintech companies, you know, like Mira and like many others, [00:17:00] and like, also like this podcast, we’re trying to generate more awareness, trying to talk more about, you know, in this industry, which is great, but I think there’s still a very long way to go.
I think to truly solve this, we need to start from something Uh, you know, going back to the basics, such as the, uh, um, you know, first to understand, really recognize there is an issue. This is really important by generating the social awareness, and at the same time, we need to do have more scientific research about women’s health.
Because without research, there will be… No data and there will be no company can create a blockbuster product, and then there will be no investment. So there’s basically very little opportunity for this industry to thrive and to, you know, get a lot of cash, a lot of funding into here. So we can do the better service, we can provide the better products, and doctor will be more aware to say, Oh, no, you can do this.
So, you know, this is how I’m going to use to change the patient experience. So we’re not there yet. So still, there’s a lot of gap, and we need to, [00:18:00] we need to work on those.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Yeah, I think everything you’re saying is so spot on, you know, we were, I’m a believer in systems theory. I study it. I believe in it. I preach it. I use it in our practice. And what I mean by that is, you know, your point about there’s the hormones and then there’s what are you doing around the hormones, right?
So our coaches provide nutritional counseling. They’re looking at cortisol levels. They’re looking at thyroid health because you know more than anybody. That any one of those other three or four things is going to impact the estrogen and progesterone and FSH and LH levels and your ability to get pregnant if your cortisol levels through the roof, your body is going to say, I want to be safe.
I don’t want to have a baby. That’s too stressful. So, um, so you’re preaching to me in a way that is just so helpful and touching and to the audience. Um, I want to just, yeah. Say thank you for being here and for being a partner. I mean, we are a formal partner of Mira If you go on to Mira and you find that you’re interested Please put in a minnow coaching discount code to get a discount on the bundle packages We believe in this product.
It is FDA approved My understanding is there are not many others if any others FDA approved. Is that right Sylvia?
Sylvia Kang: Yeah.
Irene Ortiz-Glass: Yeah, so I mean this is, this, this is a tried and [00:19:00] tested accurate piece of data that you have at home for very little cost compared to going to lab testing every other week. So please if you’re either trying to conceive and struggling, if you’re having problems with your period and you’re having issues with PMDD, PCOS, if you’re having issues with perimenopause, please consider Mira Technology if you’re, you know, trying to manage your own hormone therapy.
There’s nothing like it. Sylvia, thanks again for being here, um, we just appreciate you and all the work that you’re doing and especially all the data, you know, all the science. You know, science is really important when you’re, when you’re working with hormones, they’re very, very powerful. I learned that along the journey, so thanks for all the work you’re doing and just for being an advocate for women.
Sylvia Kang: Thank you so much, Irene.
EIQ Media: What I Wish I Knew is produced and distributed by EIQ Media Group, LLC. Elevate your emotional IQ with podcasts and content focused on leadership, mental health, spirituality, women’s health, [00:20:00] overcoming adversity, and more.