#TabooSmasher Spotlight: Cindy Barshop - Elektra Health

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#TabooSmasher Spotlight: Cindy Barshop

Cindy Barshop, the Founder of VSPOT, has a twenty plus year track record revolutionizing women’s health. She pioneered the world’s first-ever medispa, Completely Bare, transforming how women talk about and engage with personal grooming. Her fearless attitude made her a standout on Bravo TV’s “The Real Housewives of New York City.” In 2017, after giving birth to twins and experiencing common issues associated with childbirth, Cindy founded VSPOT — the first intimate health experience of its kind.

Where are you in your hormonal health journey?

I am using bioidentical hormones via Biote Therapy. Folks go through this treatment for different reasons, ranging from anxiety and sweating to weight loss. I am using this hormone therapy to prevent and manage my knee and back pain and also increase my energy. 

When did you understand that you were beginning your menopausal journey and how did it make you feel?

After I gave birth to my twins at 47, I was immediately thrown into perimenopause but confused it with my postpartum recovery. The first year was difficult because I put my twins’ health and well-being ahead of my own. Around the time they were 18 months, I began shifting my focus to myself, my health, and my confidence, especially in my sex life. Sex was very painful becase my body wasn’t providing any lubrication; I also had incontinence and barely orgasmed. That trifecta, that carried on beyond 18 months, led me to believe I was fully in menopause. 

I was offered creams, prescription medicine, and surgery, but knew there had to be a better option that was natural, safe, and was rooted in tech. That is really how VSPOT came to life.

What’s one health hack that has been helpful for you?

Intermittent fasting! I love it, but I do it backward. I eat in the morning and fast in the afternoon-evening.

What’s one word or phrase you’d use to describe menopause, and why?

“This is what menopause looks like!” That’s what my friends and clients say when we are together.

I would love to do a campaign showing all the strength, health, vibrancy, and laughter that is menopause, not the old granny images we have in our minds.

Have you made any major changes to your routine at any point in your menopause journey?

I am not a person who is set in their ways as I go through menopause. I adjust everything based on the season, how stressful my life is at that point, and how I need to support my well-being. I believe in mixing up exercise routines every six months, and I’ve seen my body transform after turning vegan. 

I also focus on tailoring my skincare to benefit my specific age and hormones. Emepelle is a skincare brand recommended to me by a doctor that treats estrogen-deficient skin without hormones. 

You’ve spent your career revolutionizing women’s health experiences and sharing openly about your personal experiences. Can you tell us about VSPOT and how it supports women in menopause?

VSPOT is a curated team of women gynecologists and providers focused on personal and private internal wellness and sexual health across all the stages of life—menstruation, pregnancy, the natural aging process, and menopause. During these times, we all suffer from common issues such as urinary leakage, dryness, painful sex, and diminished orgasms, to name a few. These issues are accelerated when we reach peri- and post-menopause.  

I knew there had to be other alternatives in this high-tech world for my common problems that, although embarrassing, seemed like they were table stakes for women my age. That was the epiphany I needed to start myself on a mission to create a destination where women could speak openly and confidently about their changing bodies alongside empathetic and supportive experts.

The majority of the medical community recommends antiquated, risky surgical solutions or prescription medicine with side effects, but VSPOT was born to disrupt that. VSPOT is a destination that treats these changes safely, naturally, and effectively, using new advances in technology for women’s intimate health. 

You had twins through IVF in your late forties—can you tell us about that experience, and what it was like to mother young children while going through menopause?

My body went through a lot of hormonal changes during the years of IVF, pregnancy, childbirth, and then, almost immediately, menopause. Parenting across the board is hard, but when you add major life changes like menopause, it seemed even more confusing and hard to navigate.

You want your body and self back, but your hormones are saying, “no, sorry!”, so it was tough to embrace this transition. I pushed through perimenopause because 1) I didn’t really have a choice, and 2) as a new parent, I was focusing deeply on my children and not myself. 

In hindsight, being a mom while going through menopause may have made the transition easier.