Today we are excited to introduce you to one of the amazing mama physicians and providers at Christi MD Medical Group, Dr. Lauren Underwood. Dr. Underwood is Louisiana girl who fell in love with urology during her specialty rotations. Dr. Underwood treats both male and female patients, and specializes in kidney stone disease, enlarged prostate, prostate health, urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, pelvic floor health, hematuria, bladder cancer as well as both male and female sexual dysfunction. She is also a local mama of 2 beautiful children that are her biggest blessing.
We had the pleasure to sit down with Dr. Underwood to learn more about how she can help her patients, why she loves working at Christi MD Medical Group, mom life, and how she balances it all!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Katy/Houston area?
I am from South Louisiana and remain a Cajun girl at heart! I was born and raised in Louisiana and attended Louisiana State University where I completed my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences. GEAUX TIGERS!! I then earned my Medical Degree at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. I completed my General Surgery Internship and Urology Residency at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Tx. It did not take me long to become a Red Raiders’ fan and fall to the charm of Texas. Here our love of Texas began and we knew in Texas we would remain. We will never forget the hospitality, the dust storms and the most amazing Texas sunsets that we witnessed in Lubbock. We then made it all the way to San Antonio where I was in private practice for two years. We loved our time in San Antonio but my heart remained in Louisiana and I knew I ultimately wanted to be closer to family. This is how we found Katy/West Houston and moved here in 2019 when I joined ChristiMD Medical Group! We now feel settled and at home and are here to stay!
How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I am married and have two wonderful children. Julia is 4.5 years old and Samuel is almost 2 years old. They are truly my greatest blessing.
Least favorite mom job? (i.e. packing lunches, dishes, bath time, etc.)
Making bottles!! I am so happy to have graduated from that phase! I am both happy and sad that Samuel has achieved this milestone. During the newborn and baby phase I loved feeding my children and bonding with them but I really disliked making and washing bottles for daycare and day outings. At the time it seemed relentless and I longed for the day that my children began drinking from cups! It’s the little things right?! I still miss the baby phase at times but I really love each and every new phase they enter! It is a joy watching them grow and experience new things. Now on to cleaning up spilled milk……
Best mom hack that makes life easier?
For me organization is key. I found that if I thought I had time to do x/y/z later- I didn’t. I learned that the hard way. Inevitably something would come up and that led to running around looking for things and forgetting things. I no longer take time for granted and when given the opportunity I organize and prepare for the next day or the next event coming up. This makes the days of tantrums, illnesses, and growing pains run a little smoother! At night we prepare snacks and clothes for the next day and pack backpacks. I found that keeping the diaper bag fully stocked with all the essentials at all times comes in handy. I have gotten into the habit that when we go somewhere and return, I immediately take out what was used or dirty and replace it. That way I don’t have to think about it again. If something urgent comes up I can simply grab it on the way out and know that the essentials are there.
What are your favorite local things to do? (with kiddos or just for mom!)
We love that there are so many outdoor activities here! We look forward to finding new parks to explore or going on a hike nearby. My kids love being outside and we have enjoyed the arboretum and the zoo! When I have ‘mom time’ alone I enjoy finding local antique shops and flea markets to browse.
We’re big on self-care for moms, as hard as it is to find the time, what’s something you do just
Self care is so important and I am glad you asked! Self care is very personal and is different for everyone. For me it is a time for reflection, a time for relaxation and a time to re-center and focus. As women we are natural nurturers and tend to put everyone and everything above our own needs. However, we must remember that we also need to be fulfilled mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Self care for me presents itself in many ways. I will find myself taking a step back and analyzing why I am feeling the way that I am feeling. Do I need some time to relax? Do I need creativity? Do I need reflection and self growth? Depending on my needs, sometimes it’s a hot bath with candles and a book or a sweat provoking cycling session! I think it is important to recognize what your own body and soul need at that moment in time and address it. Other times, I need a creative outlet and I paint or craft. The activity will vary on my time constraints as well. Some weekends it’s a nice hour of yoga or a massage and others it’s an extra 10 minutes in my car drinking a cup of coffee or listening to my favorite songs!
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I am an acrylic painter and can play a mean hand of Bourre’ (Which is an Acadian Louisiana card game)!
When did you decide you wanted to work in the field of urology?
I always knew I wanted to be a physician from an early age but it wasn’t until my third year of medical school that I knew I would be a urologist. Third year is when we rotate through all of the medical specialties and I fell in love with urologic surgery pretty readily.
What inspired that specialty choice?
I rotated through Urology after general surgery and very quickly knew it was a perfect fit. Urology is a unique field in which I can treat patients both medically and surgically. I can treat pediatric patients and adults, as well as both men and women. I grew up working with my hands through art and was always very physically active with playing sports. From this I knew that I wanted a career where I could help patients both mentally and physically. I wanted to be able to treat medical conditions but also correct things surgically that could be fixed. I wanted to be able to do both for my patients and develop a relationship long term. Urology afforded me that opportunity and I feel truly blessed. In urology, I may start seeing a patient for kidney stones which I can manage medically and surgically. Later in life they may go on to develop urinary incontinence or overactive bladder after pregnancy or childbirth. During menopause they may begin to experience sexual dysfunction or urinary tract infections. Some patients may further go on to develop bladder or prostate cancer and I can be there for them every step of the way. I truly enjoy taking care of both male and female patients and love treating couples! I desired a field that allowed me to be part of their journey and for this I am grateful. Also, urologists have the best jokes 😉
How long have you been with ChristiMD Medical Group and what did you do prior to working
in this practice?
I joined ChristiMD Medical Group in 2019 and am here to stay! I was in private practice in San Antonio prior to this which I enjoyed, but wanted to be closer to family. However, I still miss San Antonio breakfast tacos!
What conditions do you treat and what is your approach with your patients?
I treat both male and female patients. I specialize in kidney stone disease, enlarged prostate, prostate health, urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, pelvic floor health, hematuria, bladder cancer as well as both male and female sexual dysfunction. My approach to patients is collaborative, integrative and personal. There is no one size fits all approach. What works for some patients does not work for all. I love education and encourage
all of my patients to educate themselves on their disease process and teach others! There is so much misinformation out there and such a paucity of information on some topics. I treat all of my patients like family and truly want the best for them.
What sets ChristiMD Medical Group apart from other urology related practices?
I love that we are a small and personalized practice. We have the time and flexibility to take care of patients. There are no barriers to care here and no one is just a number. We offer the most advanced technology for the urologic conditions we treat. The staff is amazing and I watch them work hard day in and day out to get the job done. Every member of the team will go the extra mile for patients to take care of them. As a small practice, we are close knit and all of the staff will get to know you pretty quickly. Urological issues are very personal and we understand that. We hope you will join our urology family!
What would be either a common misconception about urology or what might be surprising to
someone that is unfamiliar with your field of medicine?
I actually did not know everything urologists did until medical school! It may be surprising that we treat kidneys stones, sexual issues and cancer. We are not just kidney doctors or ‘penis’ doctors! Although I’m sure that is what my son will call me once he figures out what I do! Our field is the entire genitourinary system-which entails the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, the prostate, the urethra, and the testicles!
How does being a mom yourself impact your practice and how you care for your patients?
Being a mom has only made me a better person and certainly a better physician. I can understand and relate to the demands of motherhood and how this affects personal life and urological health. It has made me a better listener, allowed me to be more open minded and more creative.
How do you balance being a physician and a mama?
Teamwork and organization. As I mentioned earlier, we try to prepare as much as possible beforehand that way we can handle last minute changes more fluidly. I have learned what to tackle and what to outsource. My husband and I are truly a team and this would not be possible without him. We are both very flexible which is necessary for the field of medicine and children! When I am at home we divide up what needs to be done and conquer!! Equally. There is no chore that he or I am unwilling to do. (Although I hate taking out the trash!) We work hard so that we can then spend time together. He actually is quite the Cajun chef and does the majority of the cooking ; ) I’ve really lucked out.
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable and dreaded MOM GUILT?
Like all working moms I do struggle with this periodically and questioned myself prior to having children on how I could do this. I would 100% do it over again and know that my children make me a better physician and my working makes me a better momma! As I discussed earlier, self fulfillment is necessary to be able to give to others and my children will understand that one day. My children are still very young but already at a young age are learning valuable life skills. What I find most important is that when I am with them- I need to be present. I mean really present and not half there. So if that means me coming home an extra 30minutes- 1 hour late to ensure that I have work done and can focus on them it makes a difference. It is definitely the quality of time with them and not the quantity that matters.
To learn more about Dr. Underwood and ChristiMD Medical Group, check out her website and follow her on social media!