'It's not sexual. It's anatomy': Deer Park urologist goes 'down below' on reality TV
Dr. Fenwa Milhouse may have gained some national fame as the star of a reality TV show, but the suburban urologist hopes to share the spotlight with a world that is too often hidden out of a sense of shame.
Milhouse is the star of "Dr. Down Below," which premiered April 5 on the TLC network and attracted 940,000 viewers. It was an impressive showing, considering that TLC's top prime time program, "Dr. Pimple Popper," drew about 800,000 viewers for its season debut.
The pilot episode, which has been rerun several times, can be viewed online. TLC has indicated to Milhouse's representation it is likely to air a full season of the show over the summer, but has yet to give a final green light.
"Dr. Down Below" focuses on Milhouse's medical practice, which has an office in Deer Park, and urological issues affecting both men and women.
Millhouse hopes the show helps remove the stigma around talking about certain body parts.
It's not about those parts, she said. "It's about quality of life."
Milhouse and fellow urologist Dr. Jagan Kansal founded their Down There Urology practice in February. They also have an office in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood.
Milhouse has a flair for communicating what others might consider too much information. Before the show debuted, she built an audience of more than 100,000 social media followers through her catchy songs, dance routines and humorous videos on TikTok and Instagram.
It was through Instagram that TLC discovered Milhouse, who is often referred to as a "Unicorn Doctor" because she is an immigrant from Nigeria pursuing a profession in which only 8% of urologists are women and only 5% are Black.
"During the pandemic, I really took to social media, and I wanted to educate the public on what urologists do, (as well as) on conditions that a lot of us deal with silently but don't know what to do about," she said. "And also just show humor. I'm very laid back."
Her show deals with topics that may make some viewers uncomfortable, including difficulties caused by a male patient's below-the-belt piercing. But Milhouse treats her patients with a mix of humor, candor and empathy.
Viewers see Milhouse performing delicate surgical procedures, albeit with some body parts blurred, as well as grateful patients telling her how she has changed their lives for the better.
Milhouse said she would prefer that the show not blur the footage. "It's not sexual," she said. "It's anatomy."
Kansal, who does not appear on the show, said many patients are hesitant to bring up the topics explored on the show with their primary care physicians.
"Now they see it on TV, and it has normalized the conversation. It's like, 'Wow, it's on TV. I can do this, too,'" he said.
Urology deals with the urinary tract and the male reproductive system. Down There Urology treats both male and female patients.
"Urologists have been really at the forefront of female sexual treatment, female sexual medicine," Milhouse said.
She admits she was surprised by the response to her show's first episode, because she didn't know if people would be receptive to programming focused on medical treatment down below.
"They think it's wonderful and educating. I have a lot of patients now that say, 'I saw the show and I cried,'" she said.
The show was filmed primarily at the Ashton Medical & Surgical Center in Hoffman Estates, with some scenes at the Deer Park office. Patients shown include a combination of her existing clients and those culled from a casting call.
Milhouse said her work is tremendously rewarding, noting how she's helped patients recover their ability to travel and resume intimacy.
"I had a patient who could not leave her home, essentially did not leave her home except for doctor's appointments here and there," she said. "She got on a plane for the first time and visited loved ones. And she sat there in my clinic and was crying tears of joy."