Another Thursday night, another wonderful Wow meeting. Yummy food, good conversation, giggles, and lots of hugs were shared by the ladies.
And we were blessed by the company and wisdom of yet another great speaker. Dr. Shira Miller is a "Concierge Holistic Menopause Physician" in Los Angeles who specializes in "luxurious menopause." She presented a fascinating slide show with the help of her handsome and very nice husband Sean, whose company we also enjoyed during dinner. According to Dr. Miller, although we are taught that menopause is "normal" and usually occurs around the age of 51, it is a phenomena of the recent 50 years, since women before then didn't usually live past that age. Menopause is known for hot flashes, fatigue, sweats, dryness, depression, weight gain, osteopenia and osteoporosis, decreased libido, anxiety, palpitations, and feeling invisible. I could see all the ladies nodding as each symptom was mentioned. Taint easy being a woman.
Many of us were taking hormonal replacement therapy (HRT), using lab-created hormones or ones made from pregnant horses' urine, until a study a few years ago linked HRT to a variety of nasty illnesses, like cancer and heart disease. So, abruptly and without examining the study carefully, many or maybe even most doctors took their female menopausal and post-menopausal patients off of HRT. Turns out that the study was flawed in many ways and really quite inaccurate. I remember a doctor at that time telling me that the study was done on women in nursing homes who were sedentary, women who were quite different than me and my active friends. Dr. Miller purports that keeping women's female hormones at levels similar to those in their thirties promotes wellness and optimizes health in women our age.
Having worked in medicine for my whole career, I appreciated that Dr. Miller, early in her conventional medicine career, became jaded about how ailments were treated. In my work, I see that the lack of female hormones can cause osteoporosis and very painful spinal compression fractures, for which my physician employer surgically injects a type of cement to build up the vertebra. Primary care physicians treat osteoporotic patients with drugs that can cause nasty side effects and, per Dr. Miller, the patient isn't deficient in the those drugs but deficient in hormones that would have prevented the onset and progression of bone loss. Love her thinking, I do.
After a consultation of 3-4 hours, extensive blood testing, taking a comprehensive medical history (including diet and habits), and a variety of other examinations, Dr. Miller will consider placing her female menopausal patients on bio-identical hormones. She will talk to the patient on the phone as a courtesy before the first appointment, making sure that she is the proper provider and often will refer the patient to a fellow practitioner if the patient has unusual medical issues. Compared to what my docs charge for their services, Dr. Miller's rates are surprisingly low. Her all-inclusive first in-person consultation is about the price one of my patients recently paid for just his pre-operative tests at a local laboratory, so don't hesitate to consider her obviously careful and wise services because of costs. Here's her picture - she's just as lovely in person.