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BEVERLY MEDICAL CENTER

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Dr. Beverly R. Goode-Kanawati, Director
BEVERLY MEDICAL CENTER

6008 Creedmoor Road
Raleigh, NC 27612
Telephone: (919) 844-4552
www.beverlymedicalcenter.com
info@beverlymedicalcenter.com

Dr. Goode-Kanawati is board-certified in Family Practice and Emergency Medicine (ABPS).

Helping Women Navigate Different Life Stages

By Beverly Goode-Kanawati, DO

In recent years, we have noted a steady increase in the number of female patients needing help with the changes that accompany growth and maturity. The female life cycle—from childhood through the fertile years, pregnancy and childbirth, menopause and beyond—poses many unique challenges that need attention.

 

Our approach at Beverly Medical Center has always been to emphasize integrative and natural approaches to help combat the challenges in each of these life stages. With the added stress of COVID-19, this approach is even more beneficial now.

Good Health Starts Young

Developing poor health habits in the foundational years can lead to often-grave health problems later in life. And it’s clear that too many children and teenagers face a double problem—consuming diets deficient in nutrients they need for healthy growth, yet full of sugary “junk” or processed foods that stress the system.
In my practice, I see an increasing number of young girls who are suffering with endometriosis, PMS, and problem periods. These problems are manifesting at earlier ages, a direct reflection of poor diet and high levels of stress.

One recommendation I offer parents to combat this trend is especially apt right now, when we are all spending so much more time at home. I suggest that parents stake out the home as a “healthy food haven”—a place where all available food is healthy. And I also remind parents that the exercise habits formed in childhood help protect against problems like osteoporosis in the later years.

The Fertile Years

Many of the reproductive issues that I see in my female patients in their twenties and thirties stem from hormonal imbalances—problems such as endometriosis, fibroid tumors, fertility issues, PMS, and heavy bleeding.
What drives these hormonal imbalances? Again, it’s high levels of stress and poor diet—factors that can easily addressed. Beverly Medical Center’s licensed nutritionist, Sharon Price, works with patients to build healthier, sustainable nutrition habits. And, depending on the circumstances, Nurse Practitioner Sandra Britt and I will also use either short-term or long-term bio-identical hormones to help patients regain balance.

The effects can be dramatic. PMS and endometriosis respond very well to both hormone balancing and to dietary changes, as do fibroids. After treatment, one patient suffering with endometriosis said, “This is the first time in five years that I haven’t had to carry a heating pad around when I had my period!” Many other patients have avoided surgical intervention for fibroids through the strategic use of natural hormones.

We also offer our patients a range of breast cancer prevention methods, including replacing aluminum-containing antiperspirants with natural alternatives and avoiding underwire bras for women at high risk. Nutrition also plays an important role in prevention strategies, because of the importance of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables and targeted supplements—which help keep hormones in their healthy state and support detoxification of unhealthy substances. Which is why nutritional counseling is a key component of all our work at Beverly Medical Center.

Perimenopause and Menopause

Perimenopause comes earlier for today’s women, anywhere from the late thirties up to about fifty years old. Some perimenopausal women find themselves dealing deal with symptoms of PMS nearly half the time—often due to lack of ovulation and the accompanying progesterone surge that balances estrogen. They can face intense PMS, heavy bleeding, and other life disruptors.

This age group has what I call the highest “misery index,” and they’re also most at risk for unnecessary hysterectomies. Fortunately, balancing both hormones and diet can help women avoid a surgery that often brings as many challenges as it solves.

Again, nutrition is of the utmost importance in finding a healing path for these women—many who find themselves with new and intractable midsection weight gain. Working with our nutritionist Sharon Price, our patients learn the right way to eat and move—often behaviors that may seem counter-intuitive. What Ms. Price often discovers is that they are over-exercising and under-eating, putting too much stress on the body and driving up cortisol levels still more. The biggest challenge is to convince these women that the same changes that have always worked, no longer will—and a new approach is needed.

Osteoporosis becomes a more important consideration in these stages, as well. Our approach to osteoporosis prevention includes exercise to maintain bone density, balanced hormone levels, and targeted nutritional supplements for healthier bones. For many of the women we work with, we are achieving a six to eight percent increase in bone density each year—which is significant.

Bio-identical hormone replenishment for this age group can be equally critical, helping women slow or avoid the preventable effects of aging like changes in skin, loss of bladder function, problems with libido, and even cognitive and mood disturbances.

At every stage of a woman’s complex life cycle, good nutrition, stress management, and maintaining a healthy hormone balance can make a dramatic difference in her quality of life.