What are the benefits of platelet-rich plasma?

Charles E. Runels: Because platelet-rich plasma is from the patient’s own blood, there is virtually no risk of allergies or infectious disease transmission. It can actually enhance the immune system. In over one million uses, there have been no reported complications. PRP has been used for years in surgery and orthopedic procedures. Now there is a paradigm shift because instead of being used for wound healing, we are now using it for collagen production, among other things.

Why is it so important for women to invest in their sexual health?

CR: Parts of healthy relationships and individual well-being are love, sexual intimacy and respect. However, other things can impact our sexual and reproductive health such as illness and emotion. Promoting sexual health and the responsibility for it requires open and honest discussion. In order to become their own health advocate and take control, women need to educate themselves about options available to them before talking to their health care provider about all of their choices.

What would be the largest obstacles that women face in becoming their own health advocate and taking control of their health?

CR: As recently as 2015, recommended women’s sexual dysfunction treatment options included non-pharmacological interventions such as education, office-based counseling, psychotherapy and a pharmacological option: an anti-psychotic drug that a woman could not enjoy a glass of wine while taking it. There are natural, safer ways to solve issues like sexual dysfunction and urinary incontinence.

When approaching menopause, what are some of the key signs and symptoms of hormone imbalances?

Gary Donovitz: Women often feel fatigued, do not sleep well and experience mood swings, irritability and depression. They complain of "brain fog". Their sex drive diminishes. It is common to also have increased weight, particularly around the mid-section.

What would you say would be the difference between treating the cause and treating symptoms?

GD: Conventional medicine is a big believer in band-aiding the symptoms. This includes anti-depressants, diet pills, sleeping aids and memory drugs. The patient’s quality of life is not better and moreover the underlying cause has not been treated.

What are the advantages of taking bioidentical hormones versus synthetic hormones?

GD: Bioidentical hormones are plant-based and similar in structure to the hormones your body produces. They actually work better on the brain, heart, breast and bones. In addition, there are fewer side effects. With bioidentical hormones, it’s also much easier to optimize and individualize therapy.

Any advice for aging women in terms of taking a proactive role towards their health?

GD: The number one cause of mortality in women is cardiovascular disease. The second is cancer. By keeping your hormones optimized from your twenties and thirties onward, you can protect your heart and reduce your chances of developing breast cancer. More than 50 percent of women will develop osteopenia or osteoporosis over the age of 50 — by keeping your hormones optimized, this could be preventable.