Tara Rothwell, PA-C
ABOUT TARA ROTHWELL
My name is Tara Rothwell. I obtained my undergraduate degree from UC Davis in Physiology, as well as a dual Masters’ of Science in both Exercise Physiology from University of Montana and Physician Assistant Studies at University of Iowa School of Medicine where I trained Physician Assistant. I have been practicing medicine for over 17 years including experience in many areas of medicine: in-patient and out-patient internal medicine, family medicine including OB/Gyn and pediatrics, gynecology, general surgery, women’s health, wilderness medicine and emergency medicine.
I was taking care of many women when the Women’s Health Initiative was published and watched as two-thirds of my patients stopped taking Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) because of fear of breast cancer. Women were fearful of bio-identical hormones and I watched in horror as other prescriptions to treat their insomnia, stress, depression, weight gain and irritability skyrocketed. This Women’s Health Initiative study (referenced above) essentially said the estrogen sky was falling. Yet the Initiative focused on women taking only conjugated horse estrogens (Premarin) and actually did not show an increase risk in breast cancer; it was the women who were taking Premarin with medroxyprogesterone (Provera), a synthetic form of progesterone, which had the increased risk of breast cancer.
Subsequent studies have shown that it is medroxyprogestrone or Provera that conveys the increased risk for breast cancer, not estrogen. One of the largest studies to date to compare bio-identical with synthetic hormones has shown that bio-identical hormones actually decrease the risk of breast cancer. A study in France followed 80,000 postmenopausal women for over 8 years and showed no increase in the risk for breast cancer for women using bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
My take on these studies is that the net gain from using BHRT to prevent cardiovascular disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and dementia will add many quality years of life to women. So why not take advantage of living longer and better with BHRT?
My empathy soared when I found myself in the midst of menopause at age 47 after having surgery to have a parathyroid tumor removed. A few days after that surgery I began to have hot flashes, night sweats (I thought at first I was having post-operative fevers), followed by irritability and insomnia. I went to my primary care provider and my labs showed I was entering menopause. Luckily, I was able to persuade her to prescribe BHRT for me.
Looking back at life in 1910, the average life expectancy for women was 47 years of age, while today it is 86. It has only been in the last 75 years or so that women have lived long enough to spend a significant (1/3) portion of their lives in menopause. The ovary is the only endocrine organ that gets ignored when it stops functioning. It’s a quality of life issue as well as a health issue and I believe we should be offering bio-identical hormone replacement therapy to women for the rest of their lives.
My goal is to help you achieve a positive lifestyle change using a holistic approach that includes a healthy diet, exercise, macronutrients, and hormonal balance. It is my hope that with these changes you can maximize your energy, vitality, weight loss (if needed) and improved health. And if you suffer from disease (diabetes, hypertension, heart disease) achieving health can help you stop or reduce the amount of prescription medications that you are taking. I value your trust in me working together to achieve the healthiest you!
In health and wellness, Tara