Hormone Therapy Can Prevent Disease for the Elderly: Interview with Dr. Cheryl Perlis, M.D.

In a recent interview with Dr. Cheryl Perlis, M.D., we learned a lot about the benefits of hormone therapy and supplements in preventing everything from serious diseases like dementia and heart disease, as well as preventing more common every day symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, sleeping difficulties, and thinning hair.
 How did you get into the field of hormone therapy, and what are the basics that we should know about how it works?
 I founded Perlis Wellness Center in 2004, after practicing conventional obstetrics and gynecology for 15 years.  I became interested in cosmetic medicine and trained with the elite physicians in using Botox and dermal fillers.  I learned all the latest advanced techniques. I loved doing it– you have to be artistic, and I really enjoyed that aspect. I was passionate about making significant changes for people naturally, but yet something was missing. Patients were looking really great, but they still did not feel as good as they looked.
A close friend of mine expressed the need for natural hormones and urged me to learn them. The idea was planted and I began my journey.  I personally had started to feel tired all of the time, and I couldn’t remember things as well as before. I started gaining weight and experienced hair loss, thinking it was menopause—but I was still getting periods. As a conventional gynecologist, no one ever got hormones until they had no periods for at least a year. Well, a year is a long time, and so many symptoms, slowly creep up, I had no idea all the symptoms, natural hormones could treat. I took an online course about introducing bio-identical natural hormones to my practice, then went to NYC to shadow and train with Dr. Erika Schwartz. I stayed there for 3 or 4 days. Little did I know that would change me forever.
I realized that I could change so many peoples live by adding in hormone therapy. I learned about the holistic aspect of medicine, supplements, and how our environment and diet affects our health on all levels. What I see is that our environment is getting more toxic, and paired with the consumption of genetically modified crops, it has led us to have a lot of hormonal problems. People are always feeling tired or unfocused. Even with kids, vaccines are given all at once. Our systems cannot always handle that, and it has led to an increase in ADD, autism. Hormonal imbalances can affect anyone at any point in life.
In her blog, Dr. Perlis explains the basics behind bio-identical hormone therapy.
“As you age, your hormone levels decline and become imbalanced. The frequency and severity of symptoms can vary greatly among individual women. Symptoms like weight gain, loss of energy, forgetfulness thinning hair, joint pains, depression, sleeping difficulties and many more. Bio-identical hormones are plant-based, natural substances that our bodies can metabolize in the way it was designed to do, minimizing side effects. These compounded bio-identicals or natural hormones can be matched to each woman’s unique needs, something that’s impossible with mass-manufactured products. You will begin to experience a sense of vitality you haven’t felt in years, you will wake up more rested, and think with more clarity.”
A lot of people think they don’t have symptoms of hormone loss. When you start having the symptoms you have missed the boat. You want to be proactive about preventing things like weight gain and sleep loss. If someone at age 40 comes in, I can help them prevent these symptoms from occurring, and they don’t have to suffer.  It does not have to get to the point where you can’t function in your job. The concept about natural hormones is that you prevent disease by using them.
How can hormone therapy be used to target different ailments in elder care patients?
Hormone therapy has many benefits for people of all ages, and especially the elderly.  It all depends on their complaints.  Vitamin b-12 deficiencies are very common and associated with dementia, fatigue, and poor learning, among other serious conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease which develop more commonly as we age. Many elderly suffer from symptoms related to all of the medications they have been prescribed by their doctors. For example the statins, commonly known as Lipitor, lowers your cholesterol.  Lowering cholesterol can cause you to decrease all the other hormones you need to function like testosterone. Low testosterone leads low muscle mass, fatigue, depression, anemia. This is just one example.
By taking supplements and low dose hormones, as well as having thyroid checks, many symptoms of aging can be alleviated. Problems with the thyroid can also be linked to dementia. In fact, 60% of the population is low on their thyroid hormones which are responsible for maintaining the major systems of the body, and 96% of the population is deficient in iodine, which helps the thyroid.
Truthfully, it can be hard to re-train someone to make huge changes in their lifestyle after a certain age, so I really try to individualize the treatments for each person. I try to look at what’s realistic. If someone is not eating healthy, a goal that I suggest is to try and introduce more organic foods into their diet. Try substituting real milk with almond milk, or cutting out bread and eating rice crackers instead.  Gluten free is ideal, since flour products (gluten) cause so many stomach aliments.
The idea is to plant the seed, and educate them on better choices. Most people are used to going to the same doctor and they often don’t look outside the box to explore these other options like hormone therapy and supplements. Once they try hormones and start using the supplements, they start feeling better, they know that it is truly working and become open to the alternative remedies that a holistic approach to medicine can provide.
 From your experience, what sets Freedom Home Care apart from the competition?
At Freedom Home Care they’re excellent. They have the holistic, integrative approach to their care. Their care givers want their patients to be healthy, and eat well which makes them a top notch company. I know that they take great care of their clients, and are always on top of what’s healthy and nurturing for their patients. I always use them for referrals, because they have a great philosophy, and they care so much about each patient, going above and beyond to select a care taker that will provide the necessary needs for their patients.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see facing your practice?
Drug companies have a big impact on what goes on in the medical world with marketing to the needs of the consumer and then solicit physicians to use their drugs.  The big picture is that drug companies don’t want people to use hormones because they will feel better, prevent disease, and won’t need the mass-produced drugs. My philosophy is to educate patients, let them spread the word about their experience with natural hormones and supplemental therapies.  Once they feel better, their friends and family will notice and they too will want to use hormones and supplements also.
 About Perlis Wellness Center
At Perlis Wellness Center we believe that patients are ultimately in control of their own health. The more knowledge they have, the more active role they can take in their own health. Our philosophy is to become partners with our patients by educating them on ways to improve their health.