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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Women’s Health Issues Vary, But Treatments Converge

May 01, 2023 11:29AM ● By Linda Sechrist

Natural Awakenings queried two Southwest Florida physicians, Dr. Carol Roberts and Dr. Lindsey Berkson, from the Naples Center for Functional Medicine, this month regarding the most common health issues for which women consult them.

Dr. Carol Roberts

Roberts advises that many women seek her counsel for hair loss. “Low thyroid makes a woman a candidate for hair loss. It’s generally a case of hormones and nutrition, as genetics is only 20 percent of the problem. The thyroid gland needs iodine, which is found in shellfish and sea vegetables such as kelp and nori. Most of us need an iodine supplement to make sure that we get enough. Iodine is also a preventative for breast and prostate cancer,” she says.

Swimming in a chlorinated pool is not recommended for women with thyroid issues. “Saltwater pools are a better alternative. If swimming in a chlorinated pool, find out when the pool is treated and wait to swim until chlorine levels are lower. Be sure to shower afterward using a shower head filter. Use a water filter for the tap water in the sink, as there maybe chlorine and fluorine in the public water supply.

Stress is factor in hair loss. According to Roberts, it’s how we respond to stress that makes the difference. “Consider stress the background noise of your life. Keep your life as balanced as possible, eat good, clean nutritious food, exercise enough, but not too much, laugh, have fun and enjoy life. Stop going to gloomy places in your head. Learn to manage your thoughts. Stinking thinking leads to more stinking thinking. Expand your social circle of friends, meditate, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and stay away from stimulants. If all else fails, use the Serenity Prayer to remind you to focus on what’s within your control and what’s not,” says Roberts.

Dr. Devaki Lindsey Berkson

The women that consult Berkson do so for her expertise in hormones. A hormone scholar, nutrition and gut expert, as well as continuing education professor for medical doctors and pharmacists, Berkson frequently lectures at conferences to clear up misinformation about hormones and HRT hormone replacement therapy. This peer-reviewed published researcher is also a bestselling author of Safe Hormones Smart Women and a breast cancer survivor of 26 years. Her informative website offers a podcast archive, blog, newsletter and membership opportunities that include live monthly Zoom conversations.


Berkson refers to the headline from a February 2023 New York Times magazine, “Women Have Been Misled About Menopause,” and jokes that while menopause is finally making the news, women are still being misled about one thing in the article. “Recommending birth control pills for hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which the article does, is wrong. Birth control pills are the number one cause of stroke in women over 30.”

She advises, “The article was good in other respects, informing women that HRT is safe and that there are benefits associated with treatment. Dr. Leon Speroff, longtime professor at the University of Oregon and the gynecologic physician who authored Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, which most gynecologists and obstetricians are trained with, twice concluded after reviewing every statistical nuance of the Women’s Health initiative (WHI), that HRT provided improvement of quality of life beyond the relief of hot flashes, maximal protection against osteoporotic fractures, a reduction in colorectal cancers, a reduction in colorectal cancers, maintenance of skin elasticity and the possibility of primary prevention of coronary heart disease and Alzheimer’s.”

Berkson notes, “A woman who doesn’t want to be on HRT is allowing the aging process to accelerate. When there are declining hormones levels in your body, it’s a sign that your bones are beginning to thin, the brain’s structure, activity and neuron connectivity are beginning to decline and the aging process has begun.”

The re-analysis of the WHI by the very same authors that published the first WHI’s scary headlines, which inaccurately warned that estrogen caused breast cancer, found the first study recommendations to be completely inaccurate. Their reanalysis clearly shows that women on estrogen therapies had 23 percent decreased risk of getting breast cancer in the first place. Plus, an amazing 44 percent decreased risk of dying from breast cancer, if you do get it and were on estrogen therapies, in the second place. These sound scientific reanalysis have not made headlines news.” 

Berkson compares hormones to a symphony. “The instruments need to be tuned to play together harmoniously, and they need a conductor. Consult someone that's made hormones their whole career. There's no board certification program for menopause at this time. Most American medical schools teach soon-to-be-doctors never to use hormones. I was recently shadowing a doctor in Michigan whose daughters are finishing up their medical residencies and about to join him in his practice. The women noted that they were taught in their last year of medical school never to prescribe hormones. Since there is such a lack of correct information that doctors have access to, I’m collaborating with another hormone doctor to create a continuing medical education certification for doctors and nurse practitioners,” she advises.

Women should shop around and do their homework to find someone knowledgeable. The best way is to talk to a local compounding pharmacist and ask which doctor gets good results from the HRT they prescribe.

Berkson has recently launched new nutraceutical products to keep hormones “safe” based on her decade of work with the scientists that discovered the first two hormone receptors at an estrogen think-tank at Tulane University. Daily protection for hormone health can be found at


Naples Center for Functional Medicine is located at 800 Goodlette Rd. N., Ste. 270, in Naples. For more information, call 239-649-7400. For more information, visit

Naples Center for Functional Medicine - 800 Goodlette Rd Ste 270 Naples FL

Naples Center for Functional Medicine - 800 Goodlette Rd Ste 270, Naples, FL

Dr. Lindsey Berkson MA, DC, CNS, DACBN, CAN is a hormone scholar and functional medicine specialist focusing on hormones, anti-aging and medical nutrition at Naples Center for Functional ... Read More »