Perimenopause Specialist at Kaiser?

I just had what I thought would be a great first appointment with a new OBGYN at Kaiser. Her bio online said that she was open to integrative medicine and also specialized in peri/menopause issues.

Instead, I was completely dismissed, told my pain isn't a concern, and that I should wait another 3 months to see if the pain persists. I was then told I should go see a Natropath instead of asking to be seen at Kaiser -- all before the doctor even had a full understanding of what I had concerns about.

When I responded that I felt that Kaiser should be able to help me with something I thought might be hormone related, her response was "then tell me how you want me to help you, what do you want me to do"? I just sat silent on the phone. All I could think was, why on earth is a doctor asking ME to tell them how to do their job? I was seeking her expertise as the specialist.

I was hoping for a doctor who, after listening to me, would be proactive and offer some solid suggestions as a way forward. Someone who would be curious about my health and want to figure out what's going on. Well, that clearly wasn't this doctor. Sadly, this isn't the first type of experience like this I've had with Kaiser.

Does anyone know of a Kaiser OBGYN, or some kind of a different type doctor outside of Kaiser, who might be better? Someone who will listen, and will actually help me figure out what's going on, rather than dismiss me?

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I would recommend you see a functional medicine doctor or naturopath.  If you do that, you may be able to ask your doctor at Kaiser to order some of the lab tests that your outside practitioner recommends.  It has been my experience that Kaiser doctors recommend birth control and antidepressants for hormonal issues and have a very limited understanding of these issues.

I have a few recommendations for you, however none of them are Kaiser.  They're functional medicine doctors who will listen with compassion and expertise!  I've had positive and insightful experiences with two of them, Dr. Stephanie Daniel in Berkeley and Dr. Marcey Shapiro in Albany, however I only recently discovered that the renowned Dr. Sara Gottfried is local.  Dr. Daniel may have been responsible for me conceiving my son after discovering I was low in progesterone, and Dr. Shapiro diagnosed me for perimenopause (at 41!) along with adrenal PCOS a couple of years ago.  Both of them ran bloodwork to see what was going on, and provided me with a regimen of supplements to take that have helped TREMENDOUSLY with my symptoms.  I was deficient in a number of vitamins & minerals that was contributing to everything from hair loss to anxiety attacks, and I'm happy to say that those are now under control thanks to these women. 

Dr. Shapiro is the most affordable option.

https://marceyshapiromd.com/

https://functionalmedicinesf.com/ (Dr. Daniel)

https://www.saragottfriedmd.com/ (not sure if she sees patients or just writes books?)

Good luck!

Johanna

I had a hard time finding an OBGYN at Oakland Kaiser after several providers retired in a row as soon as I started perimenopause. I had irregular bleeding on and off for 7 years, weight gain, skin problems, the onset of IBS, lots of morning nausea, and frequent migraines that ranged from mild to debilitating. I had a single appointment with someone that treated me very similar to what you describe. 

I had been looking for a provider that was an older woman whose profile resonated with me. Instead, I ended up with a younger doctor who is non-judgmental. I am satisfied with the care that I have found under Dr. Botha. She makes recommendations, but allows me to guide my care, and has a nice bedside manner.

I'm going to be honest and say that I feel like menopause has been a whole body change for me and has impacted me physically beyond the scope of my OB/GYN's practice. I had to patchwork care for all of the changes that came with this new phase. My primary care physician and other specialists helped me as much as my OB/GYN. Western medicine has really neglected women's health, particularly around menopause and is really just not set up to deal with issues holistically. Even if a provider thinks holistically about health, they are probably going to have to stay in their lane in the Kaiser system.

If you decide to consider Chinese medicine, which treats in the holistic manner that you are asking for, I recommend Debra Sue Kelvin http://healthychi.com/

I wish you the best of luck!

Maybe we have the same doctor! When I asked my Kaiser primary care doctor how to handle some perimenopause symptoms a few years ago, she scoffed/laughed and said that she couldn't tell me if I was in perimenopause since there wasn't a "test." I told her that was not my question, but I never got any answers to my actual concerns. Sorry I don't have any advice -- just wanted to let you know that you are not alone.

I feel your pain! Been there, done that. Good luck finding a Kaiser doc (my plan too) to help . I saw Dr. Sarah Ferguson (www.sarahfergusonmd.com), she's BOTH and MD and an Integrative/Functional medicine practitioner. Like you, was feeling bad in peri-menopause and she was a great help. Paying out of pocket is not cheap, and the lab prices may shock you, but I am grateful for having been able to afford her help at the time and I gained many new insights into my health, things I never learned as a life long Kaiser patient, things that have stuck with me and made me healthier as time has gone by. Good luck to you!

How horribly disappointing and irritating that you had such a negative appointment with a new OBGYN Kaiser physician.  I urge you to share your experience with Kaiser's Member Services Department, and of course ask around to get recommendations so you can choose another doctor in that department.  If enough patients express their dissatisfaction with a doctor then there is a chance that Kaiser will take action to insure that such substandard attitude/behavior will not be inflicted upon other patients.  I have been a Kaiser member for over 65 years and for at least the past 8 years or so Kaiser really has become very responsive to improving their patients' satisfaction.     

Dr. Botha. Kaiser, Oakland.