Gynecologist Unfolds Truth on Hormonal Health

Gynecologist Unfolds Truth on Hormonal Health

Marcia Caller Jaffe

After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).

Emory- and Harvard-trained gynecologist Mache Seibel presents “What Every Woman Over 40 Needs to Know” with his new, well-researched book, “The Estrogen Window.”

Seibel, the creator of the Menopause Breakthrough Program and founder of The Hot Years, My Menopause Magazine, will help women be healthy, energized and hormonally balanced through perimenopause, menopause and beyond.

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Jaffe: Your wife, who is also an M.D., had health issues that led you to research this topic.

Seibel: Yes, Sharon had genetic testing because she had lost so many women in her family to

Mache Seibel will appear at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, in conversation with Mimi Zieman, an OB/GYN at Femasys.
Mache Seibel will appear at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, in conversation with Mimi Zieman, an OB/GYN at Femasys.

ovarian cancer. She tested positive for the BRCA2 mutation, which was a new test at that time, and immediately had her ovaries and tubes surgically removed and started a program for breast screening. This happened only months after a study called the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) reported (erroneously) that estrogen caused breast cancer and heart disease. My experience and reading of the article was that the WHI study was flawed.

But during that time and until the present, millions of women stopped taking estrogen and thousands of doctors stopped prescribing it. I needed to know how to advise my wife and my patients about hormone replacement. We now know that estrogen does not increase the risk of breast cancer if taken in the estrogen window, even in women with the BRCA gene. I discuss this in great depth in my book, “The Estrogen Window.” It took years to validate.

Jaffe: How long did it take you to write the book?

Seibel: Really only five months — after I spent years going through all the data and research and interviewing the researchers. Like Jules Feiffer, the artist, painter and cartoonist, said, “My work takes 25 minutes — and 25 years.”

Jaffe: What feedback have you gotten? Do you feel like this book is changing lives?

Seibel: The feedback on Amazon, from my patients and peers has been amazing. Lay people are finding it very helpful if not altering. What is as dramatic is how the medical community has embraced it as the current go-to for understanding the use of estrogen. The North American Menopause Society review of the book recommended it as required reading for doctors in training.

Jaffe: You trained here in Atlanta?

Seibel: My experience in obstetrics and gynecology at Grady Memorial Hospital laid the clinical foundation for me about how to approach research and use data. It was a quality experience. On the lighter side, we probably delivered 6,000 babies a year there, which may calculate to one every 90 minutes. There are a variety of now-35-year-olds running around Atlanta with the name Mache, Machelle or a variation of Seibel.

Jaffe: I heard you went down the Grady halls in a Groucho Marx mask to cheer up patients. What are some of your other talents?

Seibel: I have a side career in music. See my music website, I have published about 15 CDs on various meaningful (and lighthearted) topics, many for children about being potty-trained, brushing teeth or lullabies. For the ladies, we have “Red Hot Mama” songs of life, laughter and love (I write the music and lyrics). I have also appeared at medical conventions where I customize the music to their specialty.

Jaffe: I can testify that you can sing “Greenie Cuziny” in Yiddish — quite a feat for a boy from Texas City, Texas. I remember when you were in People magazine (January 2000).

Seibel: Yeah! I helped a famous gorilla at the Boston Zoo conceive. That one they didn’t name after me (laughing).

Jaffe: You live in the Boston area now with your wife and three scattered grown children. You were in Atlanta recently promoting your book.

Seibel: Yes, I had a great experience on WXIA in April, sharing the detail of “The Estrogen Window” and presenting the findings to the Emory School of Medicine. There was so much interest.

Jaffe: We look forward to seeing you at the Book Festival on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 12:30 p.m. at the Marcus JCC in Dunwoody. I can promise an informative and genuinely fun presentation.

Review: What Women Over 40 Need to Know

I confess that my gynecologist wisely advised me to take hormone therapy 20 years ago. Upon hearing my late mother’s advice, “Don’t go looking for trouble,” and fearing the warnings that such treatment could cause breast cancer, I declined.

The Estrogen Window By Dr. Mache Seibel Rodale Books, 256 pages, $25.99
The Estrogen Window
By Dr. Mache Seibel
Rodale Books, 256 pages, $25.99

Mache Seibel, a physician who is an international women’s wellness and menopause expert in Boston, wrote “The Estrogen Window” for patients and medical providers on hormone therapy.

He takes the fear out of estrogen. He wants women to know that those treating their symptoms with estrogen are not exposing themselves to serious risks and that those considering estrogen therapy should understand the window of time during which estrogen poses minimal risks with maximum benefit.

After that window closes, outcomes can change.

The following benefits are detailed throughout the book:
• Extended protection from heart disease.
• Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive decline.
• Reduced risk of osteoporosis and Type 2 diabetes.
• Beneficial cosmetic effects on structure and resiliency of skin.
• Relief from hot flashes.
• Improved sleep.
• Stabilized mood, especially in women with mental health diagnoses.
• Support for bladder tissue and reduced risk of recurring urinary tract infections.
The duration of woman’s estrogen window depends on two factors: which estrogen-containing medicine is used and which symptom is targeted. If the same woman takes the same drug outside her window, she might face an increased risk of serious side effects.
Seibel also takes on the Jewish outlook for women who think they have the BRCA gene.

“If you are an Ashkenazi Jew, the BReast CAncer (BRCA) gene is something you especially need to know about because it is overrepresented in Jews and there are proactive things you can do. There are two BRCA mutations or abnormal changes, BRCA1 and BRCA2; both significantly increase a women’s lifetime risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Less well known, the BRCA gene mutation causes up to a 22-fold increase in pancreatic cancer and increases the risk of melanoma. This equal opportunity gene also increases a man’s risk of prostate cancer,” the doctor writes.

“I thought this was a beautifully written book, and I will encourage my resident and student trainees to read it. This will be essential reading for the teaching program at my hospital,” said Robyn Faye, a clinical assistant professor in the physician’s assistant department at Drexel University.

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