By: Kendel Shore
We at Bonafide® are thrilled to welcome Dr. Alyssa Dweck as our founding Chief Medical Officer. Avid readers of the Bonafide blog and followers of our social channels will recognize Dr. Dweck as one of our trusted Medical Advisors, helping educate and demystify the menopause experience since our company’s inception. Welcoming Dr. Dweck to Bonafide’s leadership team underscores our unique, research-first approach to hormone-free products for the natural symptoms of menopause. We look forward to further integrating her expertise, perspective, and continued representation of patient needs in the development of our hormone-free products and initiatives.
First, tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your background and what inspired you to become an OBGYN?
I’m a born and bred New Yorker. After undergrad and graduate studies in New York, I ventured to Philadelphia for medical school and residency training in OB/GYN, a field I was magnetically drawn to for its medical and surgical offerings, excitement and drama and the familiarity of issues I could relate to as a woman. I happily returned to New York with my now husband of 30 years to practice in Westchester County and raise a family. Delivering babies for 20+ years was both thrilling and exhausting. I spent many an on-call night working on my first book V is for Vagina and was hooked from then on with media. I have since co-authored The Sexual Spark and The Complete A to Z for your V. I now focus my practice on gynecology only, menopausal health and sexual health, which I have special expertise and certification in. I'm super entrepreneurial – I'm now working on a patented product for menopausal symptoms I co-invented.
You’ve been practicing for 25+ years, what motivated you to move into a Chief Medical Officer role now?
I am hoping to bring to light what I have learned on the front lines of clinical practice with consumer needs in the supplement category. It seemed the perfect opportunity to spread my wings into the business world.
You’ve been advising Bonafide since its inception, how will your role change now that you’re in-house?
I anticipate and look forward to a much more hands on and immersive role with Bonafide. I offer a unique perspective as to what women navigating the perimenopause and menopause journeys might find to be unmet needs. I support Bonafide’s mission to rely on science and clinical studies to vet ingredients and products. Most importantly, I’m thrilled to work with a team of incredibly smart, innovative and truly nice people who are excited about the brand.
What drew you to partner with Bonafide initially?
It seems traditional medical teaching focuses on pharmaceuticals and disease. The nutrition and supplement worlds have so much to offer for health and wellness. The two don’t always see eye to eye, but I feel they should. Having studied nutrition and medicine has given me the unique benefit of a broader perspective. Bonafide relies on the science of valid scientific studies to formulate safe and effective products which may benefit women.
What excites you about the future of Bonafide?
The opportunity for growth is thrilling. The flagship products for menopausal health are fabulous and life altering for so many women, and from what I see, this is just the beginning! Bonafide’s growing portfolio lends itself to allow women navigating hormonal changes to live their best lives and embrace wellness.
What are the most common things women are curious about when it comes to menopause? What are the complaints and troublesome symptoms they share with you?
The biggest concern I hear day in and day out in practice is, “Am I normal? Is this normal? Am I the only person having these symptoms?” Symptoms of concern range, of course, from the iconic hot flashes and night sweats to difficulty with sleep, vaginal dryness, discomfort with sex, weight gain, urinary complaints, mental fogginess, and a litany of others that may go along with perimenopause and menopause. These are common complaints and women want to feel reassured that they are not alone in their experiences. Women want peace of mind and reasonable options to relieve their symptoms and alleviate their fears.
How should women prepare for a conversation about menopause with their doctor?
Preparation is key here. I suggest women do their homework, write down their questions and concerns and bring them to the exam room or telehealth platform in a direct manner. Best not to leave your most important concern for last, when time is often limited. Keep in mind, it would be highly unlikely that what you want to discuss is a subject your health care provider has not heard before. Be frank, clear and direct to get the answers you need. Your doctor is there for you.
Is there anything about menopause that typically surprises your patients?
Vaginal changes often take women by surprise. Oftentimes there is a disconnect with vaginal dryness, painful sex, and menopausal hormone changes. Unlike hot flashes, which will come and eventually go, vaginal changes are chronic and progressive.
What would you like women to know about menopause?
Without minimizing anyone’s suffering or concerns in any way, I would say that menopause can be approached as a natural life transition. In actuality, it may very well be a positive time. Consider the freedom from menstruation and no need for contraception, if applicable. General wisdom, professional successes and personal accomplishments and milestones during menopause may be peak.
Look around at some truly impressive, beautiful, productive, and happy women in the world. They may be famous or familial, corporate colleagues or personal heroes. Many are women who are at the top of their game – and incidentally – in menopause.