Ask The Expert: DR. Stephen A. Rosenberg, OB/GYN

Dr. Stephen A. Rosenberg is one of Atlanta’s preeminent OB/GYN physicians. He’s the go to expert for women: guiding them with skilled care and concern through pregnancy and giving  birth, to helping women navigate the life-changing issues of menopause. Dr. Rosenberg says it is a privilege to be a help to so many wonderful people. He’s the consummate professional, an avid traveler and a loving husband to his wife Eliane and dad to his two beloved children. His daughter Talia and son Lucas are his pride and joy and no vacation is complete unless he has them aboard. He is the gold standard in women’s healthcare, providing his patients with expertise coupled with kindness and concern.

    Dr. Rosenberg received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Emory University.  Already a fan of Atlanta, he then completed his residency at the Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Rosenberg is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and he is a Fellow in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

TG: Dr. Rosenberg, please tell us a little about yourself, your education, and how you ended up in Atlanta involved in women’s healthcare.

SR: I grew up in Virginia and came to Atlanta to attend Emory University School of Medicine.  I did my residency at Grady Memorial Hospital, which is a large inner city hospital in Atlanta. Once I completed my four years of residency in obstetrics and gynecology, I joined North Atlanta OB/GYN some 30 years ago, and I am still delivering babies at Northside Hospital. 

TG: Did you know at an early age that you wanted to go into women’s healthcare?

SR: I think I knew in my early teens that I wanted to be a doctor, but I was uncertain what field of medicine I would go into. At one point I wanted to be a heart surgeon and then a psychiatrist. However, in my third year of medical school, I had the opportunity and responsibility to deliver five to 10 babies during my OB rotation.

   For some doctors in training, delivering a baby can be a life-altering experience, and it was for me! I knew this was what I wanted to do with my professional life. Caring for a woman throughout her pregnancy and then delivering her baby is an awesome responsibility and privilege. There is an intimacy that is unique to this process that is different from any other found in medicine. Women who have a positive obstetric experience often remember their doctor for the rest of their life. 

   Now that I have been in practice for more than 30 years, I have had two very special experiences recently. First, I have now taken care of and delivered a baby for a patient whom I actually delivered myself, during the first year I was in practice, 30 years ago. The second experience involved being invited to the wedding of a gentleman whom I delivered early in my career. How many people can go up to the bride at her wedding and say that they knew the groom before he was born and then delivered him? Needless to say, she, the bride, was at first confused and then shocked. These are the things that make what I do so interesting and exciting.

TG: How has your practice evolved as you have moved through your career?

SR: One of the most wonderful things about being an OB/GYN is that you age with your patients. I see patients when they are having their families, and then every year they come in for their annual exam and I get to keep up with the babies I delivered as they grow up and go off to college. The patients whom I delivered years ago are now approaching the perimenopausal and menopausal phases of their lives, which is typically the mid-40s and on. Of course, this brings on different challenges for women as their hormonal milieu evolves. The good news is that there are new treatment modalities to help women with problems specific to this transitional life phase.

TG:  Can you share with us some of these new treatment options?

SR: Of course. The first thing I would like to discuss is hormone replacement therapy. As you know, much has been written over the years about giving women estrogen and progesterone to help with menopausal symptoms. Suffice it to say that the earlier studies conducted to look at the safety of this therapy were done at a time when women were being given synthetic hormones. The estrogen came from the urine of pregnant horses and was therefore equine estrogens. The progesterone was completely synthetic.

   I have long been a believer in hormone replacement therapy using bio-identical plant-derived hormones, which are identical to the molecules the body naturally makes. I have recently started offering a new hormone regimen called BioTE hormonal pellet therapy.

   I am very excited about this therapy choice because it focuses on not only estrogen but also testosterone. Before menopause, the ovary makes testosterone which is, in part, responsible for libido. I cannot tell you how many menopausal women I see who are very frustrated with their loss of sex drive. Studies have shown that some menopausal symptoms including night sweats, loss of libido, and a general lack of energy may be related more to low testosterone than estrogen. Many women on hormone replacement are not having their testosterone replaced and therefore find the treatment less than satisfactory.

   I am not going to suggest that replacing testosterone is a panacea, curing every menopausal symptom, but a large percentage of my patients receiving this therapy are definitely noticing a marked improvement in how they feel. The other advantage of this therapy model is that the estrogen and testosterone are administered as pellets under the skin in the buttock region. This allows for an even distribution of hormones over a four to six month time frame. It is interesting that when I started my career a few older physicians were doing pellet therapy and then it went away. I guess everything that’s old…

TG: Are there any other treatment options you are using specifically for menopausal women?

SR: Yes. Actually, the other therapy I am now offering in the office addresses a real problem I hear very often, which is pain with intimacy. We all know that 60 is the new 40 but sometimes the body doesn’t quite go along. As women enter menopause and the estrogen levels wane, the vaginal lining can become thinner and less resilient. This can lead to significant pain with intercourse. Who wants to do something when they know it is going to hurt? This can have a very significant impact on a marriage or relationship. I am now offering the Mona Lisa Touch laser therapy in the office. It involves three treatments performed six weeks apart. Although the thought of this treatment might be a little frightening, the treatments are virtually painless.

   The science behind the therapy is that using laser energy on these tissues stimulates more blood flow to the tissues and more glycogen formation, which makes the tissues healthier.  Before I committed to this therapy, I performed a study with several test patients and 98 percent had a very favorable response. Those that did not, needed one extra treatment. I have been told by more than one patient that bringing intimacy back into a relationship is life altering.

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