FACES of Nashville: Dr. Grayson Woods

Dr. Grayson Woods is a native of Nashville and is quickly getting a solid reputation as a hormone specialist. As a GYN, she is already committed to women’s health. After meeting with her last spring, we knew we wanted to highlight her passion for hormones and through this, help to educate StyleBlueprint readers. Grayson is a mother of two children – ages 3 months and 16 months – so she totally understands the crazy life women and mothers lead. She is an enthusiast of Nashville’s parks – preferably for hiking with her family in tow. Today, we are thrilled to present not only a great local doctor, but also some information on hormones which might be useful, no matter your age.

When did you decide to become a doctor?

My sophomore year of college in Dallas I volunteered at Parkland Memorial Hospital in the ER. I was hooked after that.

It’s seems gutsy to decide to not have a OB side to a GYN practice when you are so young. What was it about hormones and women that made you so passionate that this has become what you are known for?

Delivering babies has been one of my greatest joys. It’s also very demanding physically and emotionally. I’m also very passionate about helping women feel their very best. Hormones play a major role in this. After seeing first hand what a dramatic life changing difference hormones and related therapies can make in women’s lives, I decided I needed to focus my attention in order to provide the best possible care for my patients.

Since we have you, we need to ask a few hormone questions for our readers. At what age do hormones start effecting a woman and how early can they be out of balance?

Women as early as their late teens and early 20’s can have major hormone imbalances. The peri-menopause phase (when the ovaries start producing less estrogen and progesterone) typically starts in the mid 40’s and rarely in one’s late 20’s or 30’s.

Is there a certain percentage of the population of women who are estimated to have a hormone imbalance?

One in eight to ten women will have a hormone imbalance problem. The most common one is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and related disorders that can cause excessive hair growth, acne, weight gain, and menstrual irregularities.

What are some basic signs of hormone imbalances in women?

Many times your skin is the biggest indicator. This is why, over 6 years ago, we created Zap! Laser & Aesthetics services to meet the skin care needs of women, as these are frequently signs of hormonal problems. Common signs of hormone imbalance include excessive hair growth or loss, acne, melasma, skin textural changes, wrinkles, menstrual irregularities, weight and mood changes. To combat these signs we want to correct the hormonal problem first. After this, we concentrate on the other popular corrective measures which include laser hair removal, Fraxel skin resurfacing, regular peels, and sometimes additional medicines. We have patients who do not have hormonal imbalances in our practice, as well as clients who only come to Zap!, but most like the extra safety net that our approach provides.

How easy it is to test hormone imbalances?

It can be tricky at times. If the imbalance is subtle or fluctuates, we may need to check several times to see a trend or recheck blood work at different times during the cycle.

Is hormone therapy controversial?

Yes, unfortunately. The media loves to broadcast any possible negatives related to hormones since it sells. The main therapies are usually some combination of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These are made naturally for most of our lives. The idea is to supplement in the same way as if your thyroid were underactive. The newer ‘bioidentical’ formulations are closer to our natural hormones, making them a popular choice for many. We spend a lot of time educating so each patient can make an individual choice for herself.

On to more fun topics. As a Nashville native, how is Nashville different today versus when you were growing up?

I love how much more international Nashville has become, but still with her same ole friendly attitude! It’s wild to remember areas, like south of Old Hickory, that were once mostly farmland.

Do you have a favorite place for a Saturday night date… when you can actually sneak out for dinner!

My husband and I enjoy Cafe Nona. It’s so quaint and reminds me of the cafe in Boulder, Colorado, where I waited tables during my latter college years.

Any great books on your bedside table?

One I just started reading called Loving Your Kids on Purpose.

What movie are you most looking forward to seeing next?

I hear Bridesmaids is hilarious. I guess I’ll need to rent it!

With all the women that you see each year, if you could give one piece of health or non-health advice to the women reading this today, what would it be?

To find a doctor who really listens to you, asks questions and isn’t afraid to think outside the box. This is your health and your life – you deserve to feel good.

What is your one “must-have” for your fall 2011 wardrobe?

After being pregnant for almost two years straight, I have many wardrobe desires! I will definitely add some new winter boots.

Name three things you can’t live without (excluding God and family!)

Morning coffee, my dogs Ruby and Hank, the great outdoors.

Dr. Woods is hosting a seminar on hormones on November 1, 2011.  For more information on this seminar and on her practice, or Zap! Laser and Aesthetics, please see her website: click here.

For more pictures from photographer Ashley Hylbert’s photo shoot, click here.