An earlier incorrect version of this article appeared in print in the July 1 issue of Buffalo Healthy Living.

About the Cover: Dr. Brittanny Keeler

by Annette Pinder

Brittanny Keeler is a physician and certified menopause practitioner at Queen City OBGYN, an all-female medical practice that is part of General Physician, PC. Dr. Keeler treats women with the full spectrum of obstetrics and gynecology with a particular focus on high-risk pregnancies, infertility problems, and those undergoing menopause.

Born and raised in Utica, New York, Dr. Keeler attended the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Westbury, New York. She had initially planned to become a family practitioner, but said, “When I did my OB rotation in my third year, I fell in love with caring for women throughout their whole life span. I could relate to this population that I cared about.”

Dr. Keeler believes the medical field could be doing a much better job in addressing mid-life issues associated with menopause. She said, “There is a significant lack of focus on menopause in medical school and physician practices. I decided to take it upon myself to learn and receive training that would help me provide women with the most up-to-date and comprehensive care available.”

“Menopausal women often contend with significantly disruptive symptoms, such as night sweats, hot flashes, brain fog, joint pain, and worsening anxiety. Sometimes their complaints are dismissed by physicians hesitant to prescribe hormone replacement therapy (HRT) due to flawed data from 20 years ago. With practitioners being guided by outdated practices, many women suffer from symptoms that could be helped,” says Dr. Keeler.

Explaining the most recent data on HRT, Dr. Keeler says that early in the 2000s the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) reported an increased risk for breast cancer and stroke in women using hormone therapy. However, their conclusion was based on much older women than the population of women who benefit from HRT. Later reviews of the study showed that HRT taken within 10 years of a woman’s last menstrual period can be protective. Compounding the problem is the extensive misinformation so prevalent on social media. Noting that “there is light at the end of the tunnel,” Dr. Keeler encourages women to talk to their physicians to explore HRT therapy, saying, “Menopause is not something you have to suffer through, as there are plenty of safe options that are available.”

As for life as a physician, Dr. Keeler admits that trying to do it all is not easy. However, she says being a mom is life-changing. “It’s difficult to work full-time and be in two places simultaneously. You want to do a good job for everything and everyone, to be there for your patients, your baby, and your spouse. It’s a balancing act, and I’m figuring that out. Sometimes you decide it is okay to roll with it because, even when it seems like chaos, everything works out and gets done.”

Dr. Keeler’s husband leads an equally busy life as a bank attorney, but she says he is a wonderful dad. The couple lives in Elmwood Village, and while they don’t have much spare time, they enjoy getting outdoors and taking walks on Elmwood, going to parks, and the Bidwell Farmers Market. “We treasure our downtime, and especially love going to the Adirondacks when we can get away.”

As for taking care of her health, Dr. Keeler says, “Eating healthier and getting back into exercise is a goal now that the baby is finally sleeping through the night, but sometimes take-out is just easier.”

Regarding what inspires her, she says, “I’ve always loved taking care of pregnant patients because it is such a special and exciting time in their lives, but I am getting so much satisfaction from treating menopausal patients. It’s wonderful to have a significant impact on improving my patients’ lives.”

Dr. Keeler says she had wanted to become a doctor starting at age 7, but had no idea what was involved. She says, “It’s a hard life. When you’re 7-years-old you don’t understand the challenges that you will face. It’s a difficult life, but I love what I do, and I work hard.” To anyone considering becoming a physician today, she says, “It’s a decision that should not be taken lightly. It’s a privilege, but it isn’t easy.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Keeler, call 716-748-4444.