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Healthy Longevity

Dr. Rita Stanley uses functional medicine to promote wellness

Article by Linda Ditch

Photography by Kristol Kumar Photograhpy

Originally published in Topeka City Lifestyle

During the 20 years Dr. Rita Stanley worked in her primary care internal medicine practice, she was struck by the number of patients who came to her saying, “Something’s wrong, but nobody can tell me what it is.” 

Their lab work would come back normal, or she made a diagnosis and prescribed medicine, only to have the patients come back and say, “Something’s not right. I don’t feel good.”

Those patients opened Dr. Stanley’s mind to the world of functional medicine, which is conventional medical treatments paired with a natural, holistic, and patient-centered approach to health care. She describes it as looking for the root cause of a patient’s health problems instead of just diagnosing and treating it with medicine.

Eventually, Dr. Stanley closed her internal medicine practice to offer integrative wellness services to patients instead. Today, she has offices in Topeka and Kansas City. People typically reach out to her “out of frustration,” she says. “At the point when they feel they haven’t been heard or the primary doctor has reached the limit of what they can do. But they know something’s wrong.”

Dr. Stanley understands the frustration her patients feel from her own experience. She wanted to have a child, but it just wasn’t happening. After going through all the traditional infertility evaluations, her doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. As a physician, she knew something was off. Eventually, she discovered a tumor in her pituitary gland that produced too much prolactin, a hormone women have when breastfeeding. High prolactin levels cease ovulation.

“That journey really was a big part of me saying, you know, there are a lot of people out here suffering,” she says.

A third-generation physician, Dr. Stanley remembers spending summer vacations in Alabama watching her grandfather treat people. Some showed up at his house, and he made house calls to others. They often found chickens or eggs on the front porch as payment.

Dr. Stanley’s father was an OBGYN. She remembers family dinners interrupted by patient phone calls and her father taking the time to address their concerns.

“It’s all I ever knew. He and my mother would get dressed to go somewhere, and the phone would ring. She would have to go by herself while he went to deliver a baby,” she says.

At Dr. Stanley’s Integrative Wellness Clinic, the premise is that health begins at the cellular level, and disease begins with the breakdown of cellular health. Patients can enjoy a life of energy and vitality by supporting cellular health.

New patients go through a series of comprehensive lab tests. Then Dr. Stanley discusses with them any health risk indicators found in the lab work and the steps necessary to correct them. She evaluates their health history, genetic makeup, and lifestyle factors to design a personalized treatment plan for every patient.

One treatment offered at the clinic is bio-identical, natural hormone replacement therapy. This might include supplements, changes to diet, exercise, and bioidentical
compounded hormones. These hormones have the same chemical structure as ones made by the human body versus synthetic hormones created in a lab.

The clinic also offers oxidative therapy, including an ozone steam sauna. Patients may also receive IV nutrition. Customized for each patient, vitamins, minerals, and hydration are administered via IV directly into the bloodstream. This provides optimal and faster absorption of nutrients.

“Nobody wants to be sick,” Dr. Stanley says. “All of us are going to age. But there are things we can do now that make us age in a healthy way so, up until our last day, we can be vibrant and sharp in our minds. I want to be part of that movement that helps people have healthy longevity. Somebody who can help you learn how to do the things so when you’re 99 years old, and it’s time for you to go, you’re not leaving here sick.”

To learn more about Dr. Stanley’s practice, visit ritastanleymd.com. Her office is located at 1125 SW Gage Blvd., Suite C. The phone number is (785) 215-8385.