About Bioidentical Hormones
Answers about bioidentical hormone therapy.
What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are a precise chemical match to the hormones naturally occurring in the human body. These molecules are extracted from yam and soy plants. They are then synthesized into bioidentical hormones. The body recognizes the bioidentical hormones exactly the same. It is important to know that the way the bioidentical hormones are administered will make a difference in the effectiveness and the side effects. Hormones can be given by pill, topically, as a cream or patch, and by pellet insertion. We prefer to administer testosterone by pellet insertion to give you a constant dosing that penetrates directly into the blood stream. DHEA can only be taken orally. Getting your hormone levels balanced can lead to an active, happy, and healthy life.
What is the difference between natural bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones?
Both hormones are made in a lab, but the difference is in the molecular structure and how they are metabolized in your body. Bioidentical hormones come from natural sources containing an exact match to our molecular structure giving you the health benefits of producing your own natural hormones. Synthetic hormones were created by pharmaceutical companies because they could not patent natural hormones. Synthetic hormones do not match our body’s molecular structure causing adverse reactions when taken.
How are your Bioidentical Hormones prescribed?
Hormones can be prescribed in different forms including transdermal cream capsules, tablets, shots, and pellets. We prefer to use pellets for most hormones because it is placed under the skin providing a sustained hormonal level throughout the day. It is also not metabolized through the liver allowing the body to use the amount needed for optimization.
Are bioidentical hormones approved and regulated by the FDA?
Many people believe that bioidentical hormones are not FDA-approved. This is simply not true. The hormones derived from plant sources, such as soy and yams, are approved by the FDA. Bioidentical hormones are formulated in a lab and shipped directly to the compounding pharmacy where they are customized to fit each client’s needs. The delivery methods are custom and can be prescribed in pellets, pills, gels, creams, patches, and vaginal rings. Whereas patented synthetic hormones are created in a specific dose and delivery method allowing exact regulation. Bioidentical hormones are completely customized to your needs making regulation difficult.
How long do I need to be on hormone replacement?
Bioidentical hormone replacement may be done for life. Once hormone therapy is stopped the deficient levels will quickly return along with all the symptoms that were present before treatment started. Each person will make the decision with their provider what is the appropriate treatment for their age, hormone levels, and ultimately their overall health.
How are my hormones tested and how frequently?
At Central Wellness we test hormone levels through a simple blood draw to get the most accurate results. Some providers do a Saliva test, but we find this does not depict an accurate level of hormones in the blood stream. When you join the Hormone Therapy Program we do an initial blood draw to see your hormone deficiencies allowing our Board Certified Nurse Practitioner to prescribe accurately. Hormone levels will then be checked between 4- 6 weeks to verify hormone optimization. Blood draws will then depend on symptoms, but we prefer to check your levels every 6-12 months to keep you functioning at the highest level of health and wellbeing.
How long does it take to balance my hormones?
While it varies from person to person, you can expect to be balanced within 2 to 4 months. You may experience an improvement in your symptoms as early as 4 weeks. During your wellness journey you may feel like you are not quite balanced as your hormones may fluctuate depending a several variables including exercise, eating healthy, stress, sleep, aging and others. Central Wellness’s Hormone Therapy Program is developed so you have frequent access to our Board Certified Nurse Practitioner to keep you feeling your best.
What will I expect once I get started?
Once you have decided you want to improve your overall health you will meet with our consultant to complete the paperwork to enroll you in our hormone therapy program. You will be scheduled for a blood draw and given a comprehensive health history to complete. Once we have received the health history and your blood results, you will be scheduled with our Board Certified Nurse Practitioner to review your findings. At this time she will prescribe a treatment plan that may include nutritional supplements, bioidentical hormones, diet, exercise and stress management. Once you have your treatment plan you will be seen by the nurse practitioner every 8 -10 weeks to guide you along your wellness journey.
Will you take over as my primary doctor?
No, we encourage you to continue your usual visits for all of your non-hormonal health needs. We will happily communicate with your current physician.
Why don’t traditional doctors prescribe Bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormone therapy requires extensive specialty training, which most traditional doctors do not have the time or the resources to become an expert.
What are the ingredients of Bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are derived from plants, such as soy or wild yams. They are structurally identical to the hormones produced naturally inside the human body. Additional ingredients will vary by hormone and how it is prescribed – estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, etc. and the form – pellets, pills, creams, etc. Your pharmacy may be able to provide with an ingredient list for your prescription if necessary.
Does Insurance cover bioidentical hormone therapy?
Unfortunately, most insurance will not cover bioidentical hormone therapy. It is considered a wellness program and does not fall under “sick care”. You may be able to get coverage on your lab work, depending on your insurance plan. We will do our best to assist you in getting reimbursed on any part of the program that your insurance provider may cover.
What if I have a family history of cancer, should I avoid bioidentical hormones?
No, we strongly encourage you to come in for an evaluation by our nurse practitioner. She can analyze your hormone levels and better determine a cancer risk strategy to assist in disease prevention through bioidentical hormone therapy, nutrition, and exercise.
How long after being cancer free can I use bioidentical hormones?
Cancer patients may use bioidentical hormones, however, the use of certain hormones may not be ideal. Speaking with our Board Certified Nurse Practitioner and thoroughly discussing your cancer and remission will allow for the proper care.
What about the risk of breast cancer?
There has been confusion and a sense of fear linking hormones and cancer since the study WHI was released in 2002. This study was done on 16,000 women to evaluate the effects of hormones on cardiovascular, cancer, osteoporosis and Alzheimer risk in postmenopausal women. The undesirable outcome of this study was expected from the particular medication used, which combined synthetic hormones estrogen, an oral horse estrogen and a synthetic progestin. The undesirable effects observed were due to the following:
- The unnatural, synthetic hormone Premarin® used in the study is derived from pregnant horses and contains mostly estrone and equine, which are hormones not natural to humans. In the study they also used Provera®, a synthetic progesterone call progestins.
- The administration of the hormones Premarin® and Provera® were given in an oral dose, causing it to pass through the liver increasing clotting factors and inflammatory proteins (CRP). These effects aren’t observed with trans-dermal (skin) application.
One of the largest studies to date comparing the risk of breast cancer with the use of natural bioidentical hormones shows that the natural hormones have significantly less associated risk of breast cancer and much added benefit. The natural combinations of hormone therapy administered correctly have been shown to decrease the risks of breast cancer by 80%, stroke and heart attack by 50%, osteoporosis by 50%, Alzheimer’s by 80%, osteoarthritis by 40%, and colon cancer by 40%. This study published in the 2007 Breast Cancer Research examined the association between various forms of hormone therapy and the incidence of breast cancer in over 80,000 postmenopausal women for over 8 postmenopausal years. The study found that those who were given estrogen only (different preparations were analyzed) had an increased risk of breast cancer that was 1.29 times compared to those who never used estrogen, If a synthetic progestin was used in combination with estrogen, it significantly increased in the risk by 1.69 times who never used estrogen and progestin. If, however, a woman was given a natural combination of estrogen and progesterone there was no increased risk of breast cancer compared to those who never used estrogen. In addition, those who used a natural combination containing estradiol resulted in a lower risk for breast cancer compared to those who never used hormone replacement.
Conveniently schedule your complimentary consultation or call us at 406.869.1066.
Bioidentical Hormone Treatment Plan
Meet with our highly trained consultant to discuss your medical history and the benefits of bioidentical hormones.
We will draw your blood to check all your vital hormones and other health factors.
Heidi Efinger, NP or Kacie Robertus, FNP will take the time to sit down with you for a lengthy amount of time to discuss your blood results, recommended treatment program, and questions
Once your results have been discussed you may choose to continue forward with our bioidentical hormone program. When you join bioidentical hormone prescriptions and vitamins will be prescribed. Your journey to a healthier and happier you will begin!
5Continued Monitoring and Support
Keeping you healthy and active is a lifelong process and we want to be with you every step of the way. You will have a visit with Kacie Robertus, N.P or Heidi Efinger N.P. every 8-12 weeks to optimize your hormones and your health.
Disclaimer: Information and content within this website is provided for informational purposes only. This website is not intended to provide medical advice, and anything read here should not be construed as such. Reading the information on this site or communicating with our staff does not create a physician-patient relationship. If you have questions about any health issue, including something you may have read here, please consult a licensed, trained physician or health professional immediately.