Sidney Allen

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a powerful yet all natural alternative to synthetic hormone replacement, and Mr. Allen covers this new form of addressing hormone imbalances in his blog. Mr. Allen aims to provide independent and unbiased information and advice, and does not have a stake in what you choose to do re: BHRT.

Feb 242015
 

A bioidentical estrogen patch provides transdermal (through the skin) absorbtion of this natural hormone in a slow and steady dose.  A bioidentical estrogen patch can be a great solution for women who do not want to take pills and who want a more specific dose than they would get with a cream.  It is also helpful for those who might otherwise forget to take their hormones or use their cream.  If you are someone who has signs of a hormone imbalance related to a loss of estrogen, and this is most common in women who are aging, you may want to look into the possibility of a bioidentical estrogen patch.

If we back up for second, remember that among the signs of low estrogen are depression, fatigue, vaginal issues, and some degree of muscle and joint pain may be signs of hormonal imbalances.  You should get this thoroughly assessed including having hormone testing to determine whether you are in fact low in estrogen.  If you are experiencing these symptoms and an assessment reveals that they are due to low estrogen, you may benefit from bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.  And the likely chemical that the doctor will want to prescribe is called estradiol.  You may have choices, including pills, creams, suppositories and patches, and we are focusing on the latter here.

The bottom line is that you want to get a low and steady dose of estradiol through your BHRT.  All of the choices listed above are viable, but each has a drawback as well.  Pills, for example, must be metabolized by the liver and when that happens they can lose efficiency and potency.  Creams may be hard to dose correctly.  Suppositories may be uncomfortable.  And all of these methods require you to remember to administer your natural hormones and be in a place where you can do so.  For these reasons many women are looking into the bioidentical estrogen patch.

Feb 192015
 

Writing about bioidentical estrogen side effects and solutions presents a challenge for several reasons:

  • First, the side effects a woman might experience from BHRT may be quite unique and varied, and we want to be careful not to try to write a one-size-fits-all listing that will mean that women who do not experience something more typical will hesitate to see their doctor.  As with any natural treatment that might involve ingredients you have never been exposed to so you may react in one way or another and if you do experience side effects you need to let your doctor know.
  • Second, the solutions may also be varied.  What works for one person may not work for another.  In fact, it is possible that some things that work for one person may actually make another person worse.  So the solutions are also something you should run by your doctor first.  We would not want to present a list of solutions here that may or may not help.
  • Finally, we want to be careful in general because the topic “bioidentical estrogen side effects and solutions” may be misleading.  There may not be solutions to some side effects at all.  With bioidentical hormone replacement therapy there are different formulas your doctor may be able to try, and different approaches.  So it may be a better idea to try something new than to try to find a solution with the same formula.

All fo that said, we can provide some information and advice about bioidentical estrogen side effects and solutions that might be helpful.

Bioidentical estrogen side effects and solutions: Ideas

There are a few things you can try if you do experience side effects from bioidentical hormones after you’ve let your doctor know about them and assuming she or he will continue to keep you on BHRT.  Each of these solutions is simple and easy, and you should closely monitor whether each one works.

  • Try altering your diet, adding exercise, and/or getting better sleep.  It is possible that if you eat healthier, get enough activity, or are rested you may feel better and the side effects may not be as worrisome.  For example, some of the side effects reported include anxiety, so all of these changes may help lower the amount of anxiety you have and thereby make this effect less pronounced.
  • Try changing the way your bioidentical hormone is delivered.  If you are getting injections and then having skin irritation at the injection site, look into pills or creams.  This entry in our bioidentical estrogen side effects and solutions ideas of course does depend on whether there is another viable method, and may need to be balanced against any loss in efficiency.
  • Wait it out.  With the permission of your doctor, who should be making sure that your reaction is not concerning, you may want to just wait things out because the idea of bioidentical estrogen side effects and solutions may not be as complicated as you think.
  • Add a supplement of some sort.  Your doctor, or a nutritionist she of he works with may be able to advise you about a natural supplement that may help reduce the reaction.

Bioidentical estrogen side effects and solutions: Conclusions

BHRT and particular BHRT approaches using estrogen have come a long way and many people have few problems with them and if they do have a reaction it is mild and unconcerning.  That said, some people do experience side effects that are a nuisance, and hopefully this bioidentical estrogen side effects and solutions post might be helpful.  Of course the bottom line is that you need to work closely with your bioidentical hormones doctor to decide whether you should change or at least alter your formula, change the method of administration, change the dose or frequency, or make other alterations.  We welcome your own comments, particularly if you and your doctor worked together on any bioidentical estrogen side effects and solutions.

Feb 162015
 

The choice between bioidentical progesterone pills vs. cream is sometimes easy.  For some issues cream is going to be the top choice, while for others the pills will be the answer.  However, there are some times when the difference between bioidentical progesterone pills vs. cream is not as clear.  We should mention that while this can be an important decision in some cases, in others it may not matter too much because both options will either work or not work, and the important thing is to assess whether BHRT is the best method for symptom reduction in the first place.  This post goes over the advantages of each type of administration.

Bioidentical Progesterone Pills vs. Cream: The Case for Pills

Some doctors believe that pills allow for a better control of the specific dose of the hormone, and these doctors are more likely to use that form.  That said, others would argue that because ingested progesterone has to be broken down by the liver that that method can actually be less accurate.  Different people may metabolize the chemical differently, and these differences may actually change day-to-day.  So the answer when it comes to when to use pills may actually not be related to metabolism at all, and instead may have to do with which symptoms respond well to chemicals that are processed in the liver.  For example, those who are suffering from insomnia may do better with pills the chemical allopregnanolone is created by the liver during progesterone metabolism, and this chemical promotes relaxation and sleep.

While many people do not experience any side effects from either method of administration of bioidentical progesterone, you should ask your doctor whether pills may lead to more of the internal issues that are caused by the metabolism of the pills.  (Other side effects such as bloating, cramping, headaches, etc. that occur during BHRT will likely not be dependent on method of administration, but this is still worth a conversation.)

Bioidentical Progesterone Cream vs. Pills: The Case for Creams

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is often done through transdermal delivery, and progesterone is one of the bioidentical hormones that is often delivered this way. This type of delivery system is more direct that pills and therefore many doctors feel that this helps control the dose and the speed at which it works.  Of course this method of administration is also the most comfortable for many people, especially those who do not like to take pills.

As far as side effects, again the method of administration may not matter too much, but if you are prone to any, have had them in the past, or are concerned about some, it is worth a conversation.  Cream administration may lead to some skin-related side effects, but this is not common.

Conclusions

The debate between bioidentical progesterone cream vs. pills in some cases may not matter as much as you might think.  The fact is that both methods may work equally well in some cases, and in others the difference is not enough to get concerned about.  It may be that your doctor has had success or otherwise has a preference for one method or the other, and it makes sense for you to respect that preference.  All of that said, if you’ve read this post and it makes you lean in one direction of the other for your own treatment you should mention it to your bioidentical doctor.

Bioidentical progesterone can be very effective in treating certain symptoms that come on as we age and we have less of this hormone naturally, and it can also be helpful in conjunction with other hormone treatments in order to keep everything in balance.  Given how versatile this BHRT approach can be you may find yourself with choices as far as administration, and if your doctor gives you the choice or you have a choice of doctors who have different preferences you may want to discuss the differences between bioidentical progesterone creams vs. pills.

Feb 122015
 

Bioidentical hormones can be a great alternative for synthetic hormone replacement and can relieve symptoms related to hormone imbalances and low levels of certain hormones.  These issues may be the result of changes that occur when we age, or may be caused by other factors even earlier.  One way or another hormone issues can often be corrected and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a way to do this with natural ingredients that you may have even heard of.  But who needs bioidentical hormones?  And how can you tell whether you will benefit from them?

First we should say that the only real way to know if BHRT is for you is to start with a comprehensive assessment of your hormone levels, and for most hormones this is best centered around a blood test.  Some hormones, like cortisol, can be testing through a saliva test, but most require more intensive testing to be sure that your results are not either a point in time that may fluctuate, or inaccurate because of the testing method. One way or another you should have hormone testing where a laboratory tests different levels of certain chemicals in an attempt to see whether you might benefit from bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

Al of that said, you were probably experiencing certain signs and symptoms before deciding to go in for this testing, and so a second answer to the question of who should get bioidentical hormones involves those symptoms.  If you are a woman who is feeling fatigue or anxiety, depression or mood swings, hair loss, unexplained weight gain, low energy levels, insomnia, mood swings, or night sweats you might want to see whether natural hormone replacement might help.  If you are a man and you are experiencing loss of muscle tone, low energy levels, decreased libido, mood swings or depression, or fatigue, the same may be true.

Feb 052015
 

There are many reasons why you might want to get bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and many of these reasons are unique to you – based on specific signs and symptoms you have related to hormone imbalances and levels.  So your own list of the advantages of BHRT may differ from any we could publish.  That said, we did want to present a top 10 listing of how bioidentical hormone therapy can be beneficial to you, as follows:

10. Bioidentical hormones are made from natural ingredients that in many cases you have heard of and can easily pronounce.  While this does not in itself separate this approach from synthetics, many people do like the idea that they are trying to address a natural process with natural ingredients

9. Since the filed of BHRT has now been around awhile there are more and more practitioners that have significant experience.  In other words, you can choose among many experienced practitioners instead of having to go with the one or two that are around.

8. Bioidentical hormones them,selves have also been perfected over the years so it’s not just that your bioidentical doctor will be experienced, but so will the company creating the formulas you will be using.  This can be as important as the doctor’s experience.

7. Some bioidentical hormones have met the quality standards to be FDA approved, which can add to your confidence about how well they might work and the care that went into their formulation.  And more may be approved as time goes on.

6. Men have become more willing to look to natural hormone replacement for their own issues such as low T.  While bioidenticals are still something that women are more likely to look in to, more and more men are turning to them as well for their own needs.

5. There may be several choices for your bioidentical hormone replacement therapy formula.  Instead of having to go with one particular mixture, you may be able to choose among several that each have specific advantages.  This is different from custom compounding where the formula is completely unique.

4. Custom compounding of your bioidentical hormones can help you get the very specific formula that might work well for you.  Custom compounding is not for everyone, but if you are someone for whom this process will help it can be very helpful to get the perfect formula for your needs.

3. You can augment the effects of BHRT through changes in your diet, supplementation with nutrient, exercise programs, and relaxation methods.  All of these pursuits are healthy in themselves and can also help you improve your hormone balances in many cases.

2. As with any relatively new medical approach the degree of research behind bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is growing.  So you may now be able to count on more empirical evidence not only for the whole field of BHRT, but for your particular formula.

1. Bioidentical therapy does not require any down time so you can go about your normal routine while having BHRT.  You may or mat not want to tell people who you are having natural hormone replacement therapy, but you will not have to in order to explain why you are missing things – because you won’t have to miss work for example.

This top bioidentical hormones top 10 listing may not even be complete – there may be more advantages of bioidentical hormones than we’ve listed here, and your own benefits of BHRT may include some or many of these plus more.  You still need to check with a doctor and have your hormone levels carefully assessed to be sure that this approach will work for you.  Please feel free to let us know, from your experience, if there are other things we should include in our bioidentical hormones top 10.

 

Jan 252015
 

Many ask “How long does it take for bioidentical hormones to work?” and as good a question as this is, it is often not easily answered.  Part of the problem in providing an accurate answer is that people and their hormones are truly like snowflakes – no two situations are the same from the perspective of body chemistry, medical history, ingredients used in BHRT, and the way they react to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.  All of that said, we can give a few general and hopefully helpful responses that begin to answer the question “How long does it take for bioidentical hormones to work?”:

  • The most general answer to the question is that many people begin to feel positive effects of bioidentical hormones within 2-3 months of starting a comprehensive program to address hormone imbalances.  Some people are lucky enough to feel these positive changes more quickly.  It can be helpful to keep a journal that not only covers those symptoms that you know are related to hormone levels such as sleeping, mood, and appetite, but also of some general information about your well-being and energy levels. Also, you should listen to the feedback of others in your life – sometimes we do not notice subtle improvements but other do.
  • Many people find that improvements may come in one or two areas before others.  So while you may not feel the complete positive effect of bioidenticals for 3-4 months, perhaps your sleep or your energy level improves more quickly.  This sort of answers a related question: How long does it take for bioidentical hormones to work, at least a little.
  • Sometimes there is a relationship between how long it takes bioidentical hormones to work and how long it took for you to have the imbalance happen in the first place.  If your hormonal changes have been happening for many years, it may take longer to fix them, as opposed to catching things early.

The related question here is which symptoms may tend to be alleviated more quickly than others by BHRT.  And again it is hard to answer that question broadly because there are so many unique features in hormone imbalances.  But it has been reported that some symptoms like sleep and energy levels may respond more quickly.  Perhaps this is because these are symptoms that can improve gradually – even if the total effect is not noted for a few months, things may get slightly better as time goes on, meaning that gradual relief is noticeable.  Again, it may be that the time until you get relief from certain symptoms with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is related to how mild they are to begin with, and how long you have had them.

The bottom line when it comes to the question “how long does it take for bioidentical hormones to work” is that you need to communicate openly with your doctor and get her or his feedback along the way.  She or he should be able to tell you if you are on track, or if things are going too slowly and changes should be made.  You should get a prediction from your doctor up front that is based not only on your symptoms and history, but also on his or her experience with people presenting similarly to you.  And you should get an idea of how your doctor wants you to track things so that you can report your progress in a scientific way.

While everyone is different and BHRT can take some time, you should be able to have a system so that you can get a personalized idea of your unique answer to the question “How long does it take bioidentical hormones to work?”

Jan 202015
 

Bioidentical hormones reviews are often sought out but not easy to find.  We cannot possibly provide all the information you would need about all of the potential types of formulas and all of the BHRT doctors who might be practicing in your area.  Many people look for bioidentical hormones reviews for these reasons, and like us, any website or other source trying to provide them faces certain challenges, most prominently the fact that there are so many possibilities and choices.  This does not mean that you cannot get at least some information and advice.  Here are some ways to get the information you need – the bioidentical hormones reviews you are looking for:

1. You may be able to find some unbiased forums where members are not affiliates and other wise have no stake in your choice.  You need to vet both the website and the members to be sure that the advice that is given is not biased.  First make sure the site is not an affiliate of any practice and does not seem to favor one formula or another.  Then make sure that the members you look to for bioidentical hormones reviews do not have paid affiliate links in their posts or their signature, and that they generally seem reputable and helpful.

2. Local publications may sometimes have “best of” issues where they list the best bioidentical hormones doctors and clinics.  Just make sure that the publication shares its formula for producing those results – was it a vote of other professionals in the field, a reader survey, or certain objective measures?  You may even want to see which providers not only were listed at the top this year but have been highly ranked year after year.  These kind of “best of” publications can be quite helpful if the methods by which they reached their results are solid.

3. The topic of natural hormone replacement may be hard to bring up and you may not want to bring it up too often in casual conversation.  However, the more you do talk about it the more likely you will be to get some work-of-mouth bioidentical hormones reviews.  These can be the best form of information because they are likely local and timely, and especially when they come from those you can trust have done their own homework and can be tough graders, this can be a helpful step.

4. Finally, while not technically “reviews”, you may be able to compare different objective statistics when deciding between different providers.  You can ask whether they do patient feedback questionnaires, and if they do you can compare the results between one practitioner and the other.  You can also ask whether they have to report data to anyone, for example an accrediting body or insurance companies.  You may be able to ask for that data.

We would be remiss if we did not list a few methods of getting bioidentical hormones reviews that we would not recommend.  For example, watch for affiliate websites or other sites where people seem to be reviewing BHRT providers but there is a click through on the site to the provider.  This is especially true if only one provider is reviewed or all of the reviews are positive.  This may be a site that is getting paid for these clicks and therefore may have incentive to make them all positive.  Also, as we mentioned above be careful about online reviews, such as those at forums, where the person does not seem to be giving well-rounded advice and information and instead seems to focus on promoting one particular practice.  If there is a click-through that again may be the sign of a paid affiliate.

Since we are an independent website and also because there are just too many good BHRT practices for us to possible review them all, we hope that you find this information helpful in doing your own bioidentical hormones reviews.

Jan 022015
 

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a powerful solution for those who have hormonal imbalances caused either by age or medical conditions.  They are not for everyone however, and therefore that are many questions about this form of treatment that are commonly asked.  While this post should not take the place of asking those questions of your provider so that you get unique answers based on your own condition, we do hope that these answers give you a start and make you a more informed consumer.  In other words, if you are considering bioidentical hormone replacement therapy there are a lot of questions you should ask your prospective BHRT doctor.  That said, here are some of the more common questions people often ask, with typical answers:

When exactly should I start Bioidentical Hormone therapy?
Starting bioidentical hormone replacement therapy will depend on your symptoms.  Since some natural hormones begin to decline as soon as your mid-20s, you may experience some symptoms by the time you are in your mid-30s or so.  Then again, many people do not experience symptoms until their 50s.  Again, you should judge when to start by your symptoms, and then have blood tests to determine if your symptoms are in fact caused by a hormone imbalance.  (And ideally you might have gone in earlier, like in your early 30s, to get baseline reading of your levels.)
How long does it take Bioidentical Hormones to work?
You will need to ask this question in relation to the exact formula and ingredients you are going to take, but a general guide is that it should take around 3-6 months for you BHRT to produce noticeable changes.  Some people feel better sooner, and for some it takes longer.  Your practitioner may be able to predict how long it will take given your presenting issue and the formula she or he will be using to correct it.
How long will I need to take Bioidentical Hormones?
Some people are able to stop taking bioidentical; hormones after they achieve some degree of balance, while others need to keep taking them on an ongoing basis.  Many people are able to make their use of BHRT at least intermittent.  Basically the answer to this question depends on the cause of your imbalance and whether this particular cause can be fully addressed and then stability is achieved without further intervention.

Are birth control pills considered hormone therapy?

While birth control pills are a type of hormone therapy they are different from Bioidentical Hormone replacement therapy in two ways.  First these types of medication are synthetic, and therefore different from natural bioidenticals.  Second, these pills are taken for a purpose other than correcting an imbalance.

Is there anything I should do in conjunction with BHRT?

We suggest pursuing a routine that includes nutritional changes, exercise, and stress reduction.  These adjunctive areas may also help reduce the same symptoms that your hormone treatment is addressing.  You may also be given supplements that will also augment your BHRT.

What is the best way to start?

You may want to start with a consultation with your primary care physician who has no stake in whether you decide to pursue bioidentical hormones.  While she or he may not specifically recommend this natural approach, you can at least get a firm diagnosis related to hormone issues.  After that you should see a qualified and experienced BHRT provider, ideally one who has a reputation of not pushing this therapy for everyone.

How do I choose a Bioidentical Hormones doctor?

The best way to choose is by a combination approach that may include looking at online reviews, asking your PCP, finding published reviews by local magazines and publications, asking a lot of questions of those providers you do call, and if possible finding others who have had this treatment and seeing what they thought of their provider.

These are some of the more common questions people ask.  We will add to this list of Bioidentical Hormones FAQ as needed.

Dec 292014
 

Bioidentical hormones alone may help you manage symptoms related to hormone imbalances or low levels.  You may be able to merely take the formula you are given by your bioidentical hormone doctor and find that you get relief.  That said, you may be better off pursuing a comprehensive approach to wellness that includes a variety of methods to achieving symptom relief and balance, and there are many practices out there that provide just that.  In this post we go over the different ways you can achieve a well-rounded and comprehensive approach to hormone therapy, and we suggest that you at least look into a BHRT provider who either directly provides these services or works closely with someone who does.

Of course the most important factor when you are choosing a bioidentical hormone replacement therapy practitioner is their experience and success providing this service to people, and that of course is the first thing you should look in to and research.  Assuming that you have done that and narrowed things down, here are the adjunctive services you might also want to look for:

  • Testing available by various means, including saliva, urine and blood analyses.  Ask questions about when they use each one and why.  There are times where one approach may be preferred over the other, and you want your practitioner to use all three when optimal.
  • Highest quality compounding pharmacy – you want to be sure that the practice has thoroughly researched the pharmacy or pharmacies they use and that they hold them to very high standards when it comes to safety and quality.
  • Supplements may be suggested that can help increase the effectiveness of the BHRT, and you want to make sure they know where you can get, or they directly sell, these supplements.
  • Stress reduction assistance and treatment can help you decrease the many symptoms that can be caused by stress.  Some of the same symptoms of hormone imbalance can be felt when you have too much stress, so this in combination with BHRT can work well.
  • Fitness programs designed to improve your fitness and lose weight can make you feel better and more confident, and they may help you target the same symptoms that you are looking to hormone replacement to target.
  • Nutrition programs work well with all of the above.  While you are using an approach that involves natural and healthy ingredients, why not also pursue a natural and healthy diet as well?

You may be someone for whom bioidentical hormone replacement therapy takes care of all of your symptoms and is therefore the only approach you need.  However, for most people a combination og bioidentical hormones and other healthy activities speeds the process and makes you feel better in other ways.  In fact, it may be that some of your symptoms that you are treating with BHRT are also related to a lack of exercise, a nutrition imbalance, or stress, and only with some of the above to augment your bioidenticals will you feel back to your best.  Many good BHRT practitioners will be able to either prescribe some of the above activities and changes, or at least refer you to someone who can work with you on them.

We suggest a comprehensive approach that not only involves bioidentical hormones but also some of the health and wellness activities listed above.  This will give you the best chance at symptom reduction and overall well-being changes.  Best of luck no matter what approach you choose, and certainly let us know if you do try a more comprehensive approach – how did it work for you and what did it mean for your bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?

Dec 192014
 

Bioidentical hormones can be quite effective in helping you achieve hormonal balance when you are experiencing symptoms due to hormone reduction due to age, injury, or genetics.  Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has come a long way in recent years, and as doctors become better at this craft, formulas get more effective, and the science behind this approach develops we see more effective therapies.  That said, there are other choices you can make and activities you can pursue to make your BHRT even more likely to succeed, and can add to the potential of this type of treatment.  This post is dedicated to those adjunctive steps.

We start with fitness programs which can help augment the power of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.  Staying fit and doing both cardio and muscle toning work can be an effective way to balance hormone levels or at least help ensure that your bioidentical hormones can work most effectively.  You don’t have to overdo it, but rather you need to do enough to stay fit and keep your weight down.  Of course the non-hormone-related benefits of exercise will be beneficial as well and help you feel better.  The other less direct way that staying fit can help is that it will put you at a healthy weight and keep you there so that your doctor can use a specific and steady formula for you.

Nutrition planning can be quite important as an adjunct to your bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and your BHRT doctor may send you to a nutritionist to work out a diet that will compliment things.  She or he may also give you nutritional supplements as well.  This diet planning works well in conjunction with the fitness step listed above for an overall approach.  Make sure that your nutritionist and your bioidentical doctor are working together, just in case there are ingredients that may conflict with each other.

Stress reduction will also help ensure that your bioidentical hormones work well, and may particularly ensure that stress does not reduce their effect or cause symptoms to worsen.  You may learn general stress reduction techniques, or specific ways to reduce your unique patters and triggers of stress.  Stress can make the effects of imbalances a little worse, and of course can have other effects on your health, so this is another step that will have positive general benefits as well.

These are three of the major steps you can take to augment your BHRT and help get symptom relief.  These are also steps you can take in between bioidentical hormone replacement therapy treatments, ways you can prolong the effects of the treatment and maintain things a bit.  You may need to return but perhaps not as quickly, and maybe when you do you will need fewer bioidentical hormones.  And even if this does not end up being the case you will have at the very least started programs that provide general health benefits that make you feel better along the way.

Some symptoms may be from hormonal imbalances in combination with other factors, and it may be that the fitness programs, nutrition planning, and stress reduction are particularly good at addressing those factors that cause the same effects but are actually separate from hormone changes, or it may be that they are actually addressing the imbalances themselves.  Either way, these are excellent choices for your overall health and may provide some relief.  We suggest that you try everything in your quest to address your hormone imbalances and these steps are worthwhile in that pursuit.  Bioidentical hormones can do a lot but taking additional steps may help ensure that you get the effect you want from your BHRT.