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.

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.

Dec 162014
 

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can be a very effective way to re-balance hormone levels and give certain hormones a boost.  However, the doctor needs to be sure that you will respond to BHRT, and more importantly that it is actually an imbalance that is causing you problems in the first place.  People may want to rush in and start their therapy with bioidentical hormones right away, but there are very important steps that must happen first, and in this post we cover one of the more important steps in the process, the hormone level assessment.

The first step that any good doctor will perform in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is measuring hormone levels.  It may seem like this would be an easy process, and that quite quickly an assessment could reveal exactly which bioidentical hormones would help, but it is actually quite complex in some cases to decide which natural hormones would be helpful.  Let’s take the issues involved in measuring the levels of one of the more frequent targets of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, progesterone.  We use this particular hormone as an example, but testing for others is quite similar

Progesterone is a central hormone with many direct functions, and it also helps create an effective balance of estrogen and testosterone.  A precursor to the “stress hormone” cortisol, progesterone can be depleted if you are experiencing a lot of stress in your life.  There can also be declines for other reasons as well.  Progesterone can be measured prior to BHRT through blood levels both at the beginning of treatment and during, although some have noted that serum (blood) progesterone levels are not accurate when a person is using a bioidentical cream.  Saliva testing for Progesterone levels is not as accurate because it only measures the amount of this natural hormone that is freely available at the point in time when the test is given.  This can be helpful during treatment as a quick and easy test of how things are going, but may not be accurate enough for the initial assessment.

One drawback to saliva testing is that it may take longer for levels to come down if you have levels that are too high after bioidentical hormones are used. You need to be sure to tell your doctor about any over the counter preparations you have taken, or any relatively recent bioidentical hormone replacement therapy you have had if she or he is doing a saliva test – some of your level measured in this way may be artificially high because the progesterone that was boosted remains available in the saliva.

The same type of testing can be used for a variety of hormones, and your bioidentical hormones doctor will choose which hormone level(s) to test based on your symptoms, history, and other reports.  She or he can also do a panel that involves several of the potential targets for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to compare and contrast.  You will also have hormone level testing throughout the course of your treatment so you know how things are progressing.  And then after your BHRT is finished you will also want to have hormone testing if your symptoms return, or just at certain intervals to ensure that you maintain the positive effects.

It may be tempting to make conclusions based solely on symptoms, family history, and your own gut feeling, but hormone level assessment can truly ensure that your bioidentical hormones doctor gets your formulas jus right from the start.  This is a valuable step in the process and one that cannot be overlooked.  It also provides a baseline so that you can know exactly how much you’ve progressed during the course of your bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

 

Dec 142014
 

In the world of bioidentical hormones, a common question that is asked is what the difference is between estrogen and estradiol.  Some believe that estradiol is just the ingredient used in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and is not otherwise naturally produced.  Others think these are just two names for the same natural hormone.  But in reality, estradiol is a natural hormone that is one of the three major components of estrogen, and since it is the one that often fluctuates the most and shows the greatest signs of reduction as women age, it is also the one most frequently mentioned in BHRT assessments and treatments.

If we back up a second we find that there are several different hormones that are all different estrogens.  Bioidentical hormones may be structured to address any of these.  Here are three:

  • Estradiol is the most common type of estrogen that is assessed as part of a bioidentical hormone replacement assessment.  This hormone fluctuates during the entire menstrual cycle. During and after menopause, this hormone is lower in almost all women, and for many it can be too low requiring or at least suggesting BHRT.
  • Estriol is a type of estrogen that is mostly associated with pregnancy.  It is produced by the placenta and increases as pregnancy goes on.  This type of estrogen is not usually address with therapy, including bioidentical hormone replacement.
  • Estrone is a nother commonly measured type of estrogen and it does get lower in most women who have gone through menopause because it too (like estradiol) can provide a good picture of the overall estrogen levels.

Estrogens in general are responsible for female reproductive function and health.  Most estrogens are produced in the ovaries in premenopausal women, and also in the placenta for those who are pregnant.  After menopause, small some estrone is made outside the ovaries, and this becomes the major source of estrogen.  For bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, however, estradiol is the hormone most often measured and addressed.

Dec 072014
 

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is most commonly used to replace estrogen in women who have lost this hormone during the natural aging process.  But men can definitely benefit from BHRT and with the problems of low T getting more notice lately it would not be surprising to see more and more men opt for bioidentical hormones.  The appeal of using natural ingredients to address issues with low T or any other hormones imbalance in men would be the same as it is for women.  In this post I want to go over what men, in particular, should look for when looking to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, including:

  • First you want to find a clinic or doctor that is trained and specializes in Bioidentical Hormones for Men.  This means that they can describe for you how they went above and beyond in their training and other preparation for treating men with your issue.  Just stepping into this specialty is not enough – there should be evidence of a real effort to specialize.
  • Hormone Level Assessment such as Blood, Saliva and Urine testing should be specifically tailored to understanding the correct levels for men and truly understanding the signs of imbalance.  The doctor or practitioner who you are looking for to provide your treatment should be fluent in knowing how to read things for a man’s needs.
  • The practitioner who is going to deliver bioidentical hormones for men should be able to interpret lab results, symptoms, your medical history and your family medical history in a very gender specific way, knowing exactly what each sign and symptom means for the BHRT approach.
  • Finally, the doctor or other practitioner who is going to lead the use of bioidentical hormones for men must be able to tell you what to expect along the way – how you will know if things are working and when to change ingredients or approaches.

Aside from all of this, the doctor should know what adjunctive steps you can take, such as exercise, nutrition and other steps to help with the core problem and to assist the BHRT in working optimally.  For example:

1. A bioidentical hormones doctor should be able to think outside the BHRT box and tell your what supplements and perhaps even a diet will help your treatment go further, or can produce some changes beyond the BHRT course.  A well-rounded bioidentical hormones doctor, and perhaps especially one that will focus on treating a man, should know what steps you can take as far as nutrition and diet and not just be focused on the actual bioidentical hormones.

2. In a related way, your bioidentical hormones for men practitioner should be able to give you advice about exercise and hormone levels – everything from what exercise will help to how often to do it and at what duration.  To be fair, the doctor may not know too much in this area, so at least he or she should at least be able to refer you to someone who does know.

3. The other areas where he or she should be able to give you advice are sleep and relaxation.  You should be able to get advice about your normal sleep pattern – how long you sleep and from what time to what time, and also your pattern of relaxation – when do you take breaks to relax, especially if your life is hectic or your job stressful.  These are factors that can affect your hormone levels, so the doctor should be able to help directly or at least know someone to refer you to.

If you are a man or thinking or someone you are close to and looking into BHRT, we hope you find this information and that on our Bioidentical Hormones for Men page helpful!

 

Nov 222014
 

Could bioidentical hormone replacement therapy be the perfect gift for the holidays?  That is quite possible and we want to introduce this possibility here.

Bioidentical hormones have been beneficial for many people for a variety of reasons, and as they have gained FDA approval they have also gained more acceptance.  There is an increase in bioidentical doctors with the experience you can trust, and more compounding pharmacies that have been doing this work for a long time.  So if you have a friend of relative who may be suffering with a hormone deficiency, why not consider BHRT as a potential holiday present?   Perhaps they have already tried synthetics and did not find success, or maybe they have recently had hormone testing and told you the results.  One way or another it could be a thoughtful gift.

Now of course there could be certain drawback to giving bioidentical hormone replacement therapy as a gift during the holidays.  The first, of course, is the fact that this is a hugely practical holiday gift and certainly not romantic or cute.  You’d really have to know that the person who would receive the gift of bioidentical hormones would appreciate it.  Maybe they told you that their insurance would not cover their BHRT, or that there would be a high deductible or co-insurance.  Maybe they said that they did not want to pay, or that the reason they are looking into BHRT was one that would not be covered.  One way or another, if you knew that this was an expense that they could not afford, that they do not mind practical gifts, and that it would bring them relief from symptoms, you might choose this course.

So how would you go about giving bioidentical hormones as a gift?  That depends on what you know about the person’s plans.  So, for example:

  • If they’ve already identified a bioidentical hormones doctor, you could pre-pay some amount, such as the deductible or co-insurance.  This way they can get BHRT without worrying about the out-of-pocket cost.  Between your gift and what insurance will pay for they will be all set.
  • You could more generally give a credit card gift card and say what you were thinking they could use it for.  Some gift cards are even customizable as far as what they look like.  This way if your gift falls flat and they’d rather have the money for something else they would have that flexibility.
  • You could pay for some specific aspect of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, such as the initial hormone testing.  This might be a good choice if insurance will not pay at all for BHRT or will not pay for some aspect.
  • Finally, you could pay for something peripheral to their bioidentical hormones, such as a nice meal for when they are feeling better, or new clothing for when they feel more like going out.  This way you are supporting them without actually paying for the treatment.

Getting someone bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for the holidays is tricky, and may come across anywhere from thoughtful to intrusive.  You really need to know the person well, and know what kinds of presents they want before making this choice.  That said, for some people this may be a way to help them either afford BHRT or know that people they are close to support their treatment.  Some people do prefer more practical gifts, and this is one way to give something that will make them feel better.  Perhaps if you do not go so far as to buy the gift of natural hormone replacement you might at least be sure that during the holiday season when you spend time together you show your support and hear how your friend or relative is doing if they are pursuing this type of treatment or are considering bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

 

 

Nov 162014
 

Many people turn to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy because they want to be able to fully understand what ingredients are being used, and they like the assurance that what is being used to replace hormones that are too low is as natural as the original hormones were.  One door that the BHRT path opens is to formulas that are uniquely created for each person – as opposed to synthetics that are mass-produced in pre-made formulas, bioidentical hormones can be custom compounded.  THis may seem like an obvious positive, but things are a little more complicated than that.

Bioidentical hormones that are custom compounded present a unique quandary for those interested in BHRT.  On the one hand, it makes complete sense that if your bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is using ingredients that are not only picked very uniquely for you and your symptoms, and then combined in doses that seem to be a good fit, you may respond even better to this course of treatment.  However, one would think that the research would back this fully, and would be very clear.  Unfortunately this is not the case, but that is not at all surprising: Research into custom compounded natural hormones is merely looking at the whole universe of custom compounding and everyone who has tried it without being able to look at the specific formulas that people were on because by definition they are all different.  In other words, any study is not looking at your custom compounded BHRT ingredients,  but rather a compilation of everyone’s.  Yours may be quite effective, even if in general the world of custom compounding brings mixed results.

So let’s say that your bioidentical hormone doctor wants to prescribe your natural hormones in a combination of doses that she or he thinks are perfect for you, or maybe he or she wants to take a formula that is usually taken by mouth and make it into a gel.  Even if the same ingredients that are in FDA approved bioidentical hormones are to be used, they will perhaps be used in different quantities or different forms so the approval does not hold up.  You will not be able to find a study that says that that formula definitely works, or that method of delivery is optimal.

All of this does not mean that you should not pursue custom compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, but rather that you should be careful in your choice of a BHRT doctor and compounding pharmacy.  You should ask questions about why custom compounding is the option that is being chosen, and how much more effective this choice may be vs. the more traditional approach.  You might also want to ask whether the formula you will be on closely resembles a formula that your bioidentical hormones doctor has used before, and what the science is behind the choices as far as ingredients.  In short, when considering custom compounding three additional steps are warranted:

1. Make sure that your doctor generally has a lot of experience with this approach, and more specifically has treated people like you with your symptoms and the likely custom compounding formula that will be used.

2. Make sure that the doctor is using a trusted and well-established pharmacy that will be doing the compounding.  Ask questions about that pharmacy such as how long they’ve been in business and why the doctor chooses to use them.

3. Be even more involved during treatment, letting your doctor know how you are doing so that changes can be made as necessary – this not only takes advantage of the flexibility of custom compounding, but also makes sure that the approach works.

Custom compounding of bioidentical hormones opens up doors of possibility, but also must be approached with care and caution.