Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
Being an informed patient can cut the anxiety of the unknown
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is actually quite simple and can be relatively easy. If you’ve done your research and consulted your primary care physician and decided that bioidentical hormone replacement is for you, you are no doubt curious as far as what comes next. We provide this section of our website to help you understand the process of BHRT from beginning to end. An informed patient knows what to expect, and this in turn can quell any anxiety and make everything more predictable.
Obviously your BHRT doctor needs to know what you need – what specific hormones will help balance things out and replace what seems too low. There are many facets to this assessment, and it may be quite simple or more complicated depending on your needs. As you will see on that page there are a series of tests that can be done to determine what course would be best for you, and of course things can be changed along the way. Your practitioner will also obviously need to know your symptoms and history, as well as any medical issues you’ve had, or run in your family.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a thoughtful and efficient approach and the treatments are geared to your specific needs and what you respond best to. This section will show you how your BHRT practitioner ensures that all of this goes smoothly, quickly, and safely.
Finally, you need to know when you might need to return for a tune-up and how to know whether your Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy worked. Having realistic expectation about the effects, the duration of effects, and how quickly you should notice a difference is quite important. We want you to be an educated consumer so that you can decide some of this on your own, or at least go to your practitioner with the right questions and concerns along the way. The process of BHRT is simple and combines art and science. An experienced practitioner will know exactly what you need and will also know when to change course. If you are an educated consumer your doctor will appreciate that, so we hope the information in this section proves useful.
As you can see, we offer this section about the bioidentical treatment process for three interwoven reasons:
1. So that your anxiety and stress level will be lower since you will know what to expect and when to ask questions
2. So that you are aware of the decision-making your practitioner is going through so perhaps you can be of greater help to her or him
3. To help you know when the treatments are working, when they are not, and when you need a change or boost.
Monitoring Improvement During Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
If your assessment concludes that you do in fact need Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, your practitioner will prepare the right natural hormone mix for you. If you are getting traditional bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, he or she will choose from already prepared mixes of natural ingredients and administration will begin. If you have chosen the custom compounding route, then your bioidenticals will be made very specifically based on your needs. The next step will be quite important, and that is making sure that the natural hormone therapy is actually working. Your practitioner may have you keep a journal, or otherwise keep track of your symptoms.
Let’s review the types of symptoms that may have given you reason to pursue this treatment in the first place:
– Fatigue and low energy may have come on relatively quickly or gradually, but these symptoms are common in people who have hormonal issues that arise over time
– Depression may even be present, especially the type of depression that involves a low mood and lack of energy (vs. what we call a more agitated or anxious depression)
– Specific physical symptoms like hair loss that is not related to genetic predisposition, or increased weight may have occurred.
– Insomnia and night sweats may have come on, or daytime hot flashes may be present and increasing.
There are many other signs of hormonal imbalances that might respond to Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, but these are the core and most common conditions. They often occur during a larger physical change like menopause, but not always. And of course you should absolutely check with your regular medical provider if any of these symptoms comes on suddenly, worsens quickly, or causes serious impairment in your daily functioning.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Aftercare
Let’s assume that your bioidentical hormone replacement therapy was a huge success, and if you carefully approached BHRT with a good doctor who used high quality ingredients and accurately assessed your issues, that could certainly be the case. Your symptoms have either subsided or dramatically improved, and perhaps you even saw some side benefits as well. For monetary reasons, and also because no one likes to undergo medical procedures for any longer than necessary, you want to know if you can decrease or stop the therapy for now. The answer is simple, and may be quite welcome.
BHRT doctors often take one of two approaches when it come to what to do when symptoms subside after bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Some will put you on a maintenance path, administering them at longer intervals but just enough to maintain improvements. For some people this is quite necessary, especially when the hormone imbalance is expected to persist without treatment.
For some people, however, with milder initial symptoms and certain conditions that are not expected to persist, they may be able to take a break from bioidenticals and see how things go. Your doctor will give you an idea of what to look for as far as any backslide in your condition, and you should carefully assess things as time goes on. For those who are doing some of their BHRT at home, with pills, sublingual tabs, and other self-administration techniques, the doctor may give you your next treatment so you can get a jump-start even before you return to the office as necessary.
It will be important, therefore for you to know first whether your initial condition lends itself to some sort of ongoing maintenance, and if not, exactly what to look for if you stop the bioidentical hormone replacement therapy altogether as far as symptoms of returning problems.
Whether you are on a maintenance dose of bioidenticals, of are off them completely, here are the kind of thing to watch for as potential backslides that would warrant BHRT resuming:
1. Of course a return to the previous symptoms would be a major reason why you’d have to wonder whether you need more frequent treatment or a return to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. But how severe do the symptoms need to get before you return? Basically if you see them return even mildly it is time for a recheck by the doctor before they intensify. Perhaps a small dose or short course will be all you need.
2. New symptoms of the same issue would another reason. Let’s say you are man who had bioidentical hormone replacement for low testosterone and your main symptoms back then were fatigue and low energy. Now you are having decreased intimate drive and some depression. While not the same symptoms, they could have the same cause, and visiting the BHRT doctor is a good idea.
3. New symptoms that may not be related to the old cause might point you in the direction of a return visit as well. You know that bioidenticals work since they cleared your other problem. Why not try them again on any new issue that arises and is related to hormones? (And sometimes its hard to rule out that they could be a recurrence of the old problem anyway!)
Keeping a close eye on your symptoms and returning to the doctor at the first sign of a backslide is vitally important. And don;t forget that the doctor will not just start the therapy immediately but rather will only do so after careful consultation and conversation with you.
Please check back often because the emerging field of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is still growing and changing and our goal is to have the latest information about the process and present it in an unbiased manner. Our goal is to help you determine whether BHRT is for you, and how Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy will affect you.