Bioidentical Hormone Doctors: How to Choose
There are many bioidentical hormone doctors to choose from, and after the initial questions about how long they have been practicing and their specialties, there still may be a lot of decisions to be made. So how to you choose among all of these bioidentical hormone replacement therapy doctors for the one that is the right fit for you? We want to provide that advice but also to start with the fact that often the best advice about potential bioidentical hormone doctors comes from word of mouth and reputation. Aside from that there are other steps you can take to choose, and we want to help. Please understand that we are a fully independent website and in order to stay completely unbiased we will not recommend any specific doctor or practice.
Factors in Choosing Bioidentical Hormone Doctors
Let’s start with where you want to end up as far as the bioidentical hormone replacement practitioner that is best for you. First, you want someone who has experience, and specifically experience with the type of treatment you need. You also want someone with experience with people your age and gender. So the first question you should ask when you are interviewing potential bioidentical hormone doctors is about their specific experience with people with your presentation. Know how many people they’ve treated, and then it may take a few phone calls to be able to compare and contrast.
Once you’ve narrowed the field to bioidentical hormone doctors who seem to have experience with people like you, you then want to know their success rate. Now of course this is quite tricky since most bioidentical hormone replacement doctors will report a high success rate, so you may want to ask if they’ve ever done a customer satisfaction survey. You might also want to see if their practice is covered by any independent review websites on-line. If you can ask a specific question you may be able to get a more concrete answer, such as whether they asked any specific symptom related questions before and after the treatment, and how often the answers were affirmative.
Of course choosing a practitioner can also be a gut level choice, and we do not want to underestimate that factor. The process of BHRT can be long, since even if the practitioner gets things right pretty quickly there is still a chance that you might need additional treatment at some point even if just a booster. Choosing a practitioner who is smart and experienced is important, but you also need to work with someone you feel is approachable, truly hears you, and takes time to understand your symptoms. These qualities may be a little harder to measure, but they are equally important.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Doctors: Your Choices
With all the advances in social media and communication technology such as websites where you can provide feedback, there is still one method of gathering information and advice about potential medical practitioners, bioidentical or otherwise, and that is word of mouth. It is impossible to know whether ratings sites have been edited or modified or even contributed to by the practitioners themselves, and relying on the comments of people you don’t know is suspect anyway. Reputation remains king.
So what if you are the first among you friends and relatives to consider bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. You can first turn to your PCP or other medical specialists you’ve seen, as well as friends of your family who are in the medical field to see if they have names of bioidentical practitioners. If you come up empty it may be time to interview a few practitioners, and here is what you want to do:
- Survey their office: Do they appear to be successful. Sure it sounds a bit unscientific, but if they were not attracting customers – and more importantly repeat customers – to their bioidentical practice then they could not maintain a nice office.
- Ask how many bioidentical hormone replacement therapies they’ve done, and ask specifically about the hormone replacement type you need
- Ask if there are prior clients that you can talk to (sometimes offering to be someone who will offer to be contacted helps)
- Ask about the practitioner’s training in bioidentical hormone replacement – for how long and under whom did she or he train?
- Ask for professional references, other doctors and medical practitioners who can speak to his or her ability
- Most states allow you to look up the license of medical practitioners to see if there have been any complaints – do this
These are just a few steps you can take to check out your prospective bioidentical hormone replacement doctor, but again, its best if you hear good things from unbiased and randomly chosen people who have seen him or her – like your own friends, colleagues and family.
Here are some websites that might help:
- The popular site Yelp may be a starting place to find a bioidentical doctor
- There are also some guide sites to bioidentical doctors, but you should ask how they have vetted your choices.
- Also, general sites that help you find doctors of any specialty may be helpful in finding bioidentical hormone doctors too
What To Ask Potential Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Doctors
Of course the first thing you should ask are questions about your potential doctor’s background with BHRT. Bioidentical hormone doctors range from having been in the field of BHRT for many years, and being relatively new to the field. The way you digest the answer to this question may not be as simple as it seems. Experience is of course good, but make sure that any bioidentical hormones therapy doctors you choose who have been doing this for a while have also kept up with the very latest techniques and improvements in the field.
You should also ask how much of your practitioner’s practice is dedicated to BHRT. There are some who do BHRT full-time, while other make it only a fraction of their practice. While you may not necessarily need a practitioner who does it full-time, you do want someone who makes it a large part of their practice. Also, while it may be okay to have some of the procedures performed by a nurse or other trained practitioner, you should make sure that there is a doctor actively involved in following your case and that you will get to meet with her or him regularly. If the physician will not be regularly involved with administration, ask how easy it will be to contact him or her should you have a question or concern, and again how involved she or he will be in reviewing your progress.
After you’ve narrowed the field of potential bioidentical hormone doctors look for the one that is the best fit for your presenting issue. Also look for someone who is flexible in approaches and can respond to each patient’s unique needs and responses. How do they learn from their practice – do they take measurements and adjust subsequent steps the next time? Ask what results you can expect and make sure it all sounds realistic and a fit for what you hope for. Ask how many different methods of administration she or he is comfortable with – does he or she use creams, shots, and pills?
Working with your Bioidentical doctors
Once you’ve chosen among the available bioidentical hormone replacement therapy doctors and you have one that seems like the best fit for you and your issue, you need to effectively work with this professional in the most effective way possible. Of course the most obvious step in this direction with bioidentical hormones doctors is to ask the practitioner exactly what means of communication and frequency s/he wants. In other words, should you send an e-mail each week telling her or him how you are doing? Should you send in any particular information about symptoms, perhaps rated on a ten point scale of something? What exactly does your bioidentical doctor want to hear about as far as side effects or any problems you experience? Knowing exactly when and how to communicate between sessions is important, and you want to make sure that the practitioner you choose does want to hear from you, especially at the beginning.
You also want to make sure to keep in mind that you are the customer in this relationship, even after the bioidentical hormone replacement therapy starts. Make sure you put pressure on the bioidentical hormone replacement doctors to stay as involved and attentive as they were at the beginning of treatment, and never be embarrassed about asking questions or giving some degree of input during your sessions. Be particularly sure that you are open and honest about continued symptoms – bioidentical doctors will not be upset if you are not getting the relief you need, but rather will look to change things and be determined to help.
Of course a common question is how to assess when you need to switch and get a new doctor. This is a hard dilemma to give advice about because many people do not achieve complete symptom relief quickly, and many times it is hard to blame the doctor for this. You may just need a change in the formula or ingredients used, and the doctor may have used the optimal one to try at first but it just was not the optimal one for you. Often the decision to change bioidentical hormone therapy doctors is more of a gut level thing, where you feel that the practitioner is not attentive enough, seems not to have new ideas, or seems to continue with treatments that are not working for too long. And of course there can be logistical reasons to switch bioidentical doctors, such as if your practitioner is too busy, does not respond to e-mails or phone calls, or costs more than others.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Doctors Conclusion
Choosing among many bioidentical hormone doctors may not sound easy, but the good news is that there are plenty out there who do a great job and have experience with your presenting concern. Take your time and do not worry about going to several practitioners if you are not sure at first, and make sure you ask around if you can because word of mouth may be the most powerful way to get a good idea of who is out there. Also, keep in mind that your practitioner is only as good as the materials she or he uses, so ask questions about the compounding center that is used and about other means that will be used to get your natural hormones. And throughout the course of your BHRT do not be afraid to ask yourself whether you need a switch to a new practitioner if you feel it’s the approach that is not working (be patient though since the very first course may not work or may not work as quickly as you would have hoped).
You are choosing a very important therapeutic option that has been successful for many people, and you cannot underestimate the importance of choosing among a growing list of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy doctors in order to find the best fit for you. Take your time, and then even after you’ve chosen keep realizing that you are the customer and keep assessing the quality for your care. Be patient but also be honest with yourself about whether you are getting what you need and being attended to as you expect.
Please feel free to use our comments section to relate your own experience in choosing among bioidentical hormone doctors.