Bio-identical Hormone Therapy
We offer a holistic approach to treatment of hormonal deficiencies. Depending on the symptom profile of our clients we will determine which therapy is best. We combine the use of both conventional and natural therapies to bring the best of both worlds. Our clients are “heard” when they tell us they don’t feel optimal. Call us for more information about the services we offer men, women of all ages.
FAQ: What are Bio-identical hormones?
They are hormones made from plant sources (yam & soy) that are processed to mimic our own progesterone, estrogens, and testosterone. The body responds to these hormones as if they were naturally produced, as they are identical in biological structure to the hormones of our own body. Other hormones used can include DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone), and thyroid hormones.
How do I know if I need them?
Generally speaking, you know you need hormones by changes and symptoms you may experience. In women, these can include hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, irritability, mood swings, memory problems, low sex drive, vaginal dryness, fatigue, weight gain and skin changes. In men, symptoms such as fatigue, lower strength, low libido, mood swings, weight gain and prostate gland symptoms (reduced urine flow, voiding at night).
By performing blood or saliva testing, it can be determined if a deficiency of these hormones is present.
Where do you buy them? Are they covered by my drug plan?
There are bio-identical hormones in pill form, gel, and creams. Those made by large pharmaceutical companies can be obtained at most regular pharmacies (i.e. Prometrium® is natural bio-identical progesterone; Estrogel® or Divigel® are bio-identical estradiol).
If they are compounded (made specifically at certain strength) in a cream or pill then these can be obtained from a compounding pharmacy. Not all pharmacies will compound these hormones so you must go to a specific location such as:
- Paramount Pharmacy (1795 Stone Church Rd., Hamilton)
- Stonechurch Pharmacy (25 Redmond Dr.,near Up Wentworth, Hamilton)
- Smart Meds Pharmacy (960 Cumberland Ave., Burlington)
Some insurance plans will pay for compounded hormones like progesterone, estrogen and testosterone. It depends on the coverage that one has.
Are they safe? Is there any research on their use?
There is much controversy in the medical community as to the safety of hormone replacement therapy. Conventional medical treatment recommends the use of hormones for a very limited amount of time (up to 5 years) based on the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative Study which tested the use of Premarin® and Provera® and found using these hormones (for greater than 5 years) to slightly increase the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and stroke compared to women not taking hormones.
There are research articles that show that bioidentical forms of the hormones may be superior to synthetic hormones and can minimize the side effects of taking hormones.
Recently, the KEEPS Study, begun in 2014, has been studying the use of oral estrogen or topical estrogen with oral Prometrium in women and monitoring its health effects. Early findings show that hormones given are affected by its route of administration, dose and type of hormones given. Tailoring the dose based on each individual’s need and monitoring symptoms and blood levels allows them to be titrated so the least effective dose is used. As with any type of hormone therapy, appropriate and judicious use is paramount to making this treatment safe and effective.
How long do I stay on them?
Keeping hormones balanced may be seen as something temporary for some. However, the key to wellness is staying balanced for as long as desired. This decision is personal and can only be made by each individual and their health care provider. Unfortunately, hormones leave at menopause and do not reappear again. Symptoms can at times resolve for some while for others will continue to suffer indefinitely.
Where can I learn more?
- Website: www.drpettle.com. A Toronto gynecologist who has years of experience treating women with bio-identical hormones.
- Women’s Health Initiative: A large-scale 2002 study which has shown that hormone replacement (Premarin, Provera) should be limited, and can have increased health risks.
- Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study: Recent Study in 2014 that compared oral, topical estrogen along with Prometrium which showed that there are few adverse effects to otherwise healthy women. www.keepstudy.org
- What your Doctor may not tell you about Menopause by Dr. John Lee
- Sexy Hormones by Lorna Vanderhaeghe & Dr. Alvin Pettle
- The Miracle of Bioidentical Hormones by Dr. Michael Platt