When it comes to advanced, cutting-edge medical technology, it’s always a good thing to do your homework and make sure all your questions are answered.
To help you out, we’d like to share some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (bHRT). Have other questions that we haven’t answered here? Send us an email or give us a call and one of our staff will be happy to help address those for you.
Q: How do I know if I need to start bioidentical hormone replacement therapy? What signs can I look for?
A: It’s a lot about quality of life. Sometimes, people don’t recognize they aren’t living as well as they can because they’ve been told by their doctors what they’re feeling is “normal for their age” or because society has trained us to think getting older is synonymous with a declining quality of life, whether your 30 or 75. Whenever a doctor says something is normal for your age, it really means you are falling apart at the expected rate. The truth is, for men and women who are not hormonally balanced, sometimes their lab values fall within “the normal range” which is too often a large, bell-shaped curve and not the same as the “optimal range.” While we use these “normal” levels as a guide, what we should be looking at are the symptoms associated with those levels, and how we can adjust them to create more optimal health.
So, what can you look for? Fatigue, weight gain, loss of muscle, decreased endurance, low libido, brain fog, a negative experience with menopause or andropause, changes in mood, changes in skin and hair, arthritis or pain… The list goes on. If you’ve had trouble addressing the aforementioned symptoms, has your health care provider tested hormone levels as part of your work up?
Or perhaps you just want to feel overall healthier and happier. Maybe it’s time to explore whether hormonal imbalance is a part of the problem and if so, whether bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is right for you.
Q: Is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy safe?
A: Yes. We get this question frequently, and a lot of the fears stem from previous forms of hormone replacement therapy that were not bioidentical. Hormones have played an important role in medicine for nearly 100 years. But the discovery and use of bioidentical hormones have completely changed the risks and side effects associated with older hormone therapies that used non-human animal or synthetic hormones. Unfortunately, there are still practitioners using those types of hormone products today. At Age Management Center of New England, we use only the highest grade bioidentical hormone replacement therapies. This means we are only giving the body more of what it produces naturally.
Q: Can bHRT cause cancer?
A: In the past, practitioners often used hormones that were not bioidentical and, sadly, there were negative side effects. Hormones are medicines that need to be carefully balanced and regulated, and hormones that are not bioidentical do indeed have the potential for adverse side effects. Plus, it’s important to understand someone’s past medical history and genetic background which can also have an effect on treatment and outcomes. But we now know that the use of bioidentical hormones takes away the vast majority of any adverse side effects. In fact, some of these hormones may be helpful in improving one’s immune response, which is important in fighting against cancer.
Q: Can bHRT cause hair growth or acne?
A: In some rare cases patients have seen hair growth in places beside the head. While this is rare, we offer clients a number of treatment options, including supplements as well as laser and skin treatments at our sister company, Cosmetic Enhancement Center of New England.
Q: How long until I see results?
A: No two patients are the same and therefore no two bHRT program outcomes are the same. Some undesirable symptoms can be eliminated in as little as one week, while improvement in muscle mass, libido and weight can take longer. Generally, patients begin to see the positive results in 6-8 weeks.
Q: How long do I need to follow a bHRT program?
A: For every patient we begin with a comprehensive medical in-take and lab testing. These analyses are used to make a diagnosis and to develop an individualized plan for each patient. Once a diagnosis is made, the treatment plan comprises what we call the 4 T’s: test, treat, retest and tweak. Through this customized approach we can help patients move past normal to optimal health. Some of our patients accomplish their goals and are on a bHRT program for a short term, perhaps a year or two. However, most feel that bHRT has such a positive impact on their lives that they continue on the program for years, even decades. For lots of our clients it’s a lifetime of enhanced quality of life. That said, the program will not be the same throughout that entire period, as your hormones shift positively with the program, the therapies are adjusted to align with changes in your life (pregnancy, menopause, andropause, etc.).
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Age Management Center of New England offers a concierge-style approach to patient care, meaning you have access to our team whenever and wherever you need them. A bHRT program includes an initial consultation, lab testing, concierge services and a patient’s supplements and nutraceuticals. For more information on pricing, please give our office a call so we can discuss your personal goals and provide a more accurate estimate based on your needs.
Q: Does my insurance cover this?
A: We don’t participate directly with insurance carriers, but we can provide a receipt for your treatment that you can submit and possibly be reimbursed for, depending on the quality of your policy. While it is not guaranteed, some patients have had success receiving reimbursements from their insurer.
Q: I have a previous medical condition, can I start bHRT?
A: If you have an existing medical condition one of our medical providers can speak with you in more detail to learn about your condition and discuss what therapies might be right for you.
Q: Why isn’t this something my primary care provider offers?
A:The aging process and all the negative symptoms that go along with it is, to a large extent, about declining or unbalanced hormones. It’s that simple. But unfortunately even very good Health Care Providers often don’t consider or test for these types of imbalances because conventional medication relies on a bell-shaped curve that tells us what “normal” is. While we use this as a guide, what we should be looking at are the symptoms associated with those levels, and how we can adjust them to create more optimal health and an optimal quality of life.
Q: Can bHRT hurt my/our chances of getting pregnant?
A: In many cases, hormonal balancing is necessary in order to get pregnant and is used regularly by providers. You should, however, always speak with a medical professional before receiving any type of treatment when you are considering getting pregnant, are pregnant or are breastfeeding.