As a group of three board-certified OB/GYN physicians, Women’s Integrative Health is a practice focused on natural and minimally invasive medicine with an emphasis in providing quality care. One therapy that the practice offers is bioidentical hormone therapy.
Below are some insights from the practice’s founding physician Dr. Angelica Zaid into the therapy and its importance to women’s health.
Question: Bioidentical hormone therapy (BHRT) has received a lot of attention in the media and medical community. Can you please define it as it applies to your patients?
Answer: BHRT refers to hormonal therapy that is biologically identical to natural human hormone formulas, which the body recognizes and knows how to metabolize without any foreign metabolites forming. A non-bioidentical formula like Premarin (made from pregnant mares’ urine) would make foreign metabolites.
Q: What are the most important applications of the therapy, i.e. menopause relief?
A: The most common uses of BHRT are for perimenopause and menopause symptom relief, most commonly: Hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, irritability, brain fog, insomnia, low libido, fatigue and hair loss. Commonly used hormones for these purposes can include: Estrogens, testosterone, progesterone, thyroid, vitamin D and adrenal hormones.
Q: Is it a safe, effective approach?
A: Hormone therapy is the most effective approach for hormone changes seen around menopause. BHRT is the safest due to its composition, but must be individualized to patient’s needs, risk factors, and family history.
Q: Can you walk potential patients through the process of what actually happens if they decide to undergo the therapy?
A: Usually patients have a consult with our gynecologists to report their symptoms, and to discuss what feels out of balance, as well as their goals. After reviewing their patient history and making sure their preventive testing is up-to-date (annual exam, pap, DXA scan, breast studies, etc.), patients consider hormone testing and start on an individualized BHRT plan. These plans are fulfilled sometimes through a traditional pharmacy and sometimes through a compound pharmacy, which makes medications from scratch according to the doctor’s orders.
Q: What sets your practice apart when it comes to administering bioidentical hormone therapy?
A: We are an all-female group of medical doctors interested in being a part of our patient’s team as she goes through her next phase of life. Many other GYN practices might shy away from menopausal topics. Some practitioners of bioidentical hormones recognize the uniqueness of these hormones and their benefits, and only take cash, but we accept most major PPO insurance plans and Medicare for our patient visits. Our practice is a comprehensive gynecology office that enjoys taking care of the perimenopausal and menopausal patient , keeping in mind all of the possible changes occurring simultaneously. Sometimes BHRT will be part of a patient’s regimen and sometimes it won’t, always focusing on optimal health and cancer prevention. Since not everyone will take bioidentical hormones, we also offer herbal remedies or refer to local alternative practitioners with other tools.
Women’s Integrative Health is located at 477 N. El Camino Real Suite C304 in Encinitas. Visit www.encinitasobgyn.com or call 760.635.3777 for more information.