Total Therapy Blog

Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)

This article was written by our Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Maria Fabbro.

Naturopathic medicine is a natural method of healthcare that focuses on the whole person. My goal is to treat the cause of illness rather than simply treating the symptoms and to educate patients on how to maintain a lifetime of good health. My aim is to listen to and collaborate with my patients to create a safe and effective personalized health program to treat a variety of acute and chronic conditions.

In my time off, I enjoy hiking, walking the dog, swimming and watching my children play various sports. Home is in New Westminster with my husband and three children.

What are Bio-Identical Hormones?

Bio-identical hormones are human made hormones derived from plants that are chemically identical to those produced by the human body.  Naturopathic Physician, Dr Maria Fabbro, uses bio identical estrogen and progesterone in her clinical practice after the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes are made to support hormone balance. Working on liver, adrenal and thyroid health often help the hormones work better.

Where are Bio-Identical Hormones Available?

Some bio-identical hormones are made by drug companies. Others known as compounded bio-identical hormones are custom made by a pharmacy, according to a doctor’s orders. This process is known as compounding. Compounding typically involves ingredients being combined or altered to meet the needs of an individual. Some are creams and some are pills. All bio-identical hormones need a prescription and are sold at pharmacies. Many extended health programs will cover the cost of bio-identical hormone treatment, but it is best to look into the specifics of your coverage to ensure you understand your benefits. In BC, Naturopathic physicians cannot prescribe testosterone or DHEA, unfortunately.

What Tests are Needed to Prescribe Bio-Identical Hormones?

Everyone considering BHRT should undergo the following tests either through their medical doctor or naturopathic physician: hematology, urinalysis, fasting lipid profile, blood sugar levels, TSH, FSH and saliva or 24 hour urine hormone testing.

Who is a Good Candidate for BHRT?

The beauty of BHRT is that it can be individualized to suit the patient. Dr Fabbro has successfully treated recurrent miscarriage, PCOS, perimenopausal anxiety, hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, vagnial dryness, osteoporosis, memory issues, and mood changes with naturopathic therapies and BHRT.

Possible Side Effects of BHRT?

There may also be side effects that accompany BHRT, particularly in the beginning as your body adjusts to the hormones. Common side effects of BHRT may include acne, bloating, breast tenderness, weight gain and increased facial hair in women.These can all be minimized by proper diet, lifestyle changes, and maintaining adrenal, liver and thyroid health.

Who Should Not Take BHRT?

BHRT is not for everyone.  No absolute contraindications of BHRT have been established. However, relative contraindications exist in certain clinical situations, such as patients with the following findings: a history of breast or endometrial cancer, severe acute liver disease, a history of blood clots, a history of migraines with auras (no estrogen but progesterone is fine), and undiagnosed vaginal bleeding. The risks and potential for side effects may vary among women depending on their health history. Discuss the pros and cons with your doctor before using any hormone replacement therapy.

 

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