Hormone FAQs

November 1, 2012

Patients come to us with a lot of questions regarding Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy. We answer a few of them here.

1. What are synthetic hormones?
Synthetic hormones are made from plant progesterone and animal estrogens, but are not identical to the hormones the body makes. Synthetic hormones can be toxic because their chemical makeup cannot be properly metabolized.

2. What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are an exact chemical match to the hormones naturally produced in the human body. They are made from soy, yams and other plant extracts.

3. What are the benefits of using bioidentical hormones?
For women suffering from the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, bioidentical hormones can alleviate hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, memory loss, mood swings, weight gain, and low libido. For men experiencing andropause (male menopause), bioidentical hormones can help with weight gain, decreased libido, fatigue, stress, low energy, loss of muscle mass, and increased body fat.

4. What are the side effects of using bioidentical hormones?
There are few side effects because bioidentical hormones have the same molecular structure as the hormones made naturally by the body. If the dosage of hormone is too high, side effects can occur. We closely monitor each patient to ensure proper hormone dosage.

5. Will I have an increased risk of heart disease or breast cancer if I use bioidentical hormones?
No. When prescribed and monitored by educated, licensed health professionals, bioidentical hormones do not pose the increased risks that synthetic hormones do.

6. How long will I have to take bioidentical hormones?
Each individual is unique. It depends on a number of factors including how well one’s body responds to bioidentical hormone therapy, as well as the individual’s diet, exercise habits, sleep patterns and stress levels. Some people can decrease and eventually eliminate various hormone treatments once they become balanced and experience fewer symptoms of menopause or andropause.

7. When can I expect to see the benefits of bioidentical hormone therapy?
Because everyone is unique, it varies with each person – which hormone therapy is being used, as well as what the individual’s diet, exercise habits, sleep patterns and stress levels and so on are. Some individuals will experience relief from symptoms immediately, with the majority of patients typically experiencing symptom relief within three to six months.

8. Will bioidentical hormone therapy interfere with any medications I am currently taking?
Not usually. In fact, some medications can be reduced or discontinued.

9. Are bioidentical hormones approved and regulated by the FDA?
While the ingredients in bioidentical hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are approved by the FDA, the FDA does not approve any compounded products because of the lack of standardization. It is important to use the highest quality compounding pharmacy and ensure that they follow the most stringent guidelines and have excellent quality assurance.

10. What is a compounding pharmacy?
A compounding pharmacy is a specialized pharmacy that prepares customized medications prescribed by a licensed practitioner. The quality of the ingredients used, the expertise of the pharmacist and the quality of customer service are all critical decisions when choosing a compounding pharmacy. Pointe Medical Services uses its own compounding pharmacies that have a proven track record of safety and reliability. Click here to visit our compounding pharmacy

11. Why are compounded bioidentical hormones a better option than synthetic hormones?
Unlike synthetic hormones, compounded bioidentical hormones have a few important advantages:

  • Compounded bioidentical hormones are made specifically for you in the exact dose recommended by your doctor based on your physiological needs.
  • Compounded bioidentical hormones are made at the time they are prescribed, reducing the need for unnecessary additives such as fillers, binders and preservatives.

12. Do I need a prescription for bioidentical hormones?
Yes. Bioidentical hormones are medications that are made in a compounding pharmacy and require a prescription from a licensed practitioner.

13. What are the testing methods used?
We only use the serum (blood) testing method. To ensure accuracy when determining sex hormone levels, thyroid function, and others, we will draw several vials of your blood. We use only the best hormone testing facilities in the area to ensure consistent, reliable results.

14. How accurate is the testing?
Serum (Blood) Testing – Unlike salvia testing, serum testing measures the amount of hormones in the blood. Serum hormone testing identifies the amount of “free” hormone, or hormone that can easily enter a cell, and “total” hormone, or hormone that is attached to other substances in the blood stream, and sometimes a combination of both free and total hormones. This type of testing has been shown to be accurate and the results of serum hormone testing are very reliable.

15. What are the delivery methods for bioidentical hormones?
Each person is biologically different and so we offer a variety of delivery methods to ensure proper uptake including sublingual hormones, hormone cream, and injectable hormone. Our doctor will prescribe the method that best fits your specific needs.

16. What are the costs involved?
Cost will vary based on a number of factors including what type of testing is recommended, which hormones you are prescribed, and your insurance provider.

*Note: Be cautious when analyzing cost differences from one clinic to the next, as some who advertise set prices do not include follow-up testing. We only recommend tests that are pertinent to your specific situation and will truly tailor individual protocols on a patient-by-patient basis.

17. Do you take insurance?
Absolutely! We take many insurance providers including:

  • Aetna
  • Avmed
  • Beechstreet
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Cigna
  • First Health
  • Great West
  • Humana
  • Medicare and most Medicare Replacement Plans
  • PHCS
  • Railroad Medicare
  • Sunshine State
  • Tricare Standard/Prime
  • United Healthcare
  • And many more…

18. How do I get started?
Request an appointment today or call Pointe Medical Services today to schedule your initial consultation. Call 904-621-8041. One of our expert physicians will spend time with you to review your medical history, physical and emotional symptoms, as well as answer any questions and address your preventive health concerns.

At your initial consultation you will have your blood drawn and sent to our blood lab or your insurance company’s lab. The results will provide Dr. Bernard with the information he needs to address any hormonal imbalance. Your physician may begin some Rx treatments at your initial office visit, dependent upon your age, health history and overall assessment needs. At your follow-up visit Dr. Bernard will review your labs and discuss the results with you, and will customize a plan of immediate action including nutrition, fitness and, if needed, bioidentical hormone therapy with possible further laboratory assessment.