How to Find a Natural Hormone (bioidentical) Friendly Health Care Provider

In the ten years since the the Women’s Health Initiative put the kabosh on HRT, millions of women stopped using PremPro, the combination of horse-derived estrogen and synthetic progestin found to literally be causing all the problems it was supposed to be protecting us against! When the higher risks for heart disease, stroke, blood clots and breast cancer were revealed as outweighing the so-called benefits of the billion dollar drug too many of us had trusted for decades, the researchers halted the the study immediately – three years early.

European women use bioidenticals for balance

In the ensuing years while many women have successfully migrated to bioidentical hormones made from plant substances, millions of other women who chucked their HRT into the bin are still out in the cold, afraid to use any type of hormones at all. This is a crying shame given the fact that hormones govern our every motion and emotion, protect our bones, blood vessels, hearts, brains, and breasts from disease, decay and rapid aging, AND that too many of us are missing out on the benefits of bioidenticals that our European counterparts have enjoyed for decades.

Part of the challenge is that when the bad news about hormones hit the headlines in 2002, many providers had to jettison the old one-size fits all approach to menopause with nothing in place to take its place. Dr. JoAnn Manson, the new director of NAMS (North American Menopause Society), and one of the WHI’s lead investigators underlined this in a recent interview alluding to the “many, many clinicians who no longer prescribe, or know how to prescribe.” She goes on to say, “this isn’t a good situation for women who are having severe menopausal symptoms. They’re going to have trouble finding clinicians who will help them make the most informed decision.” Not a good situation indeed, but for women still seeking safer solutions ten years on from the WHI, Kyle and I can assure YOU that the situation is improving by the minute.

To put this into perspective …. when I became the Director of Education at ZRT Laboratory (one of the largest hormone testing labs in the country) in 2000, just 25 per cent of our clients were health care providers; the rest were consumers looking for answers on their own. Eight years later licensed health care providers had climbed to 75 per cent of our client base, a number that signalled a paradigm shift  from hormone replacement to hormone balance. Pretty promising huh! Not to mention the growing numbers of health educators like me and lifestyle counselors/coaches coming on line to help women explore their options for safe, natural symptom relief.

So, if you are one of those women still feeling confused or out of the loop when it comes to your hormones, we have resources aplenty for you starting with your local compounding pharmacist. The majority of these brainy biochemists really get it when it comes to the whys and wherefores of hormone action in the body and are trained in BHRT (the bioidentical hormone restoration model). Not only are these folks themselves fountains of information, they can usually point you in the direction of health care providers who will test your hormones and are trained to prescribe natural hormone therapies tailored to individual needs. So that’s your first port of call, a face to face with your friendly local compounder, or you can find them by visiting www.iacprx.org.

Next stop are the excellent online resources that enable you to find a provider in your area by simply popping your zipcode into the required field. The best of these can be found at: www.womeninbalance.org, or www.zrtlab.com
Just go to their “find a provider” referral tab. If you need to lose weight you can get a head start on the process by identifying the hormone imbalances that contribute to weight gain through MRC weight loss centers around the country www.emetabolic.com. Their Body in Balance program is the first ever to address hormone imbalance in a nation-wide weight loss program. Awesome!

Meanwhile, if you happen to be in the vicinity of Portland, Oregon you can get in touch with Kyle or myself to explore your options for finding balance in your hormones and in your lives! This is a Menopausibilities essential truth:

Finding, being and staying in balance is a work in progress – take the first step NOW!

Being in balance.

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8 Comments

Filed under Candace Burch, Women's Health & Happiness

8 responses to “How to Find a Natural Hormone (bioidentical) Friendly Health Care Provider

  1. Just google http://www.hormonesynergy.com ! We can help, if we aren’t a good match, we’ll refer you to someone who is!

  2. I can’t tell you how many women come into my office(during their first visit) and unload their frustrations on me about their search for a provider who will first of all just LISTEN to them and then secondly, take the time to explore various options for treatment. Medicine in our country has all too often been reliant on the too-quick-to-prescribe approach, targeted at symptom management and this often leads to a new array of symptoms, necessitating yet another medicine designed to relieve those symptoms, and so on and so forth until a relatively healthy person finds him or herself on a bevy of medications. I jokingly refer to myself as the “unprescriber” as my goal is to get my patients balanced hormonally, teach them how to eat a nutritious, delicious and satisfying diet(designed for optimum weight management), find fun effective exercise routines that provide endless benefits(see some of our previous posts on this!!), and learn stress prevention techniques. By working towards these goals together, many women are able to wean themselves off of anti-depressants and sleep aids because their bodies are back in balance!!
    Please share with us some of YOUR frustrations and also the ways YOU may have found a provider who will work WITH YOU. We would love to hear your stories so feel free to join in our conversation. And as Candace mentioned in her wonderful post, let us know how we can help you find a partner for your personal health journey.

  3. Good point, Kyle. In addition to comprehensive lab testing with written interpretation, BIA testing and a full health and lifestyle assessment, all new patients that come to our office receive a 2 hour consult at their first visit. Patients walk away with not only a treatment plan and prescriptions.. but a feeling of being heard by a physician.. an experience not too many people receive these days in the disease maintenance primary care model of medicine. Patients need to be listened to, heard, and educated to make an informed choice when it comes to their health!

  4. candacebwell

    Amen to both comments above….As a health educator I also feel strongly that for those in the space between needing and finding a practitioner to work with, there is an important role that non-prescribing hormone health advisors can fill – that of helping people explore educational resources and learn viable self-care options for natural rebalancing. That can include everything from crucial lifestyle improvements in diet, sleep, exercise, and stress control to the judicious use of high quality over-the-counter hormone support supplements like natural progesterone, DHEA, and “adaptogenic” herbs and tinctures that strengthen the adrenals and thus aid and abet hormonal balance overall. There is much we need to do to regain balance in our hormones and in our lives – taking responsibility for our own health is the first step, finding the right practitioner is next. We cannot look to health care providers to “fix” us if we are not a full participant in the process of finding and staying in balance.

  5. cldolan

    Pacific Compounds Pharmacy: We love helping women and men with hormone issues. We work closely with healthcare providers to offer their patients the very best in compounded natural hormones and high quality over-the-counter supplements. For those patients who are looking for a healthcare provider that will work with them in a caring and proactive way, just give us a call at the pharmacy as we have a wonderful referral list of talented and knowledgeable doctors and nurse pratitioners.

    Pacific Compounds Pharmacy
    Hillsboro, OR
    503-640-3080

    • Thanks Cory. I absolutely agree! I have worked with Pacific Compound for 10 years. Their pharmacists, pharmacy techs and staff are all extremely knowledgeable, courteous and their turnaround time is very short(this is crucial when someone is struggling with the symptoms of hormonal imbalance!). Most of my patients get their prescriptions by mail, which they love.
      Compounding pharmacists and their staffs are an integral part of “my team” when working with clients. I work closely with them, as well as the providers and staff of the saliva testing laboratory. It really does ‘take a village’ to achieve life and hormone balance and I feel so fortunate to have these great resources literally at my fingertips. As Candace mentioned in her recent comment, providers can absolutely help individuals regain balance in their lives, but then it is up to each person to make sustainable, positive changes in diet, physical fitness, stress management techniques, etc. in order to maintain that balanced feeling.

  6. Excellent point Candace! This has been my passion for 13+ yrs. I have been advocating and educating patients about taking control of their health care and making informed decisions with a provider that they work well with. Wells Healthy Lifestyles (formerly Franck’s LifeStyles) has a growing list of prescribing practitioners in the central Florida area and like many compounding pharmacies, we are always happy to help source practitioners outside of our immediate locale. The wellness store that I oversee has a special focus on hormone, adrenal, thyroid, cardiometabolic and digestive health issues. We believe in science and education, and that is what we preach to anyone who will listen 🙂 We offer nutritional counseling with a registered dietician and private education consults to address hormone questions, lab testing options and natural alternatives to HRT (huge focus on changing the lifestyle). Keep up the great work Candace and Kyle! Love the blog and the group – it’s filled with passionate people!

  7. candacebwell

    Deanne, It is especially gratifying to hear from one of the kindred spirits in the world of hormone balance not to mention a true mover and shaker in the field…you have been helping to reshape the dialogue around women’s hormonal health since the very beginning, and your “BHRT Club” and other innovations in hormone health education have helped ignite the spark and shift awareness from synthetic to authentic solutions for women – no wonder Francks Lifestyles and now the Wellness store under your steady guidance has always led the way in helping women take charge of their hormonal health …this is no longer our mother’s menopause…but the new normal! Thanks Deanne! http://www.francks.com/lifestyles

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