Christine Farrell MSN, FNP-C | 32144 Agoura Rd., Suite 102, Westlake Village, CA 91361 | (818) 865-8500
There are many books on the market now about bioidentical hormone replacement / natural hormones, etc.
It makes it very confusing to know what to believe and which is the best book to invest in. From my experience (and I own most of them), I recommend only three because they are relatively easy to understand and are written by some of the top experts in the field.
1. Natural Hormone Balance for Women, Uzzi Reiss MD
2. The Schwarzbein Principle, Diana Schwarzbein, MD and Nancy Deville
3. Natural Hormone Replacement for Women Over 45, Dr. Jonathan Wright and John Morgenthaler
All are easily found (and inexpensive) on Amazon.com Enjoy!
NEW PATIENT PAPERWORK
In my practice, each patient is treated as an individual. There is no “one size fits all” and all treatment regimens are prescribed and followed by me. Being healthy requires treating the whole person - not just the hormones. I include recommendations for exercise, diet, supplements, alternative therapies and routine medical care within my normal hormone consultations and follow-ups. Hormones alone will not keep you healthy or feeling good, but they are the key to most of the body’s functions and a necessity for good health and wellness.
We will start by having you do a 45 minute initial consultation with me. During our consultation we will discuss your symptoms, medical history, family history, diet, exercise, medications/supplements, sleep patterns, stress levels, etc. to form a whole picture. Please bring with you any recent labs, diagnostic tests, lists of medications and supplements and your questions! We will then order laboratory testing at this time based on your specific needs.
After the consult, we will schedule you a follow-up visit for 2 weeks where I will go over your laboratory results and you will either be prescribed the creams, drops, etc. and start your regimen, or schedule an appointment for the Vitapelle. Follow-up appointments are typically every 3-6 months based on your needs. I am also available for general medical appointments, PAP smears, and women’s health needs. I look forward to meeting with you and partnering with you on your journey to greater health and well being!
I haven't reached menopause yet, but I feel like I have a lot of the symptoms. Can I take hormone replacement or supplements to help?
Women who are perimenopausal, (the time when hormone levels drop, symptoms begin, but menstrual cycles persist) often experience a significant change in the way they feel. This is because the normal hormone levels of youth are dropping despite the fact that menses persist. Many women are successfully treated with bio-identical hormone therapy to help to re-balance their hormone levels and help them to feel like they did when they were younger. Each woman is treated individually to fit their specific needs.
What makes the natural hormones different from the other hormones like Premarin, Provera and Estradiole?
Women naturally produce three types of estrogen: estriol (80%), estradiole (10-20%) and estrone (10-20%) as well as progesterone and testosterone. The hormone replacement therapy (HRT) Premarin was derived from the urine of pregnant mares and contained only estrone, estradiole and estrogens common only to horses, but not women. If nature made women with MOST of their estrogen being estriol, why are we replacing only the other two? Bio-identical hormones replace hormones in a woman's body the way nature intended. Hormone therapy with the Vitapel(tm) hormone pellet implants allows the patient to receive a continuous, consistent dosage of hormones as the body needs them. The hormones are distributed directly into the bloodstream without affecting the liver and without the side effect of blood clots that occur with oral estrogen therapy. Progesterone was previously supplemented by using Progestin (Provera) instead of the actual substance in a woman's body. There were many adverse side effects with the synthetic Progestin as well as some links to breast cancer. Progesterone in it's natural form has NO cancer causing effects in studies and helps to restore calmness, mood balance and aids in sleep. It is also important in the prevention of osteoporosis and possibly breast cancer. Testosterone is made by a women's body too! It helps to maintain lean muscle mass, increases energy and sex drive. It has not been widely recognized in the old HRT therapies. Testosterone actually reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimers and osteoporosis.
I've heard a lot about the risks of hormones on the news. Are these safe to take?
Natural/bio-identical hormones have been studied and found to be safe up to this point. Many more longer term studies are underway and if you go to hormonebalance.org you will find an amazing body of research on the subject put together by Dr Glaser (an internationally recognized expert in the field). To access the data, use the username:data and password:data. She is currently involved in the use of testosterone in breast cancer patients. The individual components that make up the bio-identicals have been studied extensively and are FDA approved (except for estriol which has been used in Europe for more than half a century). There are those who believe that this treatment is safe for everyone, but it is my belief that you must be cleared medically first. This is done at the consultation and may require medical clearance from your primary care MD if needed.
I have a lot of different symptoms. Can they all be treated with bio-identical hormones?
Perimenopause & menopause can cause a multitude of symptoms including: fatigue, chronic joint pain/fibromyalgia, mental fogginess, mood swings/anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, low or absent sex drive, and more. Each woman is affected differently by her own body's response to the hormonal imbalances, but complaints tend to be fairly similar. Once other potential medical issues are ruled out, it can be ascertained from a patient's history whether hormones are causing their problems. Because each person has different symptoms, each person is given a treatment specific to their needs (different dosages, different combinations of hormones and regimens).
What does the initial work-up and treatment consist of?
A detailed consultation is done, beginning with a patient's complete medical history as well as their menstrual/GYN history. Current issues and complaints are considered as are diet and exercise habits, social situation and any other contributing factors. A laboratory work-up is done at a specific time depending on the patient's current menstrual/hormone situation. When the lab test results are received, the results are evaluated in conjunction with the history, and a final
determination of treatment specific to each patient, is formulated and prescribed. Follow-up visits are required at varying intervals to monitor the patient's progress and make necessary changes as they occur. Patients are required to have regular follow-up appointments with their primary care practitioners and OB-GYN providers in order to treat the whole person properly. Full women's health services/ medical services are also available in my office. All care is coordinated and shared with your providers.