Posted on Mar 24, 2021, 7 a.m.
Maintaining the delicate balance of hormones is vital to health. Hormones interact with each other and with other systems (such as the immune system) in ways that significantly impact how the body functions. While this complexity may make the topic seem intimidating to discuss, it’s important to talk to your practitioner if you suspect you’re experiencing some sort of hormonal imbalance.
In this article Michelle Violi, PharmD discusses some general tips on how to prepare for an appointment with your healthcare practitioner. She outlines what sort of resources and information may help you start a conversation with them about your hormone balance, its effect on your overall health, and the option of compounded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (cBHRT).
Schedule Your Appointment
When making your appointment, let your practitioner know that you want to talk about options to address hormone balance including compounded bioidentical hormones at the visit. Ask if your practitioner is familiar with cBHRT. It’s best to know beforehand your practitioner’s level of comfort and knowledge regarding hormone balance, cBHRT, and their willingness to consider and prescribe this type of hormone therapy.
You will want to generally familiarize yourself with cBHRT before your appointment. Consider what dosage forms may be preferable for you. Your practitioner may have preferences and recommendations based on their clinical experience, but thinking about this in advance will help you form a collaborative discussion. If you’re not sure what other information may be useful going into your appointment, call one of the pharmacists at Women’s International Pharmacy and they can help address your specific questions and concerns.
In the weeks preceding your appointment, you may want to keep a journal to document what symptoms are you experiencing, how severe your symptoms are, and how often they occur. The day or so before your appointment, make a list of the symptoms, questions, and concerns you’d like to talk to your practitioner about, starting with those most important to you. This will help organize your thoughts and make sure you don’t forget anything.
Make the Most of Your Time
Many practitioners—particularly those who don’t specialize in hormone balance— may be limited in the time they can take for each office visit. Appointments can go quickly, and time may be especially limited if you have other health concerns or conditions that need to be addressed at the same appointment. It is important to be prepared to describe your symptoms and discuss solutions.
Know You Have Resources Available
If you believe cBHRT might be the right fit for you and you’re looking for a knowledgeable practitioner, Women’s International Pharmacy offers a referral list of healthcare practitioners; go to https://www.womensinternational.com/practitioner-referral-list/ to request that we send you a list of prescribers in your area.
If your practitioner is open to prescribing cBHRT but isn’t familiar with it, you can request a free information packet from Women’s International Pharmacy at https://www.womensinternational.com/information-request/. We can e-mail or mail the requested information to you or to your practitioner on your behalf. Your practitioner may also call WIP’s pharmacists for a peer-to-peer consultation if they have specific questions about dosing, formulations, or would like a recommendation.
It’s important to note that every appointment will unfold differently. The relationship between a patient and their practitioner is a personal one. Your practitioner’s training, experience, and knowledge will vary, and your body itself is unique with its own distinct health needs.
The tips above are broad suggestions on what may help you introduce the subject of hormone balance, compounded bioidentical hormones, and options for hormone replacement therapy. To summarize Michelle’s advice:
- Learn as much as you can about hormones. When it comes to your health, you are your best advocate.
- Keep an open line of communication between you and your practitioner. Be honest about how you’re feeling and what next steps you feel comfortable trying to remedy any issues.
- Remember that Women’s International Pharmacy is here as a resource to help both you and your practitioner navigate the complex topic of hormone balance.
This article was written by Michelle Violi, PharmD – Women’s International Pharmacy and edited by Laura Strommen – Women’s International Pharmacy
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine.
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