At People’s Choice Compounding Pharmacy in Richmond Hill, we provide custom compounded Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy on prescription from your MD, Naturopath, Functional Medicine Doctor, or Integrative Doctor. These are some of the most commonly asked questions our pharmacists receive daily:
What Is Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormonal imbalances happen more often as we age, causing symptoms from fatigue to weight gain, irritability to problems sleeping. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is a way to ease these symptoms and restore hormonal balance by the application of custom doses of man-made (compounded) hormones. Bioidentical hormones are derived from plants but formulated in a laboratory. They have structures matching the hormones produced by the human body and have a similar biological effect.
BHRT commonly matches estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and thyroid hormone and may be prescribed in the form of topical cream, gel, spray, vaginal inserts or pills.
What are the Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Perimenopause?
Women of any age can experience a hormonal imbalance and may benefit from natural hormone replacement. However in perimenopause, the natural decline in the body’s ability to manufacture certain hormones can cause unpleaseant symptoms which may be relieved using BHRT:
Hot flashes & Night Sweats
Facial hair growth
Heavy, painful or erratic periods
Changes in memory
Weight gain and/or difficulty losing weight
Muscle and joint pain
Can You Use Bioidentical Hormone Replacement to Ease Perimenopause Symptoms?
Every woman going through perimenopause has a unique hormonal and symptom profile. Our compounding pharmacists communicate with your Integrative, Functional or Naturopathic Dr to ensure that your treatment is customized to your needs and will work effectively to relieve your menopausal symptoms.
How Does Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Work?
As we age, levels of hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can start to fall leading to uncomfortable symptoms. Treatment with bio-identical hormones aims to replace the hormones that have been lost, reinstating normal hormone levels and thereby reducing the severity of the symptoms. Your doctor will help you decide which format is the best choice for you – topical cream, gel, spray, vaginal inserts or pills.
Is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy safe
The many roles of hormones in the body are powerful and it is important to work with a trusted integrative practitioner who can carry out the appropriate expert testing to determine your ideal dosage and form. Correctly dosed bio-identical hormone replacement should be safe – your compounding pharmacist will discuss the risks and side effects to look out for, and help you adjust dosages where needed.
What are the Benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Bio-identical hormone treatments can be prescribed for a number of reasons, including restoring libido, alleviating menopause and perimenopause symptoms, increasing bone density and anti-ageing applications. Talk to a medical practitioner who has been specially trained in diagnosing, treating, adjusting and monitoring hormones to find out how BHRT may be helpful to you.
What are the Side Effects of BHRT?
As with the birth control pill, BHRT can cause some side effects when the dose is first given. These often get better as the body gets used to the dosage, however if they continue the hormones or dosages may need to be changed.
Some common side effects include:
- Weight gain
- Blurred vision
- Increased facial hair (women)
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Skin irritation at the site of topical application
What are the Most Common Hormones for Perimenopause Support?
Below is a list of People’s Choice Compounding Pharmacy’s most commonly prescribed compounds for women in perimenopause:
What are the Most Common Forms of Compounded BHRT?
Your prescription can be compounded in the form that is best suited to you:
- Sustained Release Capsules
- Vaginal Suppositories
- Sublingual Drops and Troches
Why are Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Creams Popular?
At People’s Choice Compounding Pharmacy, we formulate hormone creams to your specific prescription and ship free within Ontario. Taking hormones in the form of a topical cream rather than a pill allows them to be delivered directly into the bloodstream through the skin, bypassing the digestive system and also slowing down the rate of delivery. Hormone creams are ideal for low dosages.
Ehab Mekhail, pharmacist and owner of People’s Choice Compounding Pharmacy in Richmond Hill, explains, “We use a custom dosage of natural, bioidentical estrogen in the creams and medications we make. Popular commercially available estrogen creams often use synthetic or estrogen derived from pregnant mares. However, recent research supports the use of bioidentical hormones as safer.”
Can I Buy Estrogen Cream Over The Counter in Canada?
No, over the counter estrogen creams are not available for the Canadian public to purchase without a prescription. Hormone creams are potentially dangerous if used without a prescription and the ongoing supervision and testing that only your MD, Naturopath, Functional Medicine Doctor, or Integrative Doctor can provide.
Is Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Covered by OHIP?
BHRT is not covered by OHIP, however you may be able to submit your receipts to your supplemental health insurance provider if your private insurance plan covers it. Please contact your insurance provider for more details