FAQs

Will I have to stop my medications?No, we advocate that you don’t stop your medications without medical supervision. When you make healthy lifestyle choices, you may be able to reverse some of your chronic diseases and you may not require medications that you have been using. Usually medications are gradually reduced and stopped under supervision while your condition is monitored.

My goal is to reduce medications- can you help?We are here to help you achieve good health. When you change your lifestyle and optimize nutrients, your disease may reverse. We can help you reduce and stop your medications under supervision while your condition is monitored.

Will I need to make a lot of changes in my lifestyle?It depends upon how you are living currently and how willing or able you are to make the required changes. We will help you customize them to your need and readiness so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. You will be provided with the rationale and support needed for making the changes.

What is a Toxin? A toxin is a chemical or substance that, when present in the body, can cause injury to body tissues or impair the functioning of the system. A toxin can be exogenous – that you ingest in food, through skin or inhale in your breath, or endogenous- that our body produces through metabolic processes.

What is a bioidentical hormone?A bioidentical hormone is identical on the molecular level (same structure) to an endogenous hormone (a hormone that is produced by the human body).

What is a synthetic hormone?A synthetic hormone is manufactured with a molecular structure that is slightly different to an endogenous hormone (a hormone that is produced by the human body).

Why is there confusion about bioidentical and synthetic hormones?People generally think that hormones manufactured by pharmaceutical companies are cannot be bioidentical. This is not true. In medical literature, the molecular difference of a hormone is not differentiated, therefore the benefits and side effects of each are lumped together. E.g. Progestin’s (synthetic progesterone) physiological and side effect profile is quite different to progesterone (bioidentical progesterone).

What is the advantage of bioidentical hormones?Since they have the same structure as what your body produces, they fit onto the receptors as your own hormones would. And when you use them, you know that they will give you a desirable (physiologically known) response. Bioidentical hormones have less undesirable side effects compared to synthetic hormones.

Can bioidentical hormones be manufactured by a drug company?Yes and this is where a lot of confusion arises. Some hormones made by pharmaceutical companies have the same molecular structure as your endogenous hormones. E.g. Utrogesten is a bioidentical progesterone, estradot is a bioidentical estradiol.

Why does one need a compounded bioidentical prescription?The dose range and mode of delivery available in pharmaceutical bioidentical hormone is limited. For example, to control the symptoms, one may need 200 mgs of progesterone that is released slowly over the course of a day. This is not currently available in the pharmaceutical range.

Are compounded bioidentical hormones safe?We have two pharmacies that compound hormones in NZ, Optimus Healthcare and Compounding Labs. They have to comply with pharmacy regulations to meet safety standards.

Is there a price difference between pharmaceutical and compounded bioidentical hormones?Yes, pharmaceutical bioidentical hormones are fully subsidized by Pharmac in NZ, available at a prescription cost of $5.00 for 3 months’ supply. On the other hand, compounded Bioidentical hormones are not subsidized and so the cost is to be paid by patients (unless they meet the special authority criteria).

Are synthetic hormones completely useless?No, in some situations, they have advantages. Cost is a major benefit because they are subsidized by Pharmac in NZ. Synthetic progesterone/progestin, called Medroxyprogesterone acetate – MPA, is a cheaper alternative to bioidentical progesterone for cyclical progesterone therapy, for women who have heavy periods and cannot afford the bioidentical hormone. Also, contraception is only achieved with synthetic hormones.

What is the disadvantage of synthetic hormones?They have more undesirable side effects compared to bioidentical hormones. E.g. Medroxyprogesterone acetate – MPA (synthetic progesterone/progestin) increases breast cancer risk in menopausal women taking estrogen therapy. It should not be used in pregnancy. Another example is synthetic progesterone, which causes bloating and weight gain, which is not experienced with bioidentical progesterone.

If I had a hysterectomy and am on estrogen, do I need to take progesterone?Yes, many organs in your body have estrogen receptors from the uterus, breast, skin and bones to name a few. Once you have your uterus taken out, estrogen is still affecting the other organs. Women should be on oral progesterone to balance of the estrogen effect on other body organs.

Why am I told that I don’t need progesterone if I have had a hysterectomy?That idea comes from using progestin (synthetic progesterone). Progestin offers protection only to the uterus when taken while on estrogen. Once your uterus is gone, there is no point in taking progestin. Bioidentical progesterone, on the other hand, protects your other organs as well, when your uterus is taken out through a hysterectomy, you would still continue taking progesterone to protect your other organs from estrogen.

Explain a bit about estrogen and progesterone.Both hormones are equally important for women’s reproductive function. Estrogen is released by maturing follicles in the ovary and it is at its peak in the first part of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone is released after ovulation by cells in the remaining sac and it peaks in the 2nd part of the menstrual cycle. Since progesterone release depends on ovulation and ovulation can be irregular (especially in teenage, the perimenopause period, or if one is stressed), many women experience symptoms from lack of progesterone and too much estrogen. Estrogen is a growth hormone. It helps in the growth of the endometrium (lining of the uterus), breast tissue etc. Progesterone is a maturing hormone; it comes along in the second part of the menstrual cycle, helps balance estrogen and checks growth and matures tissues. If there is not enough progesterone, the endometrium keeps growing, becomes friable and bleeds heavily or irregularly, breasts become sore and painful, or you may have headaches, etc.

What is the effect of too much estrogen on the uterine lining?Too much estrogen will make the endometrial (lining of uterus) thick and friable. Balancing it by taking progesterone will mature and strengthen it, so that it doesn’t bleed before period is due, and that the period is not heavy.