What are Bioidentical Hormones?
You may have heard about the dangers of using man-made compounds such as Provera and Premarin to serve as a hormone substitute intended to supplement the hormones that naturally occur in your body. The dangers are real. Premarin is actually made from an extract of the urine of pregnant mares (as in horses). Yes, this compound contains a human estrogen (estrone), but it also contains a number of equines (i.e. horse estrogens) that are not found in humans. Consequently, the use of Premarin and Provera together have produced a number of adverse effects, such as the increased risk of breast cancer, stroke, and heart problems.
The levels of the hormones Progesterone and Estrogen (in women), and Testosterone (in men) tend to decline as you age. However, just because your body isn’t making as much doesn’t mean that you don’t need them!
Fortunately, there is a safe alternative to these potentially dangerous man-made compounds – Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, or BHRT. Dr. Jack Bertolino specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for patients in Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Williamsville, NY, and the surrounding area.
Bioidentical Hormones are exactly what their name implies – compounds that are identical to the natural molecules that your body produces. These are not chemicals made from animal waste, rather, they are formulated from soy products or yams by pharmacists to match your body’s hormones identically. Through Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, patients are likely to reap the benefits of the human hormones without the side-effects associated with non-human hormones.
See what our patients are saying
“I’ve been seeing Dr Bertolino for 3 years now. I found myself at age 40 needing a hysterectomy, I had no other option as my endometriosis had taken over my body. The pain was indescribable. I had a wonderful gynecologist, who I had trusted with my life. Believe me when I Say I truly trusted my gynecologist, but he is a surgeon and I and many other women I have met needed more than a surgeon. When I explained my symptoms to my doctor, which included savage hot flashes, horrifying heart palpitations with anxiety, memory loss, and what I call the “corpse vagina”, he told me I needed to talk to my primary physician. I went to my primary physician and was prescribed an anti depressant. I refused! I searched the internet and talked to other women, and that’s when i found Dr Bertolino. I started HRT and immediately realized I wasn’t crazy. I need my hormones balanced. What a difference this has made. I feel like a human again. I also tried vaginal rejuvenation, all I can say is WOW!! The corpse vagina is gone!! Also I’m not peeing myself every time I cough. HaHa I highly recommend Dr Bertolino if you have any concerns of your mental and physical well being. Anything is better than feeling like you’re losing yourself more and more as each day passes.”
“A lifelong athlete, I found my energy and recovery lagging as I approached 50. After receiving hormone replacement therapy, I felt energized again. My overall well being has improved dramatically.
I followed up the hormone therapy with Acoustic Wave Therapy. I can describe the results with one word…WOW! I feel like a teenager again.
I highly recommend Dr. Bertolino and his friendly staff for making me feel comfortable and welcomed. The results speak for themselves.”
Why Hormones Are Essential
Progesterone increases bone mass and Testosterone helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and improves cognitive function. That being said, a loss or decrease of hormones can have adverse impacts, including:
- Increased likelihood of heart disease
- Bone loss
- Decreased cognitive function
- Loss of muscle mass
- Reduced sex drive
- Restless leg syndrome
- Mood swings
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Thinning of skin.1
Until recently, the majority of hormone replacement therapy applications were done orally with pills, placed directly on the skin with creams or gels, or via injection. There are problems with all of these applications, including improper dosages, patches falling off, and the patient’s failure to take pills as prescribed.
The newest technique is the implanting of a time-release pellet underneath the skin on the buttocks. By implanting the dosage beneath the skin, you are ensured of getting the proper dosage released regularly. Each implant can last six months. Dr. Jack Bertolino is the only physician in Western New York to offer this cutting-edge procedure.
“I have been under Dr. Bertolino’s care for about nine months now. I am receiving Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy. I could not be happier with the treatment I am receiving. Menopause hit me like a truck. I felt like my entire life had been taken from me. I sought Hormone Replacement Therapy through my gynecologist and an anti-depressant as well. I knew that these were not ideal for me; I had done my research. I read The Wisdom of Menopause by Christianne Northrup, MD, and knew that if I needed treatment for menopause symptoms, BHRT was the only was to go. I have trusted Dr. Northrup for years, having read many of her books. I live in the south towns, so I made up mind to get BHRT as soon as I could. I made the transition to Dr. Bertolino’s practice very easily. I knew when I walked through the door of his Williamsville office that I had arrived in the right place for the right care. I had arrived early, and Dr. Bertolino offered me a cup of coffee. Once you get to know him, you realize that he and his staff are people you can trust. Dr. Bertolino has a huge heart, and I trust him completely. I have had absolutely no trouble with menopause-related symptoms since starting BHRT. I can sleep peacefully through the night. I have no hot flashes. I am not depressed. I could go on and on, as there are several other devastating symptoms that are gone now. I want to recommend Dr. Bertolino and his lovely staff to other women so that they too can feel better–for the long run. I hope to continue this treatment indefinitely. There is no reason to think that I can’t or shouldn’t continue. This has been the biggest relief, knowing his practice is there for me, and I now have my life back!”
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy FAQs
Life has a way of changing us all over time. Our endocrine system changes as our sex organs decline in life, causing a decrease in production of hormones which help us as males or females. Also included in this is the thyroid gland, which manages our metabolism. Our parents and grandparents also spoke about “change of life,” and they were right. However, they didn’t have the ability to help themselves and accepted their fate. Hormone replacement has been around for decades but it had been mismanaged, causing serious problems and decreased quality of life. Today through research we as physicians can give back safely and effectively what our elders and relatives could have only imagined.
In the 1970’s and up through today, the pharmaceutical industry has been putting billions of dollars into hormone replacement therapies but little to no responses to quality of life and safety have been addressed. Premarin (now Prempro) is an FDA approved hormone for peri menopause and menopause, which still today can cause serious side effects and does not treat the underlying problem or balance the individual. Synthetic thyroid replacement, again, doesn’t hit its true targets and patients decline through life.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is a safe proven alternative that uses compounded, not conventional or synthetic products. These hormones are plant based and to date are the closest match to the human endocrine system. These hormones balanced effectively, give safe proven results for both health and quality of life.
Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Safe?
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is a safe proven alternative that uses compounded, not conventional or synthetic products. These hormones are plant based and, to date, are the closest match to the human endocrine system. These hormones balanced effectively, give safe proven results for both health and quality of life.
There have been no cases of breast or uterine cancer with a bioidentical hormone in the literature.
So what are the dangers associated with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy? Like any medication, there are precautions. If you remember, oral birth control pills can and did cause blood clots. If you are monitored appropriately, however, with proper laboratory evaluation and follow up, this should not be a problem. Individuals especially females can develop some breakthrough bleeding and breast tenderness but these are not symptoms that lead to cancer. All patients need a primary care physician and GYN for continuing care. Mammogram yearly are necessary, and will be required, as in any practice in America.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR BIOIDENTICAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
Many adults are great candidates for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. To prepare for treatment, the first step is to consult with a qualified medical professional who specializes in this form of therapy. As you prepare for your consultation, you might keep a journal that tracks your symptoms. Are you experiencing hot flashes or night sweats? Track how often these symptoms occur and how severe they feel. Do you feel a general lack of energy or loss of mental clarity? Make a note of that. Additionally, it can help Dr. Bertolino understand your situation and plan your BHRT program if you write down all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take, how often, and also any supplements you take on a regular basis. Finally, you can prepare for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy by writing down questions you have for the doctor.
Before devising a treatment plan, our team orders appropriate lab testing. The most relevant tests detect the level of hormones in your body at the time that treatment may begin. This test shows us which hormones need to be supplemented and by how much.
RECOVERY AND AFTERCARE FOR BIOIDENTICAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
Getting bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a relatively simple process. Once your program has been developed, we can move forward with the insertion of the appropriate dosage of pellets. The treatment is quick and painless thanks to the use of a powerful local anesthetic. After pellets are inserted into the fatty tissue of the upper buttocks, the insertion site is covered with a bandage. This may be a waterproof bandage that remains in place for up to one week. The waterproof bandage allows you to shower normally. For the first few days after the pellets are inserted, you may need to avoid most exercise, especially any activities that work the gluteus muscles, such as climbing stairs, riding a bike, or doing squats. The area should be kept clean and dry for several days so, aside from showering, contact with water should be avoided. After a few days of rest, you can resume most if not all of your normal activities, taking care to manage the insertion site as directed in our post-treatment instructions.
HOW LONG CAN YOU UNDERGO BIOIDENTICAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY?
Many people continue bioidentical hormone replacement therapy for several years. That said, every aspect of this treatment is personalized to the patient based on their medical history, symptoms, and goals. With an experienced medical team overseeing treatment, BHRT can be extremely safe and effective for five to 10 years or longer. If and when the time comes to stop therapy, care must be taken to do so gradually.
WILL MY RESULTS REVERSE IF I HALT MY BIOIDENTICAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY?
Hormone replacement therapy is designed to affect the body in a very similar way to naturally-produced hormones. A sudden drop in the level of any hormone, be it estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone, could result in unwanted symptoms. If you are currently being treated with bioidentical hormones or any form of hormone replacement therapy, and you are considering making a change to your regimen, talk to a physician. According to studies, there was a time when physicians supported patients coming off of hormone replacement without any oversight. This resulted in about three-quarters of patients going back on HRT. What we can learn from previous studies is the value of moderation. If you have been on hormone replacement for any length of time, the best way to stop the treatment is to do so gradually over time. Depending on the reasons for hormone replacement, there is a possibility that results will reverse. Dr. Bertolino is an experienced physician who has completed Fellowship training in functional medicine. Together with his patients, he develops the most appropriate plan to support the aging process as they wish.
HOW SOON WILL I NOTICE THE RESULTS OF MY BIOIDENTICAL HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY?
Bioidentical hormones act like natural hormones. The way in which your body responds will be unique based on your physiology and the symptoms you are experiencing. Some symptoms respond very quickly to bioidentical hormone replacement, and some improve gradually over three to six months. We generally expect to see hormone levels reach a state of balance within six months of the treatment start date.
Will Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Cause Weight Gain or Help Me Lose Weight?
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy in women can at times cause some bloating, but not weight gain. Physiologically muscle mass increases and body fat mass decreases. But again this is not a weight loss remedy.
“I am so lucky to have found Dr Bertolino. He is professional with a friendly down to earth personality and you can tell right from the start that he cares about his patients and loves what he does. He actually listens to you and really wants you to understand what he can do to help you with your issues. Doctor B is very knowledgeable regarding BHRT treatments that have allowed me to continue to enjoy life to the max. No hot flashes, no crazy mood swings, no sleepless nights. Going on almost 2 years, Thank you to you and your staff for being so caring, friendly and knowledgeable about the products you use.”
Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Right for You?
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is not for everyone. Blood tests prior to your procedure will determine whether your hormone levels are low enough to warrant a BHRT supplement. They will also help to determine if your symptoms are caused by other physical problems or illnesses.
Dr. Jack Bertolino would be happy to meet with you and discuss your options for helping you to look and feel better with bioidentical hormones at Smooth Solutions Medical Aesthetics.
Amazing! Life Changer!
Dr. Bertolino has immensely improved my quality of life with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy. He shared all of his vast knowledge and experience with BHRT in my first consult – which made feel very comfortable and very exited to get started. Once my bloodwork results were in, hormones were ordered and appointment was set all within less than 2 weeks time.
I noticed improved sleep right away with the progesterone capsules and about 3 weeks after that my anxiety and depression gradually went away. It is amazing how balanced hormone levels fixed my insomnia, anxiety & depression so completely. My primary doctor years ago responded to my sleep issues by prescribing Ambien- which I was afraid to take due to side effects. So many women I know are put on antidepressants or anti anxiety meds that don’t always help or cause other issues. It is a shame that we aren’t all as informed as we should be about BHRT and about how so many men and women could benefit from this therapy.
Dr. Bertolino really takes his time to explain, educate and relate to you. I hope that more people get an opportunity to benefit from BHRT and that more doctors educate themselves so they can help us like Dr. Jack Bertolino has helped me.
Learn More About Bioidentical Hormones
Download a technical whitepaper that goes into detail about Bioidentical Hormones and the science behind them, authored by Steven F. Hotze, MD and Donald P. Ellsworth, MD.