"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This is my latest post on the Dr. Phil Website-----

(and if any of you are looking for the site to get to the message boards for yesterday's show, look one post below this one and it will take you there!)

OK, here's the deal-------many of you are posting on the message boards that you have no idea how to start looking for a doctor in your area who works with and is receptive to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Many of you are not reading through any other of the posts on the board before you are posting your request for information, and that's unfortunate, because a number of people who have some great ideas have been busy with posts presenting a lot of information on some important topics, including:

Books to read to educate yourself on biodentical hormone therapy
How to find a doctor
What sort of questions to ask that doctor

Now, on to the "finding a doctor". Use whatever search engine you normally use and type in "compounding pharmacy" and whatever city you live in (or near if you live in a small town). Get on the phone with one or more of these pharmacies and ask them if there are doctors in your area who prescribe biodentical hormone therapy. Because bioidentical hormones are prepared by these pharmacies (you MUST have a doctor's prescription to get true bioidentical hormone creams---don't trust everything you read on the Internet), the pharmacies know which doctors are using bioidenticals to treat their patients.

Once you are armed with this information, you can call the doctors offices and ask if the doctor is taking patients, does he take insurance (your insurance, specifically), and how much the testing will be and is it covered under insurance.

I have posted about this before, but straight up, many doctors who are well versed in BHRT do not take insurance. Balancing hormones requires doctors to take a detailed history of their patients, listen to them carefully, and study their lab results carefully to make the best decisions for an individualized protocol for each patient. That takes time, and in most cases cannot be accomplished in the 6-10 minutes usually alloted for a patient visit when the insurance company is paying the doctor. In addition, the reimbursement rates for insurance payments to physicians have gotten so bad (and are such a hassle to even get reimbursed period) that many doctors have given up on insurance companies because they can practice medicine more effectively, efficiently and provide better care to their patients. I know in this economy that is hard to hear, but it is what it is and that's the reality of the situation.

I have another excellent resource for those of you still looking for a doctor, or a compounding pharmacy. Christine Conrad, who wrote an excellent book on bioidedentical hormones called A Woman's Guide to Natural Hormones, has a website called Natural Woman Institute (Google it to find the website address). When you get to the site, at the top there is a link you can click, it will take you to an email address where you can request a list of doctors in your area. A different click on the home page will take you to a state by state list of compounding pharmacies. Honestly, it's not that hard on the Internet to find resources, but put a little effort into it!!!

The absolute most important thing you can do as a patient is educate yourself on bioidentical hormones. On my blog holyhormones.blogspot.com (check it out, lots of information and I add to it at least every other day, most of the time every day) last night I posted a list of books that I have found most helpful in teaching me even more about biodentical hormone therapy (I am lucky have a terrific doctor who is very into educating his patients---yeah, he's a keeper). If you can't afford to buy a bunch of books, go to your local library and see what they have on their shelves. Christine Conrad's book on Amazon.com is only $4.99 (I just got mine, I got one for myself and another to share with friends and pass around), and most people can afford that if you are really serious about want to learn about BHRT-------skip your Starbucks coffee one day and that's about the cost of the book (healthier too!)

My real point is this, and I mean no disrespect to anyone because I know that many of you are really suffering------I've been there, truly, I have------but posting that you feel lousy, but you just KNOW your insurance won't cover any hormonal therapy (you don't know that unless you call your insurance company and challenge them as to whether they do cover any of the hormones, the testing, or the doctor's appointments), or that no one listens to you just isn't helpful!!!! In the parlance of America's Therapist "How's that working for you?" (Sorry to take your line, Dr. Phil, but it just fits here!) If you are posting on this site, then you have access to a computer and the Internet, and you need to use this wonderful resource to start studying, searching until you find some answers!!!!! There are a number of different sites out there that will educate you about BHRT, some are better than others but look at it this way-----having a mission, a passion to find out more about bioidentical hormones is a great way to keep your mind sharp and focused (good brain exercise).

Lastly, I am so deeply gratified by all the emails I have received (click on my picture and my email address is in my information, please feel free to email me with questions, I am not a health care professional and I do not give medical advice, but I can give you some direction in your search, and I can offer some hope!) ------ your questions and observations show that you truly are passionate about the issue and you are making an effort to be the best you possible. I am also so happy to see my blog be so busy over the last 24 hours, I put a lot of effort into it and I am glad so many are enjoying it. Have a great week, everyone, if I have not responded to your email yet, be patient with me, I am working as fast as I can!

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