BHRT is a Movement – It’s Not Going Away
BHRT is a Patient Driven Movement
Having been in the field of BHRT for over 25 years I have followed its history and watched it grow since providers first started prescribing it in the early 90’s. I can confidently say that BHRT is more than just a high demand therapy: it is a movement. It’s a patient-driven movement. No longer satisfied with traditional HRT, women have and will continue to seek BHRT. In fact, the global market for bioidentical hormones is expected to reach US$ 400 million by 2023. It’s a movement driven by women, and supported by practitioners, pharmacists and even a number of medical associations. (BHRT is also supported by research. See my previous blog “Think There is No Evidence to Support BHRT? Think Again!“)
Challenges Providers Face
There are a few challenges providers face in order to learn BHRT. First of all, they have to be bold enough to step out of the confinement of the traditional standard of care. BHRT providers consider the science and research, not just what industry-funded organizations say. For example, BHRT providers do prescribe progesterone for women that have had a hysterectomy. They understand the dramatic difference between progesterone and progestins. Progesterone has more than 300 different roles and functions in the body. Women that do not have a uterus still need progesterone to help prevent breast cancer, protect the brain, and build bone just to name a few reasons.
Since BHRT is not taught in medical school, providers have to be willing to invest time to learn this modality. BHRT is complex and definitely not a one dose fits all approach like HRT or birth control pills. It requires purposeful decision making based on each individual’s needs, history, labs, health goals, main complaints, etc.
Like many therapies, training requires a financial investment. Pharmaceutical reps do not drop by the office to leave literature. Conferences and training programs are paid for by the providers themselves.
Yet The Movement Advances
Despite these challenges, the BHRT movement advances on due to the demand. Women are savvy and more well-read than ever. It was women that pushed the trend toward birthing centers or suites instead of cold hospital rooms. They want what they read about in Suzanne Somers books and what they see on Oprah and Dr. Oz. Once they hear about bioidenticals it becomes very logical and patients want options to the traditional standard of care, which they know clearly has many undesirable side effects. Women are looking for providers that will listen to them and not tell them they are crazy or criticize a therapy that the provider has not really given serious consideration. I would say that even though BHRT has been around for 25+ years in the US, it is still in its early stages and the market is still underserved. I can’t even keep up with the number of women that say they wish their doctor, NP, or PA would prescribe bioidentical hormones for them or at the very least be open-minded about BHRT. I just checked google and 118,000 people searched BHRT doctors in the past 76 seconds!
BHRT Providers are the Heroes and Heroines
The providers that have learned how to prescribe BHRT are the heroes and heroines. They are the ones women are seeking out and then telling their hormonal friends about. In my years in this field I have never met a BHRT provider that regrets learning and using bioidentical hormones in their practice. It isn’t uncommon at all to hear from providers sentiments like this nurse practitioner:
“I went through Donna Whites pilot training program a couple of years ago. Her course truly helped me fall in love with hormones and find my passion for treating patients again!”
Erin Gagne, FNP-C
BHRT is very rewarding for providers. They can spend time with these patients and watch them experience dramatic changes in their quality of life. During a BHRT consultation, providers spend quality time with each patient doing what they chose their profession for: helping patients. Also, BHRT is typically a cash service so providers can enjoy a generous revenue. For many providers it’s a chance to work for themselves and break free from being employed by largely managed care medicine.
Perhaps the biggest reward BHRT providers enjoy is patient feedback. It is not uncommon at all to have patients come back after starting BHRT and say things like, “You have changed my life”, I feel like myself again or “My husband thanks you!” The following comment is from a patient that puts into words what many other women experience.
“At a primary care specialist, I was introduced to Donna White, a BHRT Clinical Education Consultant. Donna provided education on how to properly test and treat hormones and their related imbalances. I was immediately switched to bioidentical hormones. Within the ﬁrst week, I became noticeably less depressed, and I had a marked decrease in anxiety and tremendous improvement in food cravings. And over the next year, I lost eighteen pounds without even changing my diet. People are always asking me what I have done to my face, too, because they say my skin looks so much better, and I look younger. Before BHRT, I was on antidepressants, sleep, pain, and anxiety medication. Now I don’t have to take any of those. My life has totally changed thanks to BHRT. I would like to encourage women to help themselves with this type of testing and treatment.”
Don’t Get Left Behind The Movement
If you are reading this blog, you must at least be curious and likely have patients asking you about BHRT. On behalf of the BHRT providers all across the US and millions of women struggling with hormone imbalance, what are you waiting for? You can start doing some reading today. Download my “Quick Start Guide to BHRT for Medical Providers” to get started.
Next, I challenge you to test your own hormones. My opinion is that you really need to experience the process yourself to really help these women and some of the very best providers are the ones that got into BHRT due to their own hormone challenges. Download the most Reputable Hormone Testing Labs resource pdf. It includes some of my recommendations for webinars on their websites that I consider a must-watch.
Whether you are brand new or have been prescribing BHRT for a while, the educational resources on laboratory websites are excellent and presented by leading experts in the field. Sign up for their newsletters to follow the consistent educational content they all provide. If you are brand new, most labs will offer you a test kit for yourself at gratis and even talk through the results with you.
Lastly, I suggest that you get started pretty soon. Women are going somewhere for help. Why let your patients go somewhere else?
ZRT Laboratory offers saliva, dried blood spot, and dried urine testing.
Link to all Webinars
Summary of Urine Steroid Metabolite Testing
Unraveling the Confusion Over Testing
The Adrenal and Thyroid Connection
Precision Analytical offers dried urine testing for hormones.
Hormone Tutorial Series
Genova Diagnostics offers a variety of lab testing.
All Medical Education
Hormone Testing, Selecting the Right Profile for Your Complex Patient
Case Studies in Management of the Menopausal Patient
The Adrenal Thyroid Connection