In the world of social media, the internet, and having an abundance of ‘influencers’ it’s important to know if the person you’re trusting with your health is who they claim to be. When discussing women’s hormones women need experts! We need these women under the care of someone who is wanting to get to the root cause of their symptoms, not mask them with birth control, tell them they’re ‘normal’ or that they’re just getting older.
So how do you know if your hormone provider is an expert?
1. Call a compounding pharmacy in your area and ask the pharmacists there if they have any recommendations
Why? Pharmacies are not allowed to give doctors kickbacks for using them, so the information they give you is because they really feel these doctors know what they’re doing, and they see the patients monthly. They know who the local doctors are and most importantly if the patients are satisfied.
2. Read Google Reviews
Why? Normally I don’t like reviews, but if your provider has many happy customers that are saying they’ve never felt better then that’s a good indication this is a provider who knows hormones. Obviously, there may be one or two bad ones as no one is perfect, but if there are tons of good reviews chances are this is a good caring physician.
3. Are they prescribing bioidentical hormones?
Why? Bioidentical hormones look exactly like your body’s hormones and may have less of a side effect profile. Even if the physician doesn’t want to use compounded hormones there are prescriptive bioidenticals made by larger pharmaceutical companies as well.
4. Check the physician’s background
Why? I may catch some flak for this, but I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. How long have they been prescribing hormones? If they trained as a plastic surgeon and have only been practicing hormone therapy the last two years are they really an expert in hormones? Hormone replacement should be the physician’s focus, not something they are dabbling in.
5. Are you seeing the physician or their physician extender?
Why? This is fairly simple. If the doctor isn’t an expert then how can you expect their nurse practitioner or physician assistant to be an expert?
6. Ask your friends
Why? These are the women that have physically been in the offices and been treated by the physician. If they were feeling miserable and now feel amazing or if they didn’t feel any different then you might have your answer. Keep in mind the more referrals you get for the same person the better that could potentially be.
7. Do they use hormone pellets?
Why? Not to shy away from controversy, this doesn’t mean they are a poor physician, but in my opinion, it means they don’t have a depth of knowledge about hormones because pellets are protocol-driven and not individualized.
8. Ask your primary care physician
Why? Often your primary care doctor will know the physicians in the area and their expertise. It is a reflection on your primary doctor if they refer you to someone that isn’t up to snuff so they will refer to those people who they think are good at what they do.
9. What type of testing do they offer?
Why? You want to go to a physician that offers multiple means of testing blood and urine. I am not a fan of salivary testing as I feel the results are not accurate for anything other than cortisol. If they only offer expensive testing you might want to ask why.
10. Do they say “well everything looks normal”
Why? This is obviously after you’ve seen someone, but you wouldn’t be going to them if you felt normal. Hormone results come back as a number within a range. If you feel poorly and you have numbers that are lower ‘normal’ it could be that this isn’t “your” normal.
11. Do they charge inordinately large amounts of money to see you?
Why? Some physicians charge cash and there is nothing wrong with this, but does it seem like it’s way out of proportion? Just because something costs more doesn’t mean that it is of more value. Some clinics charge large amounts of money to give the false illusion of quality.
12. Are you being upsold to buy other things or programs?
Why? Again nothing wrong with buying excellent supplements or programs, but if it seems the sole purpose of the clinic is to sell you programs and supplements then maybe they aren’t truly focused on hormones.
Each woman’s genetics differ meaning there isn’t a one size fits all treatment. If you aren’t feeling normal, but you’ve been told that you are, then do yourself a favor and find a true hormonal expert to help you.