Talking Health & Wellness - A. Michael Abboud, MD, DO
A. Michael Abboud, MD, DO
Total Women’s Wellness Center
& Full Medical Spa
1023 Forest Hill Road
Staten Island, NY 10314
What are Bioidentical Hormones, and how do they compare to the hormones used in traditional Hormone Replacement Therapy?
In 2002, the FDA placed a black box warning on traditional Hormone Replacement products because they may lead to cancer. That is when women seeking relief from menopausal symptoms and their physicians turned to something else: Bioidentical Hormones. Previously all that was available were synthetic hormones. Bioidentical Hormones come from plants and are identical to hormones already produced in the human body.
In 2006, actress Suzanne Somers wrote a whole book on Bioidentical Hormones (Ageless – The Naked Truth about Bioidentical Hormones). She called them “the Youth Hormones” and ever since, people have gotten more and more interested in Bioidentical Hormones, particularly as anti-aging medicine. It has grown into a 190 billion dollar-per-year industry.
What are their benefits and uses?
A woman’s body changes over time and so do the requirements of her body. Some of those changes may even be responsible for problems that are attributed to other things, and can respond to Hormone Replacement Therapy using Bioidentical Hormones (BHRT).
Bioidentical Hormones are most commonly prescribed for menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, sleep disturbance, weight gain and decreased libido. They have other benefits and uses as well. For instance, the treatment of polycystic ovaries, pre-menopausal symptoms, sexual dysfunction, and to support the health of the ovaries.
For women going through menopause, some Bioidentical Hormones may reduce the risk of heart disease or improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. And there is some evidence that Bioidentical Hormones used after menopause can keep the body younger.
Are they safe?
Because Bioidentical Hormones are so similar to the hormones already in the human body and because they are made from plants, not synthetic hormones, they don’t have the same safety issues as standard Hormone Replacement Products. Side effects are rare. (I have not seen any myself). Still, patients dealing with breast cancer are usually excluded from receiving them.
FDA-approved Bioidentical Hormones, including estrone sulfate, estropipate, estradiol and progesterone, have been proven both safe and effective. Several others are in the pipeline, with clinical trials supporting evidence that they, too, are beneficial.
Custom preparations, designed to fit a particular patient’s hormone replacement needs, cannot be individually studied and approved by the FDA. However, they are created by compounding pharmacies that operate under FDA guidelines.
How does a woman go about getting BHRT? Who should she consult? What can she expect?
Start by getting the facts. There is so much in the media and on the internet, different pros and cons as well as claims made online that can be exaggerated or inaccurate. People need to be more educated.
Work with a doctor who specializes in Bioidentical Hormone treatments and who is certified in prescribing these medications – one who has trained with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, for instance, or who is a fellow of the Metabolic Medical Institute.
Expect to have a saliva test to assess hormone levels and determine which bioidentical hormones to add to the body. Accurate interpretation of test results is important – and another reason to work with a qualified physician.
Dr. A. Michael Abboud, founder of The Total Women’s Wellness Center, is an Obstetrician Gynecologist dedicated to “keeping women happy and healthy throughout their lifetime.” He has served women and their families for more than two decades, providing compassionate and technologically up-to-date medical care of the highest quality. At locations in Staten Island and Brooklyn, he and his staff offer medical spa services, wellness programs and anti-aging medicine, along with a full range of obstetric and gynecologic services.
Dr. Abboud is affiliated with the New York - Richmond County Medical Center and the New York Medical Society. He is a Fellow at the Metabolic Medical Institute and a Fellow at the International Laparoscopic Society. He is fluent in English, Arabic, Russian and Ukrainian.