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Frequently Asked Questions


 

Bioidentical hormones are an exact replica of the hormones that are naturally produced by the body. The difference between bioidentical hormones and synthetic hormones is that, although both are created in labs, synthetic hormones are not identical to the hormones naturally created in your body and bioidentical hormones match your bodyís hormones molecule by molecule.

Depending on what your symptoms are and which hormone(s) your body needs, Dr. Rohde may choose to prescribe bioidentical hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid hormones, and supplements such as DHEA, melatonin or others as needed.

You are probably already using some hormones - some not so good, and some good for your body. Birth Control Pills (not so good), Hydrocortisone (used for rashes), and Vitamin D in milk are all forms of hormones.

Over the last 100 years as we have doubled our life expectancy, the soft tissue glands which create our hormones are being forced to produce them longer than ever, and can't keep up. As well, our increasingly stressful lives, poorer nutrition, and lack of proper fitness results in declining levels of hormones in our bodies.

Men and women have successfully used bioidentical hormones for decades. Men suffering from the symptoms of andropause or women suffering from menopause or peri-menopause, can turn to bioidentical hormones to replace the natural hormones that have declined as their bodies have aged.

In well known medical journals, researchers have reported that the bioidentical hormones, estrogen and testosterone, are not only safe but also have a positive impact on diseases like osteoporosis and prostate cancer.


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No matter what your age, if your female hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) are unbalanced, you may suffer ill effects such as hot flashes, night sweats, trouble sleeping, mood swings, depression, anxiety, memory loss, vaginal dryness, fatigue, hair loss, loss of your sex drive and especially weight gain. Women with balanced hormones integrated with proper nutrition and fitness can have a better quality of life as they age.

As men age, production of the hormone testosterone begins to decline and they experience symptoms of low testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone that is responsible for maintaining mental focus, energy, metabolism, muscle mass, fat levels, and sex drive. By balancing a manís hormones with bioidentical hormone therapy, men can restore their vitality and reduce the symptoms of andropause.

In general, your bodyís natural hormones begin to decline after your mid-20s and mild hormone imbalance symptoms are frequently present by your mid-30s. Men and women often start replacing hormones between the age of 35 and 40. If you are experiencing symptoms of hormone imbalance, it is best not to wait to be evaluated.

Because bioidentical hormones have the same molecular structure of the hormones made naturally by your body, there are generally relatively few side effects. Side effects occur mainly when the dosage of hormone is too high or too low for the individual - it is all about balance, and any imbalance may cause symptoms. We monitor and evaluate each patient carefully to assure balanced and proper dosing.

While it varies with each person, and depends on which hormone therapy you are using, most patients start to notice changes within the first month. Overall, you can expect to see results within three to six months. This amount of time is needed to allow for the proper balancing of your hormones.

I believe that most people should have their hormones checked by the age of 40, or earlier, if they are experiencing symptoms of menopause or andropause. The way to prevent illness and to optimize oneís health is to take an active role in addressing health care risks before they become a problem.† Getting tested when you still feel good gives you a benchmark for later comparison when the inevitable happens and your hormones begin to decline.

The ingredients in bioidentical hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are approved by the FDA.† However, state and local pharmacy boards have jurisdiction over them, not the FDA. It is important to know you are using the highest quality compounding pharmacy and that they follow the most stringent guidelines and have excellent quality assurance.

Not necessarily, it depends on how well your body responds to bioidentical hormone therapy. Also important, itís how well you manage your diet, sleep patterns, exercise, and stress levels that will assist you in regaining hormonal balance.

Some patients can wean off various hormones once they become balanced and have fewer symptoms of menopause or andropause. There are also patients who can wean off adrenal and thyroid support once their adrenals or thyroid glands have healed with appropriate lifestyle changes. There is no single answer for everyone, it depends on your individual hormone stability and how well your diet and lifestyle will support everything else. In the worst-case scenario, if you decided to stop bioidentical hormone therapy, your body would return to the state it was in before initiating your program.

Generally no. You may need less medications, and you may even feel better off of some of your present medications. Medication changes are made gradually, and only with your consent.

It is not our plan to "steal" patients from other physicians as we frequently consult or work together to maximize patient care. We have had patients that wish to transfer their care to us, this is a personal decision.

You may bring along any lab work, bone density, mammograms, PAP smears, or other diagnostic tests you have had done in the past year. We do not need the actual x-rays or ultrasounds, only the report. However, you will need to do a complete female or male hormone panel, which includes both blood and saliva tests. This comprehensive test panel will tell us exactly where your hormone levels are today and assist us in starting you on your way to better health and hormonal balance.

No. We work closely with our saliva testing laboratory and occasionally confer with them about results that are inconsistent or unexpected. Using results from another lab may prevent us from doing our best for you.

In addition to being board certified in Family Medicine, Dr. Rohde practiced obstetrics for over 15 years. He has managed female hormones, thyroid disease, and diabetes on a regular basis and has also undertaken many hours of extensive training in evaluation, testing, and treatment specifically for bioidentical hormones. He regularly attends CME courses and conferences on advancements and changes to remain on the cutting edge.

Yes, birth control pills are a synthetic hormone therapy.† Synthetic hormones have differences in their chemical structure that are not a replica of the bodyís natural hormones. Birth control pills carry several risks - they have a documented effect of increasing the risk for breast cancer for a period up to 4 years after you stop taking them. This may be a low risk when using them for short periods of time when planning a family in your 20's or early 30's, but an increasing risk with increasing age - consider non-hormonal contraception such as a vasectomy for your spouse or partner, especially if you are done having children!

CONSULTATION

We no longer bill insurance for hormone evaluation visits. These visits are time intensive due to the personal nature of our service. Unfortunately each insurer reimburses differently making it impossible to guess which will pay appropriately for the time necessary to provide outstanding service. We will provide you with an invoice that you can submit directly to your provider for reimbursement. Please come prepared to pay for your visit at the time of service.

The initial hour long evaluation consultation is $300.00. The subsequent half hour treatment planning consultation is $150.00. Follow-up consultations may be scheduled for 15 minutes ($75.00) or 30 minutes ($150.00) depending on your need to discuss and/or modify your treatment regimen.

TESTING

We no longer bill insurance for hormone evaluation labwork. Some insurance companies adequately pay us for lab testing, however others do not reimburse adequately to cover our charges from the performing laboratory, and others will not pay us at all. Again, this variability makes it impossible to guess which will pay appropriately for your necessary lab work.

The lab work ordered will of course be variable. Each individual will need lab studies specifically based on their unique history and clinical situation. A list of prices for the most commonly ordered labs is noted below. We will provide you with an invoice that you can submit directly to your provider for reimbursement. Please come prepared to pay for your necessary lab work at the time of service.

Cash Pay Test Prices:

Male/Female Hormone Panel - $130.00 Thyroid - TSH and Free T4 - $60.00
Female Cycling Hormone Panel - $300.00 Thyroid - Free T3 - $ 65.00
Adrenal Stress Hormone Panel - $ 150.00 Vitamin D - $75.00
Combination Panel 10-15 tests - $205.00 LH - $ 35.00
Combination Panel 16-20 tests - $245.00 FSH - $ 22.00
CBC - $16.00 PSA - $36.00
CMP - $20.00 Pregnancy - $34.00
Lipid - $ 20.00 Prolactin - $45.00

SCHEDULING

If you are ready to improve your health and feel your best again then call us at 217-864-2700 to schedule your initial consultation.


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Hormones are like stop-lights. When they are balanced the light is green and you will get the optimum results from your nutrition and fitness programs. When they are imbalanced the light is red making it, in many cases, difficult to lose and easy to gain weight.

Hormones are chemical messengers that cause the body to make changes affecting weight gain or weight loss. Changes in hormone levels are also dependant on the lifestyle we lead and can affect our mood, metabolism, and energy levels.

For example, as women gain weight their estrogen levels rise and they become estrogen dominant which is an unbridled growth signal to the body - fueling weight gain and sabotaging any efforts at weight loss. Similarly, when males become less active there is often a gradual decline in testosterone. This hormone is known to boost metabolism and has the benefit of helping lower fat levels. Thus, when testosterone is balanced a manís ideal weight is easier to achieve.

Traditional doctors do not usually have the time or the resources to seek expertise in bioidentical hormones. Dr. Rohde has invested significant personal time to undergo training in bioidentical hormone therapy and has specialized knowledge of anti-aging medicine.

Yes. Bioidentical hormones are compounded prescription drugs that are produced in a specialized pharmacy. Each prescription is hand made from the highest quality ingredients and made by pharmacists that specialize in formulating drugs. Since every patient is unique, the strength or the dosage form needs to be specially made to fit the individual.

A compounding pharmacy is a specialized pharmacy that hand makes individualized patient prescriptions.  The quality of the ingredients used, the expertise of the pharmacist and the quality of customer service are all critical decisions on what pharmacy we use.  Dr. Rohde works with several compounding pharmacies that aare local. He generally uses one compounding pharmacy in Peoria, IL - Preckshot Professional. He has an extensive working relationship with the pharmacists at Preckshot and they provide our patients with carefully compounded prescriptions that will provide an optimal outcome! After all, if the prescription is not effective (due to the pharmacy) then your results will be less than optimal.

High stress levels are very common in individuals with unbalanced hormones. Regulating hormones with bioidentical hormone therapy will certainly help to manage stress levels and increase general feelings of wellbeing, however the biggest component to improving stress levels are lifestyle changes. Generally you have two options - remove the stress, or change your response to the stress!

Yes. A deficiency or imbalance of testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, or other hormones can cause a lowered libido.

Severe PMS symptoms can certainly be the result of a hormonal imbalance. Having your hormones tested by Dr. Rohde can help rule out other causes and get you on the road to healing.

If Dr. Rohde finds that your overall health and hormonal balance could be improved through vitamins and supplements, he will prescribe them to you. He recommends only pharmaceutical grade vitamins and supplements from a few respected companies.

No, that is not true. Not all estrogens are created equal. Fears of increased risks of heart disease and breast cancer with estrogen therapy have mainly come from the WHI study that was stopped prematurely in the summer of 1992 because of an increased risk of breast cancer and heart disease that was seen in women taking Prempro. This study actually highlights the risks of estrogen therapy with non-bioidentical (synthetic) hormones, which is NOT the type used by Dr. Rohde.

I think the biggest risk of any hormone use is prescribing them and NOT PROPERLY MONITORING LEVELS! We NEVER monitored women's hormone levels when using synthetic hormones, which in hindsight was wrong, and unfortunately most traditional physicians still practice in this blinded manner! Proper monitoring of levels is VITAL to Safe use and outstanding outcomes!

Hormones that are non-bioidentical use a one-size-fits-all approach to hormone therapy with hormones that are foreign to a womanís body. We cannot generalize these study results to all estrogens. Conversely, bioidentical hormones, which are the same as what is in your body naturally, have been proven to be safe. We use bioidentical hormones and the two main estrogens that we replace are E2 Ė Estradiol and E3 Ė Estriol.

As far as heart disease, bioidentical hormone therapy has never been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and as a matter of fact, hormone replacement with bioidentical hormones has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease.

In summary, we cannot use results of studies done on synthetic, non-bioidentical hormones to assess risks of bioidentical hormones. When an educated provider prescribes bioidentical hormones in the proper manner, with proper monitoring of hormone levels, there are no increased risks of the occurrence of breast cancer or heart disease.


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