Lunch & Learn Webinar

Many Uses of BHRT with Dr. Christina Christoforou, ND

Guest Speaker:
Dr. Christina Christoforou, ND

Dr. Danielle O' Connor, ND

Webinar Date and Time:
22/03/2023 12:00 pm

Dr. Christina is a Naturopathic Doctor in the Oakville area. She has been in practice for over 15 years now. Over the years of seeing many women patients, she has learned how bioidentical hormones can be a great adjunct to help patients.

She gives us a deeper look into BHRT—its benefits and risks, the difference between bioidentical and synthetic hormones, conditions where BHRT can be used and the effectiveness of BHRT in combination with herbal medicine. She also discusses the safe age groups to administer BHRT and who can be a candidate.


Q. What is the difference between bioidentical and synthetic hormones? What are their benefits and risks?

A. Synthetic hormones are manmade with chemical compounds. Their molecular structure is not the same as our body’s. When we look at the bioidentical hormones, the molecular structure is close to our molecule cells, which helps your body better adapt to them. They are usually derived from plants, so it is more natural. The effects are much better when you’re using bioidentical hormones.

A study came out in 2002 where they were using synthetic hormones. The study aimed to see how women with osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease benefit from synthetic hormones. The study was cut short because women were getting blood clots, strokes, and breast cancer. Most medical doctors have stopped using synthetic hormones since that study, as it was causing more harm than good. Bioidentical hormones have been around since the 40s but became more popular after what happened with synthetic hormones.

With bioidentical hormones, we use a combination of estradiol and estriol in their natural form and natural progesterone. I always supplement with progesterone and never give estrogen by itself. If there is high estrogen or a potential risk of cancer, the natural progesterone cream will counteract that effect because it prevents the proliferation of cancer cells.

Maybe there will be a study where they realise even natural estrogen could be a problem. However, there have been no such studies so far. But there are studies that show that even if there is a risk, progesterone will counteract that. Therefore, we’re preventing cancer from occurring, which is a big thing for a lot of women.


Q. From what ages can BHRT be used?

A. At the ages of 12, 13 and 14, there are going to be hormonal changes. So I would say no at that age. It depends on the first period. Most girls get it between 12 to 13. Then, your treatment can start as young as 16 to 18. But sometimes, if the period starts at 15 or 16, I will delay even more. Then, I’m looking at 18 or 19. I always test and do a hormonal profile, maybe even bloodwork. But I usually use dried urine to see what’s happening with the estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and adrenals.

When I hear complaints of symptoms like breast tenderness, irritability, anxiety, difficulty sleeping or migraines, these are potential signs and symptoms of low progesterone. We do the profile, and then we’ll see that estrogen is on the lower end. So I would start giving them progesterone because we don’t give them estrogen when they’re that young; we save that for perimenopause and menopause. I’ve seen amazing results in even young women who start feeling great with progesterone.


Q. What symptoms can BHRT help with?

A. BHRT can help with symptoms like low energy, brain fog, mood swings, migraines, weight gain, bone health, osteoporosis, skin issues like acne and psoriasis, and even with overall cardiovascular health. The other big thing is fertility. A lot of times, difficulty in getting pregnant has to do with low progesterone.

We look at the blood work or do the Dutch test to see where the levels are at, and then we start with the cream. The cream is the main thing I like to do. The suppositories help with fertility.


Q. Can you use BHRT, along with other therapies, like vitamins and herbs?

A. I do like using it in combination. If we’re using the progesterone cream to treat anxiety, stress and insomnia, I like to also add other things to it for adrenal support, like Rhodiola, Ashwagandha or Siberian Ginseng. For anxiety, I may add something like magnesium in there as well. These adjuncts allow everything to work synergistically together, and we also get better results.


Q. What forms of BHRT can be used?

A. As naturopathic doctors, we don’t use the pill form; we tend to use the ones that come in the cream form. That entails a topical application to your inner arms or lower legs. And the other option is the suppository, which is inserted into the vagina.

When we do the cream, the dosage is catered to the patient. We can do progesterone anywhere from 20 to 60 milligrams. Estrogen can be as low as 0.5 to 2 milligrams, and we adjust based on the result we get through testing.

We apply topically to the inner arms or legs and always rotate the spots. Usually, estrogen will be in the morning and progesterone in the evening. This is to prevent saturation of the cream to one area.


Q. Are there any benefits to using creams compared to taking tablets orally?

A. Bioidentical hormones are made in a compounding pharmacy. It comes as a click, so you don’t have to worry about it being messy on your fingers or scooping it out and potentially contaminating it. With the click, you get the right dose, and of course, you wash your hands afterwards. This helps you get better absorption compared to taking it orally. Everyone’s gut health is different, and when it gets broken down by your digestive enzymes, it is difficult to tell how much you’re really absorbing.

About Dr. Christina

Dr. Christina Christoforou graduated with a four-year Honours Bachelor of Science degree in biology from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Her keen interest in the health and well-being of others led her to study Naturopathic Medicine at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Ontario where she received her degree in Naturopathic Medicine. Upon graduation, Dr. Christina Christoforou furthered her knowledge in Portland, Oregon, where she trained and worked with established Naturopathic Doctors. She is currently a member of the CAND and OAND and is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in the province of Ontario and regulated by the College of Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario (CONO). She enjoys educating the public on health and wellness and has done seminars at various health centres such as the Mississauga Health Show, Planet Organic, Goodness Me and Lunch and Learns at various companies. She currently practices and owns The Holistix Naturopathic Health Clinic in Oakville and is committed to providing compassionate and thorough Naturopathic Care. Her practice is a general family practice where she treats all ailments and diseases. Her general focus is on digestive health/food sensitivities, hormonal health, stress/mental health and pediatrics. With over 15+ years experience and as a mother of 4 kids, Dr. Christoforou understands the demands of being a new mom with young kids and balancing work life with family life. With raising four of her own kids she has extended her knowledge of Naturopathic Medicine in pre and post pregnancy and pediatric care. She also understands managing stress and anxiety. Holistix Naturopathic Health Clinic has been nominated number one in Mississauga since 2008 with the Reader’s Choice Award and continues to win yearly since.

Dr. Danielle O' Connor, ND in Etobicoke - HealthBuddha

About Our Host

Dr. Danielle O' Connor, ND

Dr. Danielle has been a licensed Naturopathic Doctor for almost 20 years, practicing and living in the Halton region. She is deeply dedicated to helping her patients figure out the root cause of their health concerns and supporting them with foundational support like healthy eating, targeted supplementation, counselling, and lifestyle recommendations…  About Danielle O’ Connor