December is a time when a lot of people start thinking about health goals, and with that may come seeing a new provider, following through on some screening exams that have been put off, making nutrition and lifestyle changes, or trying a different approach to treatment.
I want to answer some frequent questions about choosing naturopathic care for your women's health needs, in case that's something you're thinking about coming into the new year. These are mostly logistical questions so you understand how you can use our services.
Can I use my insurance?
The doctors in our office are in-network with most major insurers in Connecticut, including United Health Care, Aetna, Anthem BCBS, Cigna, and Connecticare. We do recommend checking to see if you have naturopathic benefits prior to your appointment, as each plan is different. We are not able to accept Medicare or Medicaid.
Do you do paps?
Yes! Pap smears are part of a well-woman exam. This usually includes a a breast exam and a pelvic exam. The pap smear collection happens during the pelvic exam - it involves collecting cells from the cervix with a special brush so that they can be sent out and examined.
Can I see you for my annual exam?
Absolutely - some women have a gynecologist or primary care physician that they see for their physical exams and then come to us to address specific concerns, while others choose to do their annual exams through our office.
Do you prescribe birth control?
In Connecticut, NDs do not prescribe medication, which include oral contraceptives (aka "the pill"), IUDs, and other hormonal contraception. If you are taking the pill currently, and are happy with it for your birth control choice, some prescribing providers will want you to do your screening exams through their office. However, if you have other women's health concerns, we're happy to help you out with those!
Do I have to stop seeing my other physician(s)?
Definitely not. Lots of our patients love their primary care doctor, but want a fresh perspective on a condition, or a more natural approach to part of their treatment. We also refer out to specialist when needed for diagnosing complex conditions or supporting a broader range of treatment options. Our goal is to be an integrated part of your best healthcare team, which looks different patient to patient.
Do you use hormones?
For most women, supplying exogenous hormones (meaning a cream, suppository, etc - exogenous means a hormone not made by your body), is not our first step in addressing hormone health. There are lots of other ways we can support hormone health, however, we do sometimes recommend a product that contains hormones. We always discuss with our patients their preferences in this area.
I'm pregnant, can I still see you?
We love working with pregnant patients - what a great time to be supporting the health of you and your new baby. Lots of minor conditions of pregnancy can be well-treated with a natural approach. However, we do not to obstetric management, so our pregnant patients need to continue regular follow-up with their OB or midwife.
I'm nursing, will treatments you use be safe?
Just because a treatment is natural, does not mean it's safe for nursing. That's why it's important to consult a physician who can help choose effective treatments that are also safe for baby - we will always keep the safety of you and your baby a top priority.
Do you have supplements in your office for purchase?
Most of our herbs and nutrients that we use for treatments are kept in our pharmacy. We only allow purchases from this area if something has been specifically recommended by your doctor. We make sure everything we carry is of the highest quality - meaning it's not contaminated with anything and contains the ingredients stated on the label. It sometimes also means that higher quality forms of nutrients are used in the formulas. The companies we use are all professional quality and the majority do third-party testing on their products (a separate company tests them to confirm that the label is correct).
Please leave a comment if your question wasn't answered, or give our
office a call and a staff member will be happy to help you out!