Pellets are made up of the bioidentical hormones estradiol and testosterone. The hormones are pressed or fused into very small solid cylinders. These pellets are larger than a grain of rice and smaller than a ‘Tic Tac’. The hormones are then slowly released at a sustained rate over a period of many months.
Pellets deliver consistent, healthy levels of hormones for 3-6 months, depending on the dosage. They avoid the fluctuations, or ups and downs, of hormone levels seen with every other method of delivery. It is the fluctuation in hormones that causes many of the unwanted side effects and symptoms a patient experiences. Pellets are not known to increase the risk of blood clots like conventional or synthetic hormone replacement therapy.
In studies, when compared to conventional hormone replacement therapy, pellets have been shown to be superior for relief for menopause symptoms, maintenance of bone density, restoration of sleep patterns, and improvement in libido and performance. In addition, there is no other method of hormone delivery that is as convenient for the patient as pellets. Even patients who have failed other types of hormone therapy have a very high success rate with pellets.
Hormone therapy with pellets is not just used for menopause. Women at any age may experience hormone imbalance. Levels decline or fluctuate contributing to debilitating symptoms. Pellets are useful in severe PMS, post partum depression, menstrual or migraine headaches, and sleeping disorders. Pellets may also be used to treat hormone deficiencies caused by the birth control pill.
Do pellets have the same danger of breast cancer as other forms of hormone replacement?
Pellets do not have the same risk of breast cancer as high doses of oral estrogens, like Premarin, that do not maintain the correct estrogen ratio or hormone metabolites.
When a patient first starts hormone therapy there may be mild, temporary breast tenderness; which almost always gets better on its own. Hormone receptors may be sensitive and take time to adjust. The body will tone up, as bone density and muscle mass increase and fatty tissue decreases. There may be a temporary water weight gain which will also resolve on its own. You may experience acne and some hair growth or hair loss but this is usually self-limited.
What can I expect after pellet insertion?
After pellets are inserted, patients may notice that they have more energy, sleep better and feel happier. Muscle mass and bone density will increase while fatty tissue decreases. Patients may notice increased strength, co-ordination and physical performance. They may see an improvement in skin tone and hair texture. Concentration and memory may improve as will overall physical and sexual health.
Complications from the insertion of pellets include minor bleeding, bruising, discoloration of the skin, pain, infection, and possible extrusion of the pellet. Other than slight bruising, or discoloration of the skin these complications are very rare. Extended exposure to moisture i.e. hot tub use is avoided for 4 to 5 days, and vigorous physical activity is avoided for 48 hours in women and up to 5 to 7 days in men.
Some patients begin to feel more energy and improvement of symptoms within 24-48 hours while others may take a week or two to notice a difference.
The pellets usually last between 3 and 5 months in women and 5-6 months in men. High levels of stress, physical activity, some medications and lack of sleep may increase the rate at which the pellet absorb and may require that pellets are inserted sooner in some patients.