My January 8, 2012 blog “I Get Asked This Question A Lot” has generated much discussion that is still on-going today. What’s all the fuss about? The use of pellets as a hormone replacement option and why we at our HHC simply don’t believe in them as a viable hormone balance strategy for women. A client of mine told me she was at her young son’s baseball game recently and overheard a woman behind her saying how she had just gotten her first pellet implantation. She turned around and said, “Oh, I’m so sorry! You need to go to the Happy Hormone Cottage!” I think our nurse practitioner says it best when she says, “Topical hormone creams are better!” So what is all the fuss about? Let me explain!
Pellets are small implantable fused hormones that are typically testosterone and maybe estradiol, that are inserted under the skin of the hip with local anesthesia. Usually pellets are reinserted every 3 months. Clinical studies were done in men to determine dosing and men were given dosing every 4-5 months. The dose for women was extrapolated from the doses for men, and herein lies the problem: women tend to need more insertions (about every 3 months) and there is an unpredictable conversion to dht (dihydrotestosterone) and/or estradiol. Some women do fine on pellets, while others, if they convert mostly to estradiol, will gain weight. If these women convert these pellet implants mainly to dht, they will start showing masculinizing symptoms such as: male pattern baldness, facial and body hair, acne and voice deepening, among other serious health issues. And once these issues develop, it is too late. The damage has already been done. Symptoms often materialize after the 3rd and 4th pellet insertion (i.e. about a year). Another concern is that these pellets often lead to extremely elevated levels of testosterone that is much higher than normal female physiology.
For me personally, pellets for women simply don’t make sense. All that testosterone being implanted continuously has to go somewhere. Women simply aren’t meant to metabolize all that testosterone. And when it converts to estrogen it is problematic. Women over the age of 35 are already estrogen dominant. This is the weight gain piece. Remember these 5 words:
“ESTROGEN IS A FAT STORER!” So why would I want to put even more estrogen into my already estrogen dominant body? Even more importantly is the fact that estrogen dominance can lead to a heightened risk of breast cancer. So for me to put anything in my body with this risk just doesn’t make sense.
What we do at our HHC that sets us apart is that we DOSE OUR TOPICAL HORMONE CREAMS PHYSIOLOGICALLY for our bodies. When considering hormone balance, it is important to balance the 3 major sex hormones of estradiol, progesterone and testosterone. In fact, our first line of defense at our HHC is always progesterone. What we know is that women who are still having their monthly cycles don’t need estrogen. So we never give estrogen to women who are still having regular periods. We check your hormone levels first (using cutting edge urine analysis from Precision Analytical Lab) and then we customize your hormone replacement therapy for you and each individual client. It is this physiological dosing that achieves hormone balance. When we give each woman the hormone dose SHE needs with a daily application of her topical cream and we adjust this dosing slightly over time, based on the biofeedback from HER body, AND we recheck these levels annually to maintain this hormone balance, we have happy women who are issue-free. And isn’t this the point of hormone replacement therapy? To restore hormone balance as an anti-aging strategy AND to prevent disease? And for how long do we recommend we use this natural hormone replacement therapy? My response is a frank, “Until we are dead!” Why wouldn’t we do this? As we age and our bodies lose their ability to make their own hormones so the risk of disease increases, and we have found a reliable, safe and responsible way to restore this balance with physiological dosing of topical hormone creams, why in heaven’s name would we ever stop?