Note: I have made a special pellets page with lots more information. Please refer to that page as it will answer most questions.
I think it’s time we talked about “pellets” as a hormone replacement strategy and be done with it. I gave a presentation at an event in early January that over 200 women attended and this was one of their questions as well. So here goes! Pellets have been around for the past several years and are one option women have to impact the way they feel. Pellets are typically a high dose of testosterone that is put into a tablet shaped like a cylinder. This testosterone tablet is implanted underneath the skin of the hip, where it then slowly dissolves over 3 months into the blood stream. I actually like this testosterone pellet option for men, but not so much for women because we see a LOT of issues with women coming to us who have this pellet implant and have developed some pretty significant health issues because of it. It seems like some women do ok with their first testosterone pellet implant or so. Their energy is better almost immediately, and their libido is typically positively impacted as well. So what’s the problem? The problem is when they continue to re-implant these pellets every 3 months after they wear off. Women’s bodies were never meant to metabolize (deal with) such high doses of testosterone coursing through our veins. One big problem I see with these pellet implantations for women is that testosterone can convert to estrone (E1)-which is the estrogen that is the breast cancer cell proliferator. This alone scares me away from pellets. Women over 35 are typically estrogen dominant anyway, which means they have a heightened risk of breast cancer. Why would I want to add another risk factor to our women’s bodies?? The obvious answer is that I wouldn’t! Another big reason I am extremely uncomfortable with pellets is that these high doses of testosterone also can cause secondary issues that we see a lot of in the women who are coming to us: significant hair loss, male pattern baldness, acne, increased growth of facial hair to the point that these women are shaving, a resuming of periods years after women have gone through menopause, and a whole host of other issues. I had a memorable consultation with a 63 year old woman in July who had pellet implants every 3 months for a year and came to me with a chest full of hair (I so wish I was kidding but sadly I’m not!), a deeper voice and regular periods that had resumed after 8 years! Another big reason we don’t recommend pellets is that we know our first line of defense in hormone balance is restoring progesterone levels. Progesterone is a BIG deal. Progesterone can’t be put into a pellet, so where’s the progesterone?
What we do at our Happy Hormone Cottage and Piqua Medicine Shoppe that sets us apart is that we dose physiologically for our bodies. This means that we check your hormone levels first and then we customize therapy for each individual with all 3 hormones: estradial, progesterone and testosterone as needed. It is all about dosing physiologically each day AND balance. When we give each woman exactly what dose her body needs daily (in a topical cream form) and we adjust this dose slightly over time based on the biofeedback from HER body, and we recheck these levels every year to maintain this proper 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 how long do we recommend we use this natural hormone replacement therapy? My response is frank- “until we are dead!” Why wouldn’t we do this? As we age and our bodies lose the ability to make our own hormones so issues develop, and we have found a way to restore this balance….why in heaven’s name would we ever stop??
Read more about our view on pellets here