Hormone pellet therapy utilizes hormone pellets which are bio-identical forms of estrogen and testosterone to bring hormones back into a healthy balance. Compounded into tiny pellets by a compounding pharmacist under sterile conditions, hormone pellets are the size of a grain of rice, and are placed under the skin during an office visit. The hormones that are contained in the pellets are released into the blood over the next several months, and this method of release maintains a more constant physiologic level of hormones in your body.
How are hormone pellets made?
The hormones and pellets utilized in hormone pellet therapy are derived from soybeans, and are biologically identical to human forms of estradiol and testosterone. The pellets are manufactured in a sterile environment using strict guidelines to ensure proper dosage. The pellets will dissolve completely with time and do not have to be removed.
How is hormone pellet therapy different from other hormone therapy?
Hormones can be administered using pills, patches, injections, and creams. The goal of all hormone therapy is to maintain a constant physiologic level. Changes in the level, whether too high or too low, cause undesirable side effects such as nausea, breast tenderness, low libido, acne, trouble sleeping, tiredness, and weight gain. A constant hormone level from hormone pellets allows patients to avoid many of these side effects.
Hormone pellet therapy also addresses the issue of low testosterone in women. Prior testosterone treatments for women have been less than satisfactory due to the multiple side effects, including acne, hair loss, deepening of the voice, hair growth, and loss of breast tissue. These side effects are uncommon with the use of pellets.
What changes will I notice with hormone pellet therapy?
Depending on your symptoms, most people will notice an improvement in the following:
- Decreased frequency and strength or cessation of hot flashes
- Improved sleep
- Increased energy
- Relief of vaginal dryness / painful intercourse
- Decrease or cessation of night sweats
- Increased bone mineral density
- Improved urinary function
- Improved sexual desire
- Improved cognitive function (clearer thinking)
- Increased ability to cope with stress
- More stable mood
- Decreased heart disease
- Improved blood sugar and insulin levels
- Reduction of fat levels
- Increased self-assurance and self-confidence
- Improved mood and well-being
- Improvement in skin, hair and/or nails
- Reduction of migraine headaches
- Decreased breast tenderness
When will I notice a change in my symptoms?
Most patients start to notice changes within 72 hours after insertion of hormone pellets. Maximum benefit is noticed three weeks after insertion.
How long do the hormone pellets last?
Most patients have steady levels of hormones for three to six months (3-6 months) after insertion. If symptoms return prior to three months, your dosage may need to be adjusted or you may need a booster dose.
Why do I need estrogen?
In spite of the negative publicity regarding hormone therapy, I still feel long-term estrogen therapy provides numerous benefits for patients in menopause. More recent studies have also confirmed the positive benefits of hormone therapy. Estrogen protects a woman against bone loss, heart disease, memory loss, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and more. Estrogen keeps you looking young and healthy.
Why do I need testosterone?
The importance of testosterone is frequently ignored. Testosterone levels peak in the mid-20s and then continue to decline. This decline in testosterone can result in low energy, low sex drive, hair loss, weight gain, loss of motivation, and a decrease in muscle mass and tone. Testosterone replacement can greatly improve these symptoms as well as your sleep.
Do I need testosterone if I am not in menopause?
Maybe. Since testosterone levels start dropping in the mid-20s, many patients experience the above symptoms long before menopause. Patients that are symptomatic and have low levels of testosterone should consider treatment.
Will I grow unwanted hair from testosterone?
Natural testosterone absorbed by your body through hormone pellets at physiologic doses is unlikely to cause unwanted hair growth. Other treatments using synthetic testosterone through injections or creams are much more likely to cause unwanted hair growth, as well as the other symptoms.
How is my hormone pellet therapy treatment determined?
Hormone pellet therapy treatment is based upon your symptoms and your hormone levels. Baseline hormone levels are required by blood or saliva to determine your starting dose. Dosage may be increased or decreased based upon your symptoms and your body’s response to the hormones. Once the proper dosage has been determined, additional testing may not be necessary.
Is hormone pellet therapy expensive?
Office visits and testing are usually covered by insurance. We are in network with most insurance companies. The cost of the pellets and the insertion is not a covered benefit. The price of insertion, including the testosterone pellets is $275.00. If an estrogen pellet is also needed, there is an additional $50.00 charge. For some patients, hormone pellet therapy can cost less than traditional hormones due to the ever increasing cost of medications and co-pays.
How do I get started?
Call the office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Syal to discuss your concerns and the potential benefits of treatment with hormone pellet therapy.
Raj K. Syal MD, FACOG
For additional information see: www.hormonebalance.org