|Hormone Pellets for Men and Women|
Hormone pellets are not new. They have been around for over 30 years, but have not been very popular until recently,as the interest in hormone replacement has grown.
What are hormone pellets? They are compounded bio-identical hormones compressed into tiny pellets about the size of a grain of rice.
How are they used? They are inserted under the skin in the upper buttock or hip area by a simple office procedure.
Is the procedure painful? The skin and underlying tissues are first numbed up with a novocaine substance so that the pellet insertion is completely painless.
Do the pellets hurt later? Once the numbing medicine wears off, there may be some residual soreness in the area like a bruise for 2-3 days. The pellets are placed under the skin in the fat tissue layer, so they are usually not felt or noticeable.
How do they work? This is the real beauty of using pellets for hormone replacement. I generally use testosterone pellets only for men. For women, I will use a combination of testosterone and sometimes a small amount of estrogen. Women will need to take progesterone for two weeks every month, either as a capsule, cream or sublingual drops. The hormones released from the pellets are more similar to the natural release of hormones from glands than any other delivery system. The reason for this is that hormone release from the pellets is dependant on the blood flow through the tissues around the pellet. So if you are resting or sleeping and the blood flow is slow, there will be less hormone released. As activity increases such as during exercise,sex, or stress, more hormone is released. This is closer physiologically to how hormones are released in our bodies from our natural glands.
How long do pellets last? Generally they last 3-6 months depending on ones activity level and therefore briskness of their blood flow.
Are there any complications from pellets? Hormone pellets are generally very well tolerated and much more convenient than creams or drops. Obviously you will never forget to take your hormones.They also can never get on another person or pet.The insertion site can get infected, but this is extremely rare if done carefully. Occasionally a pellet can be extruded,but that generally causes no problems. And rarely if the person for some reason does not tolerate the hormones,they can not be removed, so the individual would just have to ride out the hormone until it is completely exhausted from the pellet. Testosterone in women can sometimes cause acne, oily skin or slight increased facial hair growth which might require laser treatments to remove.
Generally, pellets are considered to be an extremely safe and effective option for hormone delivery. One never has to worry about airline inspection, missing a dose, or carrying bottles and containers with them. They bypass the liver as they are directly absorbed into the blood stream like our natural hormones. There is never a problem of non absorption as with the skin creams.There is no concern about getting hormones on a partner, child or pet as with creams.There are no messy bottles to deal with.
For men, testosterone only is used and is extremely effective in raising and maintaining optimum hormone levels. For women testosterone is used sometimes alone and sometimes with estrogen. It depends on the woman's symptoms. Some women require only testosterone as it will be converted (aromatized) in the fat tissue to estrogen naturally by the body.Testosterone in women has been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer. Some women become bloated, anxious and gain weight on hormones. These women will do better without the "pregnancy" hormones so only require testosterone. Testosterone in women increases lean body mass, helps reduce fat,bloating and water retention. It has also been shown to help prevent "menstrual migraines" associated with high doses of estrogen. Some women need higher doses of estrogen, so will need a small amount of estrogen as well. If women have an estrogen pellet, they will need to take cyclical progesterone two weeks each month as unopposed estrogen can stimulate the lining of the uterus too much. Women who can be managed with only testosterone will not need to take progesterone and therefore will not have any vaginal bleeding.
The different hormone patterns are determined by the woman's menopausal symptoms and body type.
How much do pellets cost? Pellets are more expensive than transdermal creams or injections for men,and almost equal in price for women. For men 4-6 months of hormones by pellets will cost $650. For women it is $250-$350 depending on which hormones she needs. The value of the additional expense is measured by the effectiveness and convenience. Most people using pellets would need to come to the office two or three times per year to have them reinserted. Once the dose is established blood testing is needed less frequently as the hormone levels remain very stable.
Call the office and schedule a consult with Dr. Liebowitz to find out if pellets would be a good option for your hormone replacement.
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