Your Ultimate Guide to Bioidentical Hormone Pellets: The Benefits & Indications
Bioidentical hormone pellets have been used with great success in the U.S., Europe, and Australia since 1938. In fact, pellet implants were a very popular mode of hormone administration in the U.S. until the 1970s, when many oral and topical commercial products were developed. While the demand for pellets diminished in the U.S., pellet implants continued to be a very popular mode of hormone administration throughout Europe and Australia. In the last 10 years, due to advances made in processes and a better under-standing of the benefits of pellet implants for hormone replacement, this mode of hormone therapy has grown in popularity in the U.S.
70+ years of research has illustrated the benefits of bioidentical hormone pellet implants in both women and men. Pellet implants deliver consistent, physiologic levels of hormones. Pellet dosing is individualized and calculated for each person for optimal results. Pellet implants bypass the liver and don’t negatively impact clotting factors, blood pressure, lipid levels, glucose, or liver function.
Pellet implants have consistently been shown to improve:
- Weight loss
- Muscle Building
- Cardiovascular Health and Heart Protection
- Sex Drive
- Sexual Function (which is often significantly increased in both men and women)
Bio-identical Hormone Pellet Therapy Effectiveness
Data supports that hormone replacement therapy with pellet implants is the most effective and the most bio-identical method to deliver hormones in both men and women. Implants, placed under the skin, consistently improve hormonal imbalance by releasing small, physiologic doses of hormones and providing optimal therapy.
What are Pellets?
Fused pellet implants are compounded using biologically identical hormones. The hormones are pressed / fused into very small cylinders. Pellets are made up of either estradiol or testosterone and sometimes DHEA, Progesterone and Pregnenalone. 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’. In the United States, the majority of pellets are made by compounding pharmacists and delivered in sterile glass vials. There is a ‘FDA approved’ 75 mg testosterone pellet (often used in urology offices.) Currently Stanford Urology center uses testosterone implants.
Pellets deliver consistent, healthy levels of hormones for 3-5 months in women and 4-6 months in men. They avoid the fluctuations, or ups and downs, of hormone levels seen with every other method of delivery. Estrogen delivered by subcutaneous pellets, maintains the normal ratio of estradiol to estrone. This is important for optimal health and disease prevention. Pellets do not 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 of menopausal symptoms, maintenance of bone density, restoration of sleep patterns, and improvement in sex drive, libido, sexual response and performance. Testosterone delivered by a pellet implant, has been used to treat migraine and menstrual headaches. It also helps with vaginal dryness, incontinence, urinary urgency and frequency. In both men and women, testosterone has been shown to increase energy, relieve depression, increase sense of well-being, relieve anxiety and improve memory and concentration. Testosterone, delivered by pellet implant, increases lean body mass (muscle strength, bone density) and decreases fat mass. Men and women need adequate levels of testosterone for optimal mental and physical health and for the prevention of chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, which are associated with low testosterone levels.
Even patients who have failed other types of hormone therapy have a very high success rate with pellets. There is no other ‘method of hormone delivery’ that is as convenient for the patient as the implants. Pellets have been used in both men and women since the late 1930’s. There is a significant amount of data to support the delivery method of pellet implants.
How and where are pellets inserted?
Pellet insertion is a relatively simple in-office procedure done with local anesthesia. The pellets are inserted subcutaneously (under the fatty lining of skin), in the upper buttocks through a very small incision (the size of an eraser head). The incision is then closed with sterile-tape strips. Typically, patients cannot feel the implants under their skin. Implants placed under the skin consistently release small, physiologic doses of hormones, which have been shown to have many benefits.
How do the pellets work?
Hormone pellets release hormones based on cardiac output. When the heart rate rises the hormones are released into circulation via capillaries that form around the pellets. When the heart rate rises with stress, movement, or exercise, hormones are released in greater quantity, providing greater support for what you are doing or experiencing. When the heart rate is lower with sleep, and rest, less hormone is released, which provides good sleep and calmness. This is one of the greatest benefits of the hormone pellets, is that not only are they giving you more help when you need it but also the right amount of hormone, instead of what most people do – which is forgetting to take the hormone daily, taking the same dose daily even if you need more with stress, and then often not absorbing other methods of hormone therapy.
What are the side effects or complications of pellets?
Complications from the insertion of pellets include; minor bleeding, bruising, or infection at the insertion site (infection is extremely rare). Testosterone stimulates the bone marrow and increases the production of red blood cells. A low testosterone level in older men is a cause of anemia. Testosterone, delivered by implants or other methods, can cause an elevation in the red blood cells. After the insertion of the implants, vigorous physical activity is avoided for 48 hours in women and up to 5 days in men.
Do men need hormone therapy?
Testosterone levels begin to decline in men beginning in their early 30’s. Most men maintain adequate levels of testosterone into their mid 40’s to mid 50’s, some into their late 70’s to early 80’s. Men should be tested when they begin to show signs of testosterone deficiency. Even men in their 30’s can be testosterone deficient and show signs of bone loss, fatigue, depression, erectile dysfunction, difficulty sleeping, body pain, mental decline, irritability, weight gain, and hair loss. Most men need to be tested around 50 years of age. Men can enjoy the benefits of testosterone therapy most of their lives.