Hormone Replacement Pellets FAQ (Part 2)

In part 2 of this blog series, we will provide more information about how pellet therapy works. This information will help you answer the question, are pellets right for me?

How And Where Are Pellets Inserted? 

The insertion of pellets is a simple, relatively painless procedure done under local anesthesia. The pellets are usually inserted in the lower abdominal wall or upper buttocks through a small incision, which is then taped, closed. While the implantation is fairly simple, some people worry about complications.  Some common complications include bruising or discoloration of the skin.  Rarely, we may see minor bleeding, infection, extrusion of the pellet.

Do Men Need Hormone Therapy? 

Testosterone levels begin to decline in men in their early 30’s. Men should be tested when they begin to show signs of testosterone deficiency like bone loss, fatigue, depression, erectile dysfunction, difficulty sleeping and mental decline. Most men need to be tested around 50 years of age. It is never too late to benefit from hormone therapy.

Will Pellets Increase My Risk of Breast Cancer? 

Pellets do not carry the same risk of breast cancer as many other types of hormone replacement therapy that use high doses of oral estrogens. Nor, do they increase the risk of breast cancer like the synthetic, chemical progestins used in the Women’s Health Initiative Trial.  In fact, testosterone, delivered by pellet implantation, has been shown to decrease breast proliferation and lower the risk of breast cancer, even in patients on conventional hormone replacement therapy. Clinical studies show that bio-identical testosterone balances estrogen and, in fact, protects the breast.

What About Side Effects? 

When a patient first starts on hormone therapy there may be mild, temporary breast tenderness, which resolves on its own. Occasionally, there may be a temporary water weight gain, which will also resolve on its own. Women may experience spotting or bleeding, which is typically due to inadequate progesterone coverage. However, if bleeding/spotting continues for more than a week, you should follow up with a medical provider to have this evaluated.

How Long Will It Take Until I Feel Better?  

Some patients begin to ‘feel better’ within 24-48 hours while others may take a week or two to notice a difference. Diet and lifestyle affect your hormone balance. Reducing stress, which is a major contributor to hormone imbalance, and maintaining a healthy diet will optimize the effectiveness of pellet therapy.

How Long Do Pellets Last? 

Pellets usually last between 3 to 4 months in women and 4-5 months in men. Pellets do not need to be removed, as they completely dissolve on their own.

Will I Also Need To Take Progesterone? 

Most times when estradiol is prescribed, progesterone is also prescribed, even in patients who have had a hysterectomy, to prevent stimulation of the uterine lining. Progesterone has been shown to have beneficial effects in the bone, brain, heart, bladder, breast where progesterone receptors reside.

How Are My Hormones Monitored? 

Blood work is done prior to the implantation of pellets to determine a baseline hormone level.  Your hormone levels will be rechecked 4 weeks after pellet insertion. After that, you will need to reinsert pellets every 3 to 4 months.

I’m Pre-Menopausal.  Are Testosterone Pellets Right For Me? 

Testosterone has been shown to; relieve migraine or menstrual headaches, help with symptoms of PMS, relieve anxiety and depression, and improve sex drive and libido. Hormone therapy is not recommended in women who are trying to get pregnant.

If you think HRT Pellets could be right for you, or if you’re interested in learning more, please contact Blue Sky MD today!

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