When you’re seeking hormone replacement therapy to correct a hormonal imbalance, choosing a therapy format that is both safe and effective is essential—but it can also feel overwhelming. Topical gels, intramuscular injections, transdermal patches, pills, and implanted pellets may all have the potential to resolve your symptoms, but which format will leave you feeling your best with the least amount of hassle?
If you’re considering hormone therapy options, you may be drawn to the low maintenance and high efficacy of hormone pellet therapy. So are hormone pellets safe? The evidence overwhelmingly says yes. However, that isn’t the entire story. If you’re wondering whether hormone pellets are the best option for you, understanding they work and how practitioners implant them into your body can help you make the right decision.
Why Choose Hormone Pellets Over Other Hormone Delivery Methods?
Like other forms of hormone therapy, pellet therapy delivers the hormones your body needs to compensate for imbalances, regulate itself, and keep you feeling good. The pellets themselves measure roughly 3mm by 9mm and are implanted under your skin so that you can receive a consistent dose of hormones. Once implanted, you won’t be able to tell that they’re there, nor will anyone else.
Many patients and practitioners prefer hormone pellets to other administration methods because they often perform better in a number of key ways. Significantly, hormone pellets are typically implanted only once every three to four months, which means you don’t need to remember to take your hormones every day. This means that you won’t run the risk of compromising your results due to nonadherence, which is often an issue for people using shorter-acting formats like pills, patches, injections, or gels.
Equally importantly, hormone pellets can provide a more consistent dose of hormones than other formats. Because the pellets dissolve at a slow and steady pace directly into your bloodstream, they don’t cause the level of hormones in your blood to shoot up rapidly after taking a dose or quickly fall as their effect wears off. With other hormone therapy formats, you might end up feeling a bit off as a result of the rapid hormone level changes. But with hormone pellets, the active ingredients are released at a safe and steady rate, which can help you to feel better while avoiding the discomfort of hormone fluctuation. This is also safer for you, as it more closely matches the natural levels of hormones in your body.
Is the Implantation Process Safe?
While the benefits of hormone pellet therapy are clear, many people are hesitant about the implantation process itself. Will it hurt? More importantly, is it safe? For most people, implanting the pellets is a painless procedure with a very low risk of complications.
During the pellet implantation procedure, your practitioner will give you topical or local anesthesia, then make a small incision (about ¼”) in your skin to place the pellets in a fat deposit near your hip. This process takes only a few minutes and the incision site typically doesn’t bleed much more than a papercut, so you won’t need stitches. Instead, it is closed with Steri-Strips then covered by gauze and a small bandage. While discomfort, swelling, bruising, and/or redness at the incision site are possible after implantation, these are usually minimal and pass rapidly as the body heals.
Of course, hormone pellet implantation is a surgical procedure, however minor. As with any invasive procedure, there is a small risk of infection at the implantation site as well as the possibility of extrusion of the pellet. However, these risks are small and you can minimize them with proper aftercare, including caring for the incision site as directed and avoiding exercise or other strenuous activity for a few days after insertion.
Overall, hormone pellet implantation is considered to be extremely safe. Working with a good practitioner will ensure that you get a high standard of care and can effectively manage the risks that you are exposed to.
What If the Dose Is Incorrect?
Hormone therapy works best when it is designed with your unique needs in mind. If your doctor has performed comprehensive testing of your hormone levels, chances are they will have a good idea of what dosage is right for you. But what if you start to feel worse instead of feeling better after the implantation procedure? What if you don’t feel any difference at all? If you are not getting the results you want, it’s important to speak with your practitioner and assess whether changes need to be made. If the dose you are receiving is too high or low for your needs, your doctor will make the necessary adjustments each time until your levels are optimal and you are feeling your best.
Taking the Next Steps
If you’re considering hormone pellet therapy, the convenience, safety, and time-tested efficacy of this administration method may help make your choice easier. Of course, it’s always important to discuss your options and any concerns you have with your doctor in order to ensure that pellets are best for your individual situation. If you decide pellet therapy isn’t for you, they can offer appropriate alternatives. With the guidance of a trusted practitioner with specialized expertise in hormone therapy, you can ensure that you begin your recovery journey in the best way possible and receive the follow-up care and ongoing monitoring you need to optimize your wellbeing.
BodyLogicMD can help you get started on hormone pellet therapy with high-quality care from a practitioner who specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and integrative medicine. The practitioners within the BodyLogicMD network are among the top medical professionals in the country and specially certified to help you address hormonal issues using the best treatment methods available so that you can experience the life you deserve. Get started on a customized treatment plan designed to fit your lifestyle and help you reach optimal wellness—contact a local practitioner to schedule your first appointment, or take the BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz today.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. All content on this website is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases.
Charlotte is a patient care coordinator specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She is committed to helping patients who struggle with the symptoms of hormonal change and imbalance explore their treatment options and develop effective strategies to optimize wellness.