Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is relatively uncommon in women. Men across the world use intramuscular injections, gels, patches, and pellets to supplement their falling testosterone levels. For men, the benefits and risks of pellet therapy are relatively well-documented. But even though women also produce testosterone and their testosterone levels naturally fall during the aging process, the majority of women aren’t aware that testosterone replacement therapy is an option to help restore their hormone balance.
Compared to the vast number of women who use hormonal birth control or seek hormone replacement therapy during menopause, very few women in the United States pursue TRT. However, this innovative treatment is growing in popularity as we gain a greater understanding of the role testosterone plays in the female body. Today, testosterone pellets for women are believed to help with a wide range of symptoms and are often prescribed for premenopausal and postmenopausal women alike.
If you’re seeking help for symptoms like fatigue, low libido, muscle weakness, and lack of concentration and you haven’t discovered any outlying medical conditions that could be causing your discomfort, you may want to ask a hormone health practitioner about testosterone replacement therapy for women.
Why You Might Want to Try Testosterone Pellets
Some research has been done to study the effects of testosterone supplementation in women, but we have yet to discover exactly how effective this treatment is. Even less is known about how testosterone pellets as a distinct administration method affect the female body. Still, some doctors prescribe testosterone pellets in order to treat the following:
- Low libido
- Weight gain
- Loss of strength and muscle mass
- Poor bone density
- Lack of motivation
- Uterine fibroids
- Depressed mood
- Severe PMS
- Menstrual migraine headaches
Because these symptoms could be caused by other minor or serious medical conditions, it’s not certain that testosterone pellets can help—but TRT has been shown to improve these issues when low testosterone is corrected. TRT can also improve stress response, which could have significant physical and psychological benefits.
Thus far, researchers have found that using estrogen and testosterone as a combined supplemental therapy can significantly reduce the severity of endometriosis symptoms. Testosterone has also been identified as a relatively novel treatment for chronic pain in women who have fibromyalgia. When it comes to the effect of testosterone on libido in premenopausal women, results have been mixed. However, a 2017 study by British researchers concluded that transdermal testosterone improved sexual function in postmenopausal women, regardless of whether or not they were simultaneously receiving estrogen-progesterone hormone replacement therapy. Furthermore, none of the study participants experienced any serious adverse effects. Anecdotally, some women who take testosterone report improvement in symptoms ranging from memory problems to hot flashes to anxiety, although little data is available to determine efficacy.
If you experience these symptoms and your doctor has identified no other medical explanation that should be treated through other means, testosterone replacement therapy might be an option to consider. If testosterone pellets provide the relief you seek, the experiment would be well worth a try.
How Testosterone Pellets for Women Work
Testosterone pellets are a simple and convenient treatment option for women who seek testosterone replacement therapy. The implantation process itself is quick and easy. Subcutaneous implants of crystallized testosterone are implanted under the skin of your hip area in a brief and virtually painless outpatient procedure. The implants release a steady dose of testosterone into your body’s soft tissues over the course of 3-4 months, by which time they will dissolve completely. Doses typically range from 75-150mg, as determined by your hormone health practitioner.
Your body uses the implanted bioidentical testosterone just like the molecules it produces naturally and converts some to estrogen—which explains why testosterone supplementation may help lessen the symptoms of menopause. You might see results within a week or two of implantation, and most individuals reach peak serum levels around the one-month mark. Your practitioner will carefully monitor your hormone levels at this point to make sure the dose doesn’t need adjusting.
Compared to other hormone preparations, pellets offer a variety of benefits. They prevent the inevitable fluctuation of hormones that occurs with pills and creams, which many patients often forget to take at the same time each day. You may experience slight bleeding or bruising at the implantation site immediately after implantation, but pellets save you from the potential irritation and inconvenience of applying patches or gel. Because pellets are so convenient, they are also often more tolerable than other preparations and less prone to adherence failure—which means you are more likely to get optimal therapeutic benefit.
Are Testosterone Pellets Safe for Women?
Because we lack evidence from full-scale clinical trials, it’s impossible to say whether testosterone pellets are safe for every woman. However, many women across the world use testosterone replacement therapy, and pellets in particular, with minimal side effects—most often, minor occurrences of acne and unwanted body hair growth that go away after lowering the dose of testosterone. The only way to determine whether you’re a good candidate for testosterone pellets is to speak with a hormone health practitioner who can review your medical history and explain the risks and side effects.
The more serious known risks associated with TRT relate to long-term safety. It’s possible that testosterone pellets could put you at greater risk for developing hormone-related cancers, liver/kidney problems, or cardiovascular disease, especially if you already have a history of these issues. TRT is also not recommended for women who are or intend to become pregnant, because too much testosterone can lead to miscarriage or other serious complications. Although many popular wellness sites claim that “only synthetic or conventional hormone therapy” carry these risks, there is currently no evidence to support that claim. As such, we must assume that bioidentical hormones come with the same side effects as conventional medications. To be safe, speak with a hormone practitioner you trust. They’ll help you decide whether the potential benefits of testosterone therapy outweigh the potential risks.
How to Begin Treatment With Testosterone Pellets
Testosterone replacement therapy is still relatively new in the field of women’s health. That may be partially due in part to the fact that testosterone is incredibly difficult to measure in the female body. Women naturally have low levels of testosterone in general, especially when compared to men, and blood serum tests only reflect a small percentage of a woman’s active testosterone. A great practitioner will be able to test your hormone levels frequently, accurately interpret your results, and determine whether TRT is right for you based on your symptoms as well as your bloodwork.
If you decide to try testosterone replacement therapy, it’s important that you partner with a qualified hormone practitioner who you can trust. Not every doctor will prescribe testosterone pellets for women, nor should they. An expert practitioner, like those in the BodyLogicMD network, will carefully examine your medical history, symptoms, and hormone levels to determine the right dose for your body—and you absolutely need to be able to trust their judgment. Together, you’ll monitor your ongoing symptoms and any side effects you might experience as you work toward finding a healthy balance.
BodyLogicMD is a nationwide network of hormone health practitioners who specialize in helping women and men balance their hormones through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. BodyLogicMD-affiliated practitioners will create a personalized treatment plan designed to address your symptoms through a combination of hormone medications, nutrition, and lifestyle counseling. If you’re looking for a practitioner who will prescribe testosterone pellets for women, contact a local practitioner to schedule your first appointment. The BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz can also help you understand how testosterone, estrogen, and other major hormones interact to produce the symptoms you may be experiencing.
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 to 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.