At some point in their lives, up to 80 percent of women will experience a hormonal imbalance.
It doesn't matter if you're currently going through menopause or are dealing with hormonal issues caused by stress, overexercising, or an autoimmune condition.
You might want to consider treating these conditions with bioidentical hormones to help regulate your system and take control of your health.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) comes in many different forms, including hormone pellets. Read on for more information about pellet therapy and why it might be the right option for you.
What are Bioidentical Hormone Pellets?
First things first, let's define bioidentical hormone pellets and pellet therapy.
Bioidentical hormone pellets are small cylinders that are slightly larger than a grain of rice. These cylinders — also known as pellets — contain either estradiol (the body's predominant form of estrogen) or testosterone.
How Does Pellet Therapy Work?
If you decide to use pellet therapy to treat your hormonal imbalances, a pellet will be custom-made to treat your specific systems. A doctor will implant it just under the skin of the lower abdomen or upper buttock.
The implantation process is relatively painless, as it's performed under local anesthesia. The doctor will close the implantation site with medical tape — no stitches are required.
Once it's in place, the pellet will deliver a consistent, low dose of hormones to provide balance and help relieve your symptoms.
Most people notice a change between 48 hours and 14 days after the pellet is implanted.
Every three to five months, the pellet will dissolve into the body and need to be replaced.
What are Bioidentical Hormones?
If you're going to rely on any kind of hormone replacement therapy, including pellet therapy, it's best to use bioidentical hormones.
Bioidentical hormones are naturally-derived derived from plants. Structurally, they are identical to the ones that are produced by the body.
These hormones come with fewer side-effects than synthetic hormones. Synthetic hormones are more likely to cause mood changes, breast lumps, and brain fog. They can also increase your risk of developing more serious conditions, including:
- Uterine cancer
- Breast cancer
- Blood clots
Clearly, bioidentical hormones are almost always the safer option for people in need of hormone therapy.
Benefits of Pellet Therapy
There are many benefits that come with choosing to use hormone pellets of other hormone therapies, including the following:
The nice thing about pellet therapy is the fact that, once the pellet is implanted, you don't have to worry about it. You'll receive a consistent dose of hormones without having to stress over accidentally forgetting to take it.
Thanks, also, to the consistency of pellet therapy, you don't have to deal with the uncomfortable and stressful hormone fluctuations that can accompany other types of BHRT.
Many people notice significant improvements in a variety of symptoms that often accompany hormone imbalances, including:
- Low libido
- Mood swings and PMS
These improvements typically start to show themselves soon after the pellet is implanted, so you won't have to try and guess if it's working.
Reduce Risk for Future Conditions
Because it uses bioidentical hormones, pellet therapy comes with fewer side-effects and providing fast symptom relief. These hormones can actually reduce your risk for future conditions associated with hormonal imbalances.
For example, one study found that bioidentical hormones could decrease women's risk of developing breast cancer.
They have also been shown to increase bone density and muscle mass to prevent osteoporosis. And, they can minimize your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and insulin resistance.
Minor Side Effects
There are some side effects that come with the implantation of bioidentical hormone pellets. But, they're quite minor compared to other treatments. Some symptoms you may experience for the first week after implantation include:
- Discomfort at the implantation site
- Minor bleeding
- Some bruising and swelling
- Skin discoloration
- Minor redness and itching
Infection is also a rare but possible side effect. As long as you keep the implantation site clean after the doctor has taped it, you shouldn't have any issues.
As with any type of treatment, there are a few drawbacks that come with using hormone pellets, including:
Risk of Over- or Under-Dosing
In some cases, patients will receive a dose that is too high or too low. If they're not dosed properly, patients may experience mood swings and other side effects.
Since the pellet is implanted in the skin and can't be removed, it's important to work with an experienced professional to make sure the dosage is just right.
Only work with skilled doctors who come recommended by someone you trust. This will help you avoid getting an under- or over-effective dose of hormones.
Some people also don't like having to abide by the post-implantation restrictions that come with pellet therapy.
These restrictions include:
- Limiting vigorous physical activity
- Avoiding bathing and swimming
You usually only have to avoid these kinds of activities for about five days. They can cause the pellet to work its way out of the body if they're performed too soon after implantation.
If these restrictions are deal breakers for you, then you might want to try another type of hormone therapy.
Alternative Hormone Therapies
If you're just starting to delve into the world of hormone therapy, you may be wondering what other types hormone therapy there are for you to choose from. Some common alternatives to pellet therapy include:
Bioidentical hormone capsules are a relatively simple BHRT option. Many people also see plenty of improvements by taking them consistently. But, consistency is the key here. If you're someone who has a hard time remembering to take pills, capsules might not be the right choice for you. Capsules also have to pass through the digestive tract before they can be absorbed by the body. This can negatively impact the hormones themselves and stop you from absorbing as much as you need to see the best results.
Creams are applied to the skin and absorbed directly into the bloodstream. They're a simple option for those who don't like or forget to swallow capsules on a regular basis, but they do have their drawbacks. For example, absorption will vary depending on the condition of your skin (dry, hydrated, irritated, etc.) and whether or not the weather is dry or humid. Not all body sites are equally permeable, either, so you'll need to rotate application sites to find the ideal spot for you. They can also be washed off accidentally before they're fully absorbed by the body. Creams are not ideal for people who require high doses of hormones. This is because you need to apply a large amount in order to experience the benefits.
Hormone injections are another viable option. Since the hormones are injected directed into the bloodstream, absorption tends to be better than it is with creams or capsules. But, hormone injections often cause intense fluctuations that are difficult to manage. Many people also find it unpleasant to have to give themselves shots on a regular basis. It can also be hard to stick to an injection schedule, which will negatively affect your results.
How Does Pellet Therapy Measure Up?
Compared to creams and capsules, pellet therapy is, generally speaking, the best option. Since the pellet is implanted, you don't need to remember to take a capsule, apply a cream, or give yourself a shot each day. You also don't have to worry about accidentally forgetting products when you travel since the pellets are always right there with you. The convenience is usually reason enough for people to consider pellet therapy. But, you should also keep in mind the fact that the body tends to respond best to steady levels of hormones. A quick spike delivered by an injection, cream, or capsule will typically not be as effective.
Are Bioidentical Hormone Pellets Right for You?
You now have a lot more information about bioidentical hormone pellets. So, you're probably wondering if they're the right treatment option for you.
If you're someone who prefers the convenience of an implanted device and wants to experience the benefits of BHRT with very few side effects, the answer is probably yes.
Many people can benefit from pellet therapy, but the following people are especially good candidates:
- Women who have had a hysterectomy
- Women who lack anterior pituitary function
- Peri and postmenopausal women
- Women who suffer from migraine headaches
Pellet therapy is also a viable option for men. Those who lack anterior pituitary function or need long-term testosterone therapy are ideal candidates.
Want to Learn More about Bioidentical Hormone Pellets?
Are you interested in trying bioidentical hormone pellets or another type of hormone therapy? Do you want to just learn more about your treatment options before jumping in head first?
Whatever your specific goals are, there's a medical professional out there who can help.
Check out our list of bioidentical hormone experts today to find some near you. We've made it easy to find a doctor who can answer all your questions and get you on the fast track to better health and wellness!
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- Are Bioidentical Hormone Pellets Right For You?
- Everything You Need to Know About Hormones and Weight Gain
- Hormone Imbalance in Men: 10 Things You Need to Know
- How Long is Hormone Therapy Safe for Post Menopausal Women?