Studies reveal testosterone implants can effectively aleviate symptoms in both women and men. Sub-dermal implants slowly and consistently release small, physiologic doses of testosterone, providing significant benefits with virtually no adverse effects.
Pellets are sub-dermal implants made up of hormones, such as testosterone, that are condensed into small pills. These pellets are about the size of a Tic-Tac. In the United States, most pellets are made by compounding pharmacies.
Pellets deliver a steady level of hormones and avoid the fluctuating levels seen with creams or injections. Testosterone Pellets do not increase the risk of blood clots like conventional or synthetic hormone replacement therapy. In comparable studies, pellets had superior improvements in energy, concentration, focus, and memory, increased lean muscle mass and decreased fat, maintenance of bone density, improved sleep pattern, and increases in sex drive, sexual response and performance, when compared to conventional hormone replacement therapy. Pellet therapy is used in both men and women since the 1930s.
Pellet placement is a very simple procedure performed with local anesthesia (lidocaine). The pellets are usually inserted above the upper hip through a small incision, which is then closed with steri-strips (skin tape), skin glue or single suture.
After testosterone pellets are placed, patients may notice that they have more energy, have more restorative sleep, and notice an improved sense of well-being. Muscle mass and bone density can increase while fat percentage decreases. Patients may notice increased strength, co-ordination and physical performance. They may see an improvement in skin tone and hair texture. Concentration, focus and memory may improve, as will overall physical and sexual health. Libido and performance are also frequently noted to improve.
Side-effects from pellet placement can include: minor bleeding or bruising, discoloration of the skin, infection, and possible extrusion of the pellet. Other than slight bruising, these events are rare.
Testosterone rarely may cause a slight increase in acne or oily skin in some women. Testosterone rarely may stimulate the bone marrow and increase the production of red blood cells. Early physical activity can be a cause of “extrusion,” which is the expulsion of the pellet through the incision. Patients are asked to refrain from exercise for 48 hours after pellet placement
Testosterone pellets have been shown to decrease breast proliferation and lower the risk of breast cancer. Clinical studies show that testosterone counteracts estrogen and is “breast protective.” In the past, testosterone implants were used to treat patients with advanced breast cancer.
Hormone deficiency during peri-menopause and menopause is a common cause of “alopecia,” or hair loss. Treatment with testosterone pellets can help to re-grow hair in both men and women. Hair can become thicker and less dry with pellet therapy.
The response time with pellet therapy is variable but some patients will begin to notice a difference within the first 2--3 days, while others may take a week or two to notice a response. Stress is a major contributor to hormone imbalance and illness, as well as diet and lifestyle. Certain prescription medications can interfere with the beneficial effects of the testosterone pellets due to increased liver metabolism or adverse drug events.
Pellets typically last between 3-5 months in women and 4-6 months in men. Pellets do not need to be removed; they completely dissolve on their own. The base for hormone pellets is typically soy or yam extract.
Blood work is evaluated before any hormone therapy is to be started. Typical lab evaluation may include an LH, FSH, estradiol, testosterone (free and total), TSH, liver profile, CBC, etc. for women. Women are advised to continue their monthly self-breast exam and obtain a mammogram and/or pap smear as advised by their gynecologist or primary care physician.
Sub-dermal testosterone has been used frequently in pre-menopausal women. Testosterone pellets have been shown to relieve migraine or menstrual headaches, improve PMS symptoms, relieve anxiety and depression, increase energy, improve restorative sleep, sex drive, and libido. Women of child-bearing age who have testosterone pellets placed must use some form of birth control.
In conclusion, pellet testosterone therapy is a safe and effective method of hormone therapy for both men and women. Continuous administration of hormones by pellets is convenient and economical for the patient. Pellet implantation has consistently been proven to be more effective than oral, intra-muscular, and trans-dermal hormone therapy with regard to bone density, sexual function, energy and well-being, mood and cognitive function, urinary and vaginal symptoms, breast health, and muscle mass and fat percentage.