If you’ve ever looked into hormone therapy, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about hormone pellet therapy, and may have even considered it.
It’s not hard to understand why: hormone pellet therapy is considered one of the more low-maintenance hormone treatment options available, and so far has enjoyed high efficacy rates among those who have tried it.
But is there any assurance that hormone pellets carry no hidden risks?
Evidence suggests that they are indeed safe. Nonetheless, it’s good to find out more about how hormone pellet therapy works, including how exactly medical professionals use hormone pellets, before you decide that it is the best treatment option for you.
Hormone Pellets vs. Other Hormone Delivery Methods
As a form of hormone therapy, pellet therapy works by delivering the necessary hormones to help your body against physiological imbalances, which may affect you physical or mental well-being.
How does it do this? The vehicle through which the hormones enter your body is through these pellets, so called because they’re as tiny as a grain of rice (roughly 3mm by 9mm). These are implanted subcutaneously (that is, under your skin), where it releases hormones in consistent, timed doses.
The good thing about hormone pellets? Once it finds its way under your skin, you can basically forget it’s there.
Aside from being inconspicuous, there are plenty of other reasons many people (both patients and practitioners alike) prefer hormone pellets to other administration methods, such as pills, patches, injections, and gels.
For one, hormone pellets are more foolproof. After your first implant, you only need to be re-implanted once every three to four months—much better than having to take your hormones every day, especially if you’re the forgetful type.
Another edge hormone pellets have over others is consistent administration of dosage. With pellets, the hormones are released into your bloodstream at a constant speed and dosage. This reduces the likelihood of abnormal fluctuations in your hormone levels, a common complaint with other hormone therapy options.
Hormone Pellet Implantation: How Safe Is It?
Most questions people have about hormone pellet therapy concern the implantation process itself and its safety: Does it hurt? Is there a possibility of your body rejecting the pellets?
In general, the implantation of the pellets shouldn’t hurt. Additionally, there is very little chance of complication following the implantation process.
Here’s a brief walk-through of the procedure:
- Practitioner will administer anesthesia (either topical or local).
- A small cut is made (about ¼” long, and usually in a fatty region near your hip). This process lasts no more than a few minutes. Some bleeding is to be expected from the incision, but stitches are unnecessary. Steri-Strips is enough to close the cut, which is then covered by gauze and a small bandage.
- Post-implementation, expect some minor discomfort, swelling, bruising, or redness where the incision was made.
A little caveat, however: No matter how minor, hormone pellet implantation is still a surgical procedure. Therefore, it carries a minimal risk of infection at the implantation site, although rare.
There is also the possibility of the pellet being ejected from the implantation site. The good thing is that these risks can all be eliminated with the proper aftercare. This includes following your practitioner’s care instructions and steering clear of heavy exercise or other strenuous activity until a few days have passed.
The bottom line: hormone pellet implantation generally comes with little to no risk. The key is choosing a good practitioner who not only will answer all your hormone-related questions, but will also provide excellent aftercare services.
Can You Be Given the Wrong Dose?
With hormone therapy, specifically hormone pellets, no two treatment options are alike. A good doctor will work closely with his or her patient, starting with a thorough check of hormone levels, to determine the optimal level of dosage.
Is it possible for hormone pellet therapy to backfire—that is, instead of improving a person’s well-being, can implanting hormone pellets make the patient feel worse?
In these instances, it’s vital that both patient and practitioner keep an open line of communication. A good practitioner will be quick to come up with a customized solution in cases where a patient reports no improvement, or perhaps even worse than before the treatment. Usually this will entail a practitioner adjusting the dosage until such time a patient reports feeling he or she is operating at optimal levels.
“Okay, I’m Sold—What’s Next?”
In summary, hormone pellet therapy is a good option for those considering hormone treatment because it is safe, convenient, and reliable. If you’re not totally sold yet, don’t hesitate to open up your questions, concerns, and reservations with your doctor. After all, it doesn’t have to be hormone pellet therapy or bust: there are plenty other hormone treatment alternatives available.
With hormone pellet therapy, and hormone treatment in general, a key ingredient to treatment success is having a trusted, competent, and caring treatment practitioner who can talk to you about all the options available. In this way you can fast-track your journey to recovery and receive the best follow-up care and ongoing monitoring you deserve to optimize your wellbeing. Click here to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Fleischman, our Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy specialist.