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Pros & Cons of Hormone Pellets for Women

They say only two things in life are inevitable: death and taxes.

For women, there’s a third: menopause. For men as well: the lesser-known andropause, sometimes called “male menopause.”

It’s increasingly common for both men and women in the United States to seek hormone replacement therapy treatment to address these inevitable age-related phases. HRT, as it’s known, is particularly promising for women, who tend to experience more dramatic physical and psychological changes during and after menopause.

Medical providers generally address age-related hormone imbalances and regular hormone levels using bioidentical hormone pellets. Here’s what you need to know about hormone pellet treatments for women — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

What Are Hormone Pellets for Women?

Hormone pellets for women typically include bioidentical hormones like estradiol, estrone, and dehydroepiandrosterone. 

These compounds help offset declining levels of estrogen and other hormones in menopausal and postmenopausal women. Anecdotal evidence suggests that testosterone pellets for women may also help treat menopausal symptoms like:

  • Irregular periods
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Loss of bone density 
  • Hot flashes, night sweats, and chills
  • Hair loss and thinning hair
  • Changes in mood
  • Changes in metabolism, including weight gain
  • Dry skin

Hormone pellets are inserted subcutaneously (under the skin). Once inserted, they release steady, controlled doses of testosterone or other hormones for about three months.

Hormone pellets should always be inserted by trained providers. It’s important that the levels of hormones are correct, and further treatments may require more or less (or different) hormone depending on the patient’s needs and desired outcomes.

Pros of Hormone Pellet Implants for Women

Though more evidence is needed to assess their efficacy, many patients and providers swear by the benefits of hormone pellet implants for women. These are just some of the benefits.

Relief of Menopause Symptoms

Hormone pellet patients report relief from the common menopause symptoms described above. Pellets can’t permanently reverse menopause, but they can reduce or delay its effects and make it less uncomfortable.

Controlled Dosing

Hormone pellets release hormones in controlled fashion, making it easier for providers to control estriol and testosterone levels in patients’ blood. This is why hormone pellet therapy is seen as easier to customize and personalize than topical or systemic treatments.

Low Maintenance

Hormone pellets last for about three months. There’s no need to adjust dosing during this time (unless serious complications present), reapply topical hormone creams, or take daily or weekly hormone pills.

Benefits Beyond Menopause Symptom Treatment

More evidence is needed, but hormone pellet therapy may offer additional benefits beyond direct management of menopause treatment. These include reduced risk of heart disease and breast cancer, which kill hundreds of thousands of older women each year. 

Cons of Hormone Pellet Implants for Women

Like any medical procedure, hormone pellet implants carry some risks. Beyond those risks, they’re not suitable for all patients. These are some potential downsides.

Possible Side Effects

All hormone treatments, including HRT and secretagogue replacement therapy, have known side effects. They’re more likely in long-term courses of treatment, which is why it’s important to consult regularly with your provider.

Hormone pellet treatment side effects may include:

  • Accelerated hair loss or excessive hair growth
  • Unwanted changes in mood, including irritability
  • Increase in LDL cholesterol
  • Period-like cramping and bloating
  • Nausea

Possible Safety Risks

Although more research is needed, it does not appear that hormone pellet treatments present significant safety risks. That said, side effects like higher LDL cholesterol can lead to health issues in the long term, such as elevated risk of heart disease.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: Hormone therapy is a promising but potentially risky treatment for symptoms of menopause and postmenopause. For best results, work with a provider who has received advanced hormone pellet training — and, ideally, general training in anti-aging medicine — from an accredited medical education provider.