Bioidentical hormone pellets have been used in women for nearly a century. They were developed in 1939 for women that had radical hysterectomies. They have been widely used in Europe and Australia for more than 70 years. Pellets are superior to other forms of bioidentical hormone delivery as they avoid the liver and deliver consistent levels of physiological hormones.
What are bioidentical hormone pellets?
Hormone pellets are created using thousands of pounds of pressure to make a cylindrical pellet that can be inserted under the sin. They are autoclaved in order to be sterile. They are absorbed based on cardiac output (volume of blood pumped by the heart). Hormone pellets are slipped under the skin of either hip, and your body dissolves them. While the pellets dissolve, hormones are slowly infused into your bloodstream establishing a smooth, physiologic level of hormone balance. The pellets generally last 3-5 months. Your hormone levels rise within days after insertion, peak at one month, and slowly drift downwards over the next several months.
Which hormones are included in the pellets?
Both estrogen and testosterone are prepared into bioidentical hormone pellets. Progesterone must be given separately as it is not well absorbed in pellet form. The estrogen pellet contains Estradiol and Estriol (Biest), which restores energy, improves skin texture, and reduces heart attack risk.
What are the advantages of hormone pellets?
Hormone pellets create the steadiest hormone levels with physiologic precision and minimal fluctuation. Moreover, they work for everyone. Since the pellets are easily dissolved by the body, everyone who gets pellets inserted achieves optimized hormone levels quickly and effectively.
How are the pellets inserted? Where are the pellets placed?
The pellets are placed in either hip near your upper buttocks. The area is anesthetized with local numbing medication. This process takes about 30 seconds, and the remainder of the procedure is painless. A small incision (about 3-4mm) is made in the skin. After the incision, all of the pellets are slipped beneath the skin and Steri-strips are placed across the incision. Stitches are not required as the wound is small, so it heals adequately. Immediately after insertion, your body begins eroding the pellets and hormones are released into the bloodstream. Your blood levels will hit their highest level by 30 days (peak) and lowest level over the next 3-6 months.
Where do the pellets go? Do you have to take the pellets out?
The pellets are completely dissolved by the body over time. The pellets never need to be removed. When it is time for another pellet insertion, new pellets are inserted through the previous insertion site.
How often do I get new pellets?
The pellets generally last approximately 3-5months. Everyone is an individual and some patients need pellets placed more frequently while others less frequently. On average, most women need new pellets every 4 months. We tailor your hormone pellet frequency and dosage to your symptoms and blood levels.
How big are the pellets?
The pellets for females are similar to a grain of rice. See picture above (two Biest pellets and one testosterone pellet).
How much does the hormone pellet insertion procedure cost?
The pellet insertion fee can be found on our Pricing Page. We do not upcharge for more pellets or more frequent insertions. The charge is for the procedure without any hidden fees.
What are the risks of the procedure? What are the side effects?
The risks of the procedure are minimal. The most common risk or complication is superficial infections of the skin from the incision that is easily treated with antibiotics. Another risk is bleeding which is easily stopped with pressure, stitches, or topical agents (Drysol). Most patients experience aching in the area of insertion for 1-2 days after the procedure.
When do I get my hormone levels checked?
Generally, we begin checking your hormone levels one month and 3-4 months after insertion. These levels guide our decision on the dosage of pellets to place at your next procedure. Remember that you do not need to fast for hormone levels. The levels at one month are your highest levels (peak), and the levels at 3-4 months are your lowest levels (trough). With these two hormone levels timed appropriately, we are better able to calculate how many pellets you will need for your next insertion.
If this is your follow-up hormone pellet insertion, you may still need to get your hormones checked at 1 month and 4 months if your physician is still dialing in the correct dose for you. Once the right dose is determined, you will only need hormone levels drawn every 4-6 months.