If you’re going through menopause, you may be considering hormone replacement therapy to ease symptoms, like low libido, hot flashes and weight gain. While most therapies come in the form of a pill, patch, gel or cream, James Sosnowski MD, of TriHealth Associates in Ob-Gyn, says there’s another method you may want to try: testosterone pellets.
Testosterone Pellets: How do They Work?
Testosterone pellets are made up of hormones that are fused into small pellets. The pellets, which are slightly smaller than a Tic Tac, are inserted by your doctor, through a small incision, into the hip or buttock area. “The biggest complaint we’ll get is a little bit of soreness or sometimes some bruising in that area for a day or two,” Dr. Sosnowski explains.
You typically start to experience menopausal symptom relief within 24 to 48 hours; however, it could take up to two weeks before you notice a difference.
Testosterone Pellets: What’s the Benefit?
The pellets usually last for three to four months before dissolving on their own. Dr. Sosnowski suggests using the lowest effective dose for the shortest period of time.
Unlike other hormone replacement therapies, like daily creams or pills, which cause spikes or fluctuations in hormone levels, “T-Pellets are a slow, steady release – and that’s the advantage,” Dr. Sosnowski explains.
What’s the Risk of Using T-Pellets?
If you have a blood clotting disorder or thyroid issues you should not be on T-Pellet therapy. Your doctor will perform blood work and test your hormone levels before inserting the pellets to make sure you’re a good candidate. “We want to rule out other metabolic issues before we use this,” Dr. Sosnowski points out.
On the other hand, if you have not gone through menopause, and are considering T-Pellets to ease premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, relieve anxiety and depression, increase energy or improve libido, you must use birth control because these pellets can cause problems during pregnancy. There is also the potential risk of “masculinizing” a female fetus.
Otherwise, a dose of testosterone that's too high could cause:
- Extra hair growth
- Oily skin
Regardless, Dr. Sosnowski reminds women they shouldn’t have to struggle with menopausal symptoms. "This is something that when people are really struggling and have not been able to find that right combination to get them through menopause – whether it’s hot flashes, libido, fatigue or weight gain – it’s something they should consider," he explains.