Hormone Pellet Therapy and Menopause Is It Safe?

Hormone Pellet Therapy and Menopause

Is It Safe?




Pellet hormone therapies are gaining popularity in alternative medicine settings as “safer” or more “natural” alternatives to prescription hormone therapies for mid-life women experiencing perimenopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats, decreased libido, and more. Small pellets containing estrogen, progesterone and/or testosterone are inserted under the skin (subcutaneously) via injection by a practitioner every three months. The formulations of hormones are individually determined and compounded. Hormone amounts are determined by hormone testing supported by the patient’s reported symptoms. Unlike prescription hormone therapy, pellets are not FDA-approved. The FDA tests products for purity, potency, efficacy, and safety. Here is a quick summary of the advantages and disadvantages:





Advantages: Subcutaneous administration bypasses the liver and avoids gastrointestinal problems that can occur with oral hormone therapy. It’s convenient, and one injection is good for three months.  


Disadvantages: It is a surgical procedure and that comes with risk for infection. Up to 20% of participants find they have the wrong dosage and need to return for additional pellet implantation. Once the pellets are inserted, they are almost impossible to remove if the patient has adverse side effects or too much hormone. Serum estrogen levels fluctuate within minutes throughout the day, making hormone testing inadequate to determine the correct hormone dosage. Side effects include pain at insertion site (in 20% of patients), local infection, bleeding/oozing at insertion site, pellet expulsion, and unscheduled bleeding. Finally, hormone pellet therapy is not FDA-approved. Pellet therapy can be expensive, and insurance usually does not cover. 


Bottom line: Pellet therapy is not recommended by leading medical organizations. Prescription hormone therapies come in a wide variety of options for delivery, so stick to FDA-approved hormones and talk to your provider to see what works best to manage your symptoms.







estrogen, health education, hormone health, hormone therapy, menopause, women's health

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