As we age, we begin to see many changes occurring in the body. These may come in the form of a lack of energy, lack of ability to lose weight or keep weight off, lack of the ability to build muscle tone, lack of libido or sexual desire, lack of rest at night and many others. In women, there are other symptoms associated with the onset of menopause, such as night sweats, headaches, irritability, vaginal dryness, or others.
In many cases, a large number of these symptoms are the result of a lack of testosterone. As we age, our body slows down its testosterone production (and yes, both men and women produce testosterone). More and more studies are being evaluated that determine that low testosterone is the cause of many of the above-mentioned symptoms.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are pellets?
Data supports that testosterone pellets effectively treat symptoms in both men and women. Pellets, placed under the skin, consistently release small, physiologic doses of testosterone providing optimal therapy without adverse effects.
Pellets, or implants are made up of hormones (i.e. testosterone) that are pressed or fused into very small solid cylinders. These pellets are not much larger than a grain of rice and smaller than a ‘Tic Tac’. In the United States, the majority of pellets are made by compounding pharmacists and delivered in sterile glass vials.
Pellets deliver consistent, healthy levels of hormones for 3-4 months in women and 4-5 months in men. They avoid the fluctuations, or ups and downs, of hormone levels seen with other methods of delivery. This is important for optimal health and disease prevention. Pellets do not increase the risk of blood clots like conventional or synthetic hormone replacement therapy.
In studies, when compared to conventional hormone replacement therapy, pellets have been shown to be superior for relief of menopausal symptoms, maintenance of bone density, restoration of sleep patterns, and improvement in sex drive, libido, sexual response and performance.
Testosterone delivered by a pellet implant, has been used to treat migraine and menstrual headaches. It also helps with vaginal dryness, incontinence, urinary urgency and frequency. In both men and women, testosterone has been shown to increase energy, relieve depression, increase sense of well-being, relieve anxiety and improve memory and concentration. Testosterone, delivered by pellet implant, increases lean body mass (muscle strength, bone density) and decreases fat mass. Men and women need adequate levels of testosterone for optimal mental and physical health and for the prevention of chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, which are associated with low testosterone levels.
Even patients who have failed other types of hormone therapy have a very high success rate with pellets. There is no other ‘method of hormone delivery’ that is as convenient for the patient as the implants. Implants have been used in both men and women since the late 1930’s. There is significant data that supports the use of testosterone implants in both men and women.
How long before a patient notices the results from pellet insertion?
Some patients begin to ‘feel better’ within 24-48 hours while others may take a week or two to notice a difference. Diet and lifestyle, along with hormone balance are critical for optimal health. Stress is a major contributor to hormone imbalance and illness. Side effects and adverse drug events from prescription medications can interfere with the beneficial effects of the testosterone implant.
How long do the pellets last?
The pellets usually last between 3-4 months in women and 4-5 months in men. The pellets do not need to be removed. They completely dissolve on their own.
How are hormone levels monitored during therapy?
Hormone levels may be drawn and evaluated before therapy is started. This may include an FSH, estradiol, and testosterone (free and total) for women. Men need a PSA (prostate specific antigen), sensitive estradiol, testosterone, LH, liver profile and blood count prior to starting therapy. Thyroid hormone levels (TSH) may also be evaluated.
In men, follow-up levels, including a PSA, blood count and estradiol, may be obtained prior to subsequent testosterone implantation. Men must notify their primary care physician and obtain a digital rectal exam each year. Women are advised to continue their monthly self-breast exam and obtain a mammogram and/or pap smear as advised by their gynecologist or primary care physician.
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