Women at any age may experience hormone imbalance. Hormone levels decline or fluctuate contributing to severe PMS, hot flashes, night sweats, postpartum depression, headaches, fatigue, low libido, and sleeping disorders. Birth control pills can also cause hormone imbalances. For many women, hormone pellets can be an effective remedy to balance hormone levels.
What are Hormone Pellets?
Using pellets in hormone replacement therapy began in the late 1930s. Pellets are made up of primarily estradiol or testosterone, which are usually derive from plant sources like soybeans, beets, or yams. These hormones are pressed into very small cylinders that are a little larger than a grain of rice.
Dr. Darrin Cunningham at Creekside Center for Women has prescribed pellets for over ten years for women with hormone balance issues. According to Dr. Cunnigham,
“Hormone pellets last three to six months before they dissolve. The benefit of pellets is that women avoid the fluctuations of hormone levels seen with other methods and don’t have to take a pill every day or put cream on. Pellets offer a more continuous hormone level because the hormones are absorbed regularly.”
How are Hormones Levels Monitored?
At your first visit, we draw lab tests including, estradiol, progesterone, free testosterone, and others as deemed necessary based on your history. We reevaluate levels during hormone therapy after the first three months and again in six months. Once we determine that your dosing is stable, we will test labs each year.
How are Pellets Inserted and is there a risk?
We place the pellets under the skin using local anesthesia at the hip or the low pelvis with a tiny incision. The primary risks would be bruising or infection, similar to a shot. We advise patients to avoid swimming, hot tubs, and baths for two days and to avoid vigorous physical activity for 48 hours as well.
What can women expect after pellet insertion?
Some patients notice that after pellet insertion they have more energy, sleep better and feel happier. They may also experience increased strength, coordination and physical performance.
“Most women will begin to feel the positive benefits of the hormone pellets within a few days,” said Dr. Cunningham. “Many begin feeling increased energy, and an improved sense of wellbeing. Over time, they can also see improved muscle mass and bone density.”
Does insurance pay for this treatment?
Insurance often covers the lab tests due to your medical condition (with hormone imbalance or menopausal symptoms being the most common). Occasionally insurance companies will cover the pellets, but many times the cost will be out of pocket. We use a certified lab to make your pellets. You will work with the lab directly to pay for the pellets to minimize your expense. Usually, the cost is about $50 a month for the pellets. We bill the insurance company for the office visit. There could be out of pocket expense based on your deductible, out of pocket requirements, and your plan.
How Do I get Started?
Call Creekside Center for Women at 479-582-9268 located next to Willow Creek Women’s Hospital for a consult. We look forward to seeing you soon.