Hormonal pellets. They are all the rage locally right now. But we’re here to say we are NOT fans! At all. Ever. Nope. Nada. (Get the point?)
What are they? Pellets have been around since 2012. (This is also a concern–they are just now getting implemented in our area, and the science is actually outdated.) They are made up of Estradiol, Progesterone, or Testosterone–or a combination of all three. The “tic tac” size pellets are then inserted into the skin through a small incision in the abdomen, buttocks, or hip. Ideally, they should last 3-5 months before they need to be replaced. Once a pellet is inserted, the dose cannot be adjusted.
It is not uncommon to hear that a patient feels amazing with their first round or two of pellets. But with time, pellets cause increased acne, hair growth, headaches, aggressiveness, spotting, cramping, bloating, and breast tenderness. We see this all the time with patients who come to us after failed pellet therapy!
And in my true fashion, I’m here to explain the WHY behind this.
It all has to do with the liver and metabolic pathways. Everyone has a different genetic makeup, varying metabolism speeds and pathways, and nutrient requirements and depletions. Hormonal balance is also very dependent on the food we eat, the toxins we are exposed to, the weight we carry, how active we are, the stress we endure on a daily basis, previous traumas, and sleep quality. And I don’t have to tell you that every single person is different in all these categories.
Think of it this way: Imagine I give you $3,000. ($1,000 represents each hormone in the pellet.) You put the money in your bank account and leave it. You spend a little each day on the basic essentials like gas, food, and regular bills. A steady amount comes out each time, and the money lasts you 5 months.
Now your friend also gets $3,000. But she loves to have a good time. The next day she’s off on a weekend girls’ trip. There’s lots of alcohol, different food choices, little sleep, and extra money spent on activities. It’s only been a month now and her account is down to $1,000. But it somehow has to last her 4 more months! No way will she manage.
Another friend gets her $3,000. She puts it in the bank and doesn’t hardly touch it for 5 months. She has an excess when the time frame is up. She is now double dipping.
See how this creates a problem? Everyone’s body metabolizes and processes hormones differently. And when you throw life in the mix, you don’t always know what to expect. So things can easily change. But pellets can’t. You’re stuck with what you get. Too little, too much, or maybe on rare occasions, just enough.
At Nebraska Functional Medicine, we take a holistic approach to hormone health. We use comprehensive, up to date testing (spoiler–blood and saliva testing IS NOT ACCURATE!) and look at your individual physiology and lifestyle factors. And we look at ALL the hormones, not just your basic panel. We then use bioidentical creams, patches, pills, or herbal supplements to achieve balance. If something is off, we can easily adjust it right away! And with careful follow-up and monitoring, we can ensure your levels remain stable and safe, for the long haul. (Not to mention, our approach is cheaper than pellets, too.)
So please, ditch the tic tacs. Reach out to us for all of your hormonal needs, male or female. We assure you; you’ll be so happy you did!