Note: I have made a special pellets page with lots more information. Please refer to that page as it will answer most questions.
I’ve written several blogs on pellets and even dedicated a chapter in my book, “Own Your Journey…..to Natural Hormone Balance,” to pellets and I’m still astounded that in 2016 alone, 25,000 people clicked on and read one blog page in particular: “Pellets-I get asked this question a lot.” I receive emails weekly from pellet-users (I call them victims) who are suffering from the side effects of pellets and, in most cases, having buyer’s remorse. Here is another email I just received recently:
I feel like I have been through hell and back because of my hormones and whatever else may be going on. I have always suspected a thyroid problem but every blood test shows normal results. I stopped having periods at age 55 and was already experiencing severe hot flashes. After years of hot flashes almost every hour of every day, I started taking estradiol. I took it on and off for years and every time I went off, the hot flashes returned. A year ago, I started using pellets, which took away the hot flashes but caused severe thinning of my hair. My last insertion was at the end of September 2016. I am at a loss as to what I should do now because I was told by my doctor that:
-my hair loss is due to the on and off of using hrt (hormone replacement therapy)
-there is no difference between synthetic and bio-identical hormones
I live on the east coast. Please, I desperately need your help. Connie” (name has been changed)
My heart always goes out to women all over the country who suffer when they are treated to a wealth of misinformation and untruths in regards to hormones. Honestly, it is astounding with all of the information we now have on hormone health, the important tasks of hormones, the importance of refilling our hormone receptors as we age, that misinformation and confusion still abounds. Sadly, medical school provides about 4 hours of education on hormones, so to look to our ob gyns and doctors for guidance on our hormone health or options for dealing with hormone issues, doesn’t typically provide us with enough information to make informed decisions. I began my Happy Hormone Cottage in 2009 on the foundation that women MUST OWN THEIR JOURNEY TO HORMONE HEALTH BY FIRST AND FOREMOST BECOMING EDUCATED. The two books I have found most beneficial and informative are:
-“Natural Hormone Balance” by Dr Uzzi Reiss
-“Bioidentical Hormones 101” by Dr Jeffrey Dach
Both are easy-to-read in layman’s terms and provide a wealth of information so we CAN make the most informed choices for our bodies. Especially in this area of hormone balance and imbalance, we MUST become educated so we CAN have a voice in our treatment strategy.
Yes, Connie, there is a plethora of difference between synthetic hormones and bio-identical hormones. Synthetic hormones are DRUGS masking as hormones. Bio-identical hormones are HORMONES created in a lab from plant-based powders, and made to mimic exactly the hormones we produce in our bodies, but as we age, we no longer produce the quantities we need. Why? Because we are aging. Since hormones perform many, many important tasks in our bodies, it makes sense that as we age and our bodies produce fewer amounts of our necessary hormones, that we would suffer from hormone imbalance issues AND be at higher risk for disease.
The second myth perpetuated by Connie’s doctor is that her thinning hair is caused by her erratic use of her estradiol (bio-identical estrogen that comes in pill form and patch form). This is false information. Testosterone pellets in women (who have high alpha-reductase activity) are converted in the body to dht (among other things). DHT is responsible for male-pattern baldness and hair loss. We actually see this issue a lot with our pellet victims and spend much time rebalancing these women. We recommend 4 strategies for women experiencing hair loss as a side effect of their pellets:
-stop getting pellet insertions
-take saw palmetto (inexpensive supplement found at health food stores or on my online store at www.happyhormonecottage.com) to stop this conversion
-take Biotin to help regrow hair
-find a reliable hormone facility to refill hormone receptors using BHRT creams and get rebalanced. You can also give us a call at 513-444-6343 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At my Happy Hormone Cottage, we are ALL about optimal hormone balance in 3 key areas:
Sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone), cortisol and thyroid. As a Functional Medicine facility, we understand the body works together as a whole, so just addressing sex hormones in isolation doesn’t make sense to us, based on the biochemistry of our bodies. We are ALL about REFILLING OUR HORMONE RECEPTORS WITH BIO-IDENTICAL HORMONE CREAMS in physiological dosing (just what each body needs) after we do viable testing that does NOT involve blood labs. Why not? Because blood labs only provide us with a number. We are much more interested in HOW our body is using our hormones (metabolites and methylation pathways). The exception here is with our thyroid. We do use blood labs to initially check thyroid in a 10-point thyroid panel (not the typical tsh and t4 labs) as well as our Thyroflex machine that tests the function of the thyroid at the tissue level, where 85% of our thyroid resides. (To learn more, go to the “thyroid health” web page of my website)
Since we are immersed in the biochemistry of our bodies, with a functional medicine approach, we understand the importance and role of each hormone and how critical it is to balance these levels as we are refilling our receptors. We also pay attention to cortisol patterns and adrenal fatigue and heal these in conjunction with our optimal hormone balance. There is nothing about balance with pellets. Only one hormone (typically) is used and it is used in a supra-physiological dose based on blood labs. With all of the information we have at our disposal, we understand that pellets simply don’t make sense based on the biochemistry of our bodies. They are a good money-maker for the pellet manufacturer and for the doctor inserting them; but we have found nothing but a world of hurt in regards to the women “victims” coming to us from pellets. The bottom line for me is to know your stuff and do your research so you can make an informed decision. Simply taking someone’s word for it is a high price to pay for your health.
Read more about our view on pellets here