Thoughts on pellets?

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Dear Ellen,

I have been hearing a lot about pellets lately.  What are your thoughts on pellets as an option for HRT?




Dear Alicia,

I know that many women use pellets and seem to feel good.  Possibly the best thing about them is the convenience.  However, here are some of the complaints that I hear:

  1. Implanting hormones under the skin requires a small surgical procedure which sometimes is painful.
  2. Sometimes the area gets really red and sore.
  3. Women sometimes complain that they get a HUGE burst in the beginning and then it tapers off too much.  There is some talk that this may be due to the fact that different hormones metabolize quicker than others.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of pellets because you can’t easily tweak the dose once it is inserted.  If you are taking your HRT in the form of a patch/pill/cream, it is easy to tweak the dose when you need to.

If you choose to go this route, please keep me posted on your thoughts and experience.

Good Luck!



After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.

  • Catherine Rourke

    Regarding your Sept. 10 post on hormone pellets:

    Have you checked out SottoPelle? It is the only pellet therapy that uses customized doses of natural bio-identical hormones based on the individual patient’s needs. I have been on it for nearly 10 years and my menopausal symptoms vanished without any negative side effects. In fact, I have never felt better in my life.

    For me, it was not about convenience but about finding the safest and most effective approach to help restore my normal physiology. My vitality soared, my cholesterol returned to normal, and I lost weight without any lifestyle or dietary changes. My bone density increased, my fibrocystic breast tissue went away and my energy and libido came back.

    I have recommended SottoPelle to dozens of women over the years and they all came back to thank me. None of us ever experienced any discomfort during insertion or ensuing redness or soreness. I have had flu shots more painful than any pellet insertions!

    Perhaps you may have heard negative reports due to other forms of pellet therapy that use generic one-size-fits-all doses. But SottoPelle’s unique system provides continual hormone distribution and the doctors always start patient with the lowest dose and monitor it carefully. The dose is then slowly increased if necessary. With this system, there are no hormone peaks and valleys or surges.

    That’s because the pellet is the only hormone delivery system that allows the body to control the release of hormone exactly when it is needed — round the clock just like our body’s hormones whose release is regulated by the heart rate and not by artificial chemicals.

    By the way, I’m an investigative medical reporter who stumbled upon SottoPelle while researching alternative hormone therapies in 2002 after the Women’s Health Initiative reported the negative effects of synthetic hormone replacement therapy in post-menopausal women. According to my research and experience, hormone methods that employ pills, patches, creams or troches may provide temporary relief but they also have toxic side effects that build residually over time.

    I would never take anything without thoroughly checking it out first, nor would I recommend it if this approach hadn’t worked for me as well as so many women I know. It got us through menopause with ease, grace and comfort and made a dramatic difference in the health of our bones, breasts, brains and hearts.

    Hope this helps and thank you for posting my comments.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Thanks for sharing your journey!

  • Roxanne

    Thanks so much for the much needed information.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      I’s my mission to give women the information they need to help them become their own health advocates! So, I am very happy this info is helpful to you!!

      • rosemary mohl

        One of the things no one likes to talk about is the affect of menopause on a woman’s career. While night sweats, sleeplessness, vaginal dryness, etc. are inconvenient, they normally result in unemployment. Forgetting key information, like a client’s name, scheduled appointment, misplacing records, and general confusion don’t promote client confidence, however, and can shut down a business that centers around client relationships and confidentiality. Other substitutes, ie oral meds, didn’t work because of a IBS condition. Creams and “natural” patches were ineffective. To find something that was individually composed to fit exactly what was missing helped all the lights go back on in 48 hours. I got to keep my health and my career.

        • Ellen Dolgen

          Thanks, Rosemary, for sharing your story. I am so happy you found something that worked for you!

  • Barbara Rogers

    I have been receiving pellets for the past 7 or 8 years from SottoPelle (Dr. Robinson). The procedure is painless and the pellets promote a feeling of well being. It has relieved all of the menopausal symptoms. Over the years I have reduced the amount of testosterone due to skin breakouts. The only thing that I’ve noticed is that the pellets don’t seem to last as long as they use to. I use to be able to last for 6 months without returning menopausal symptoms but now it only helps for about 3 to 4 months. I do like the convenience of the pellets. It eliminates the use of synthetic hormone drugs.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Barbara, many women complain about bursts of feeling great and then tapering off. With a transdermal patch or a cream you can tweak the doses better.

  • gayle

    i’ve been on replacement therapy since 06 with sottopelle, extremely happy with results. i have recommended and will continue to do so.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Gayle.

  • I started the SottoPelle hormone implant therapy in 2004. At that time, I was on six different medications for everything from attention deficit disorder to migraine headaches, depression, debilitating back pain, not to mention severe hot flashes! I was initially afraid to try something as permanent as a pellet inserted under my skin, but I was desperate for some kind of life outside of my misery. I was afraid that it might be painful, that complications could arise, and myriad other concerns, but the fact is: there were zero negative side effects! My life took a complete 180° after about three months on the therapy. Some of my symptoms, like hot flashes disappeared within 24 hours! After a very short while, I was able to dump all my medications and lose 30 pounds in the process! The best part was having my family asking what on earth had happened to me! My moods changed almost immediately. I was happier and easier to get along with. All of a sudden, having sex seemed like a good thing again. A REALLY good thing! Parts of me that had dried up and gone away, were suddenly alive again! I am now 66 years old and most people have a hard time believing I’m 50. I have age progression pictures, documenting the changes every years since I started the therapy and most people are blown away by the changes that occurred in me from the beginning til now. I honestly don’t think I’ve aged one bit in the past 10 years, since starting the therapy. My body feels like I’m 20 again! I have told several people about this over the years and I still get thank you notes from ladies I only met once. Don’t be afraid for a moment! It doesn’t hurt at all, and it WILL change your life! (I’m such a cheerleader for this that I often get asked if I work for Dr. Tutera. I don’t.)

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Kay, thanks for sharing your story. there is no one-size-fits all solution. Every woman needs to find a solution that works best for them.

    • joy

      Me too. I felt sane. People have to keep going and not quit after one insertion, it sometimes takes more than a few. Also, they must follow aftercare . No swimming, Jacuzzis etc. Then there are no problems.

  • Sandra Morrow

    I am a 59 year old female. My periods stopped this past January, 2014.(I know, a bit old, but I followed the pattern of my mother!) I immediately started having terrible hot flashes, day & night sweating, & BAD moods! I had no energy & felt extremely fatigued. My poor husband bore the brunt of my symptoms. A friend told me about the Sottopelle therapy. After researching many treatments, I decided the pellets were ideal for me. I really like how the lab results they perform tell EXACTLY what your body needs. No guess work! The insertion was a piece of cake.It took about 5 minutes in the Dr’s office-not something I consider a “surgical” procedure! I didn’t feel a thing, except for a tiny sting. 3 days after the procedure, my sweating & flashes were gone! I have had the pellets for a month. I feel tremendous-lots of energy, no flashing, no body odor, my skin looks better, & the sex life is back! So far, I love the convenience of not dealing with a treatment on a daily or weekly basis. The fact the Sottopelle therapy is bio-identical is a huge deal for me. I may need to go for a “booster” pellet, depending on the next blood work results. Once my levels are properly adjusted, pellets should last 4-6 months, depending on my hormone requirements. The body utilizes what it needs, eliminating the “roller coaster” effect. I am so happy with the results. My smile is back on my face & my good attitude & humor has returned. My husband is so amazed with my results, he’s going to go get HIS hormones checked!

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Sandra.

  • I too am on pellets with SottoPelle. It is the best thing that ever happened to me. My libido sky rocketed, my mental clarity increased and my energy soared. I have never had a painful insertions. I agree, I have had shots worse than an insertion. I have also found it the most effective way physically and financially to regulate my hormones. My husband even does pellets for his low testosterone. His mental clarity and sex drive are improved as is his muscle capacity to lift weights. Patches and creams were not effective as they rubbed off and weere costly. I highly recommend finding a provider with SottoPelle or even coming to see Dr.Tutera who is the expert in this field. Life could not be better!

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Julie, thanks for sharing your story! Glad you are leading a happy, healthy life.

  • Winnie Taradash

    From age 70, I slowly felt my spirits going down hill. I had no libido, felt dislike for men, was losing energy and desire for hobbies I had enjoyed in my life. Heard about SottoPelle and decided to try the pellets. After the initial blood test and then meeting Dr. Tutera, his first words to me were “Winnie, I want you to know you are not crazy.” I almost broke down crying – he “knew” how I was feeling inside.
    Two weeks after the first pellet I was on the tennis court and someone asked if I had been taking lessons. When I said no, he said, “Well, you flying all over the court and going for balls I know you can’t get, but you get them.” I inwardly smiled — wondering if it was the pellet. Then after another week, when I noticed a certain man on the court, I asked the ladies if he was married. They said no, that he was a really nice person, and I should go after him. WELL I DID. Earl and I have been together now over three years and we have a great sex life because my libido returned in full force.
    I have renewed energy – take piano lessons, cycle, attend lectures on Shakespeare, and just don’t stop.
    I love life!
    There is absolutely no pain in the insertion of the pellet – and I do not experience ups and downs during the cycle.
    I just celebrated my 75th — I AM WOMAN . . . HEAR ME ROAR!!!!!!!!!!!
    Winnie Taradash

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Thanks for sharing your story, Winnie. Every woman is different. Happy you found what worked best for you!

  • Sharon

    I started with Sotto Pelle when I was 54. I had not had a period in 7 years prior to that, but 4 months after my first implant I started to bleed. They had me take progesteron for 10 days to regulate the bleeding. Eventually, I was bleeding 24/7, and very heavy. I went to my gynocologist for testing, and was diagnosed with uterine cancer and had a full hysterectonomy and 4 rounds of internal radiation. I am attributing this to Sotto Pelle, therefore, I cannot recommend it to anyone who has not had a hysterectonomy.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Thanks for sharing your story, Sharon. Sending you healing thoughts….

  • Carol Allen

    I have been getting the pellets for 7 years now. I have had a sore insertion sight a few times that lasted for a week or so but nothing too uncomfortable. Most of them are hardly felt. I always ice the site like instructed afterward and that seems to help. I am 82 years young and feel great and wouldn’t use anything else. My daughter is now getting them and is quite happy with the results also.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Carol, it is amazing to me that you had pellets inserted at 75 years old. Were you having menopause symptoms?

  • Brooke

    I would love to know if anyone here has tried the bioTE pellet therapy. I am 43 and have been battling with menopause symptoms for several years and now have confirmation that I am in early menopause. I basically have no hormones and have been told by my dr that the bioTE pellets can help me. Thoughts please. Thanks you!

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Hi Brooke so glad you reached out. You can find my thoughts on pellets in this Dear Ellen. Be sure to download my new free eBook,
      MENOPAUSE MONDAYS: The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving During Perimenopause and Menopause and learn about all the options of treatments. Also, download my free Menopause Symptoms Chart and start charting your symptoms.

      • Brooke

        Thank you Ellen! I have downloaded the book and will download the chart today. I am so glad to have found a site where I can talk to someone who has walked this walk.

        • Ellen Dolgen

          Feel free to circle back with me, anytime! Take good care of YOU!

    • Joy

      I’ve been on Sotto Pelle for 15 yrs. I’m 63 now. I did go 4 times a yr for yrs, and now I’m going every 8 months. I forget sometimes, once I get them I feel so much better. Good for osteoporosis too, and sex when I was your age.I will start going 2 times a yr again. The improvement is undeniable.

  • Sandra S. Beall

    I have been on BioTE® pellets for 3 years. I am 74 years young and they have made a huge difference in my life. I usually have to do my pellets about every 5 months. I believe if you have a good doctor (which I do) who tests to see how your levels are doing, they can adjust the next insertion time. This last time I had it done, I did not have any reactions at all. It just seemed to continue with the great feelings that I have been having. The only problem is that medicare does not recognize this treatment. So I have to pay $300 each 5-6 months and then file for reimbursement of the surgical procedure (about $78).

    The worst thing happened, though, was when I had changed doctors to our local UAB-Huntsville which trains interns and residents in family practice. I was meeting with my doctor about something and the supervising doctor came in to the discussion. We were talking about bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and how wonderful it was making me feel. [ I had a hysterectomy when I was 36, so never knew when menopause hit.] His comment was “At your age, you have no need for hormones, and some other negative things about what we were talking about. Needless to say, I changed family practice immediately. [They also refused. to continue my ADHD therapy and refused to continue my adderall. They took me off with nothing to replace it. Horrible experience]

    Anyway, I have been very pleased with the BioTE® pellets therapy. In fact, it has been my salvation. I still work, I do not feel nor look like I am 74. And I am planning on living until my 90’s. As long as I can keep going, I will. Check out this link for it:

    Right now, I have only found 2 doctors in this area that do these pellets. But, we really need our insurance to recognize this as a viable alternative to some of the other methods. Since oral has to go though your stomach, and I always found problems with the patches, I think this is the best of all world.

    Sandra Beall
    Huntsville, AL

    • Thanks for sharing your story. I think we need lots of options of HT as there is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, pellets would not be my first choice for HT. Mainly because I receive so many emails from women who experienced horrible side effects from incorrect dosings like too much estrogen or too much testosterone with can result in acne, hair loss, and unusual emotional outbursts. Once inserted, the pellet can’t be removed. There is no way of really tweaking the dosage after the pellet is inserted. You just have to wait it out. When you take transdermal HT if you find that a woman needs less or more it is easy to tweak the dosage.

  • Melinda Varnadore

    I have been on the SottoPelle pellets for the past ten years. I am now 61. I was already post menopausal when I started. For me it was a life saver. I will never be without again. Hot flashes stoped within a week. The mood swings, crying all of the time & lack of libido also stoped. It was a life changer for me & my husband. I would recommend to anyone I know. I can actually tell when they are wearing off. Of course the downside is the expense but when your talking about your health it’s a no brainer for me. You just have to plan ahead and do without a few things.

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Melinda. I am happy they were successful for you.

    • Terri Pouliot

      Thank you Melinda for sharing your experience since I’ve tried everything and nothing works. A friend just told me about the bio t pellet and I want the try it but some women on different posts are saying it isn’t safe and they had hair loss, got breast cancer, etc. so I’m nervous since my mom had breast cancer so it runs in my family.