Thoughts on pellets? - Ellen Dolgen
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Thoughts on pellets?

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!




49 thoughts on “Thoughts on pellets?”

  1. 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.

    1. Catherine Rourke – I agree with you 100% I have been on BioTE Pellets for 4 years and it has saved my marriage and life! Ellen I’m sorry you haven’t encountered a certified provider that has the expertise and experience to help you. Perhaps if you tried them you would see the advantages of improving your health. While there are some providers that do not follow the program there are so many more that dedicate the time and energy on helping people the correct way. I do not have any of the side effects you mentioned – never have. But 28 years after my hysterectomy and numerous pills, creams, and patched (which all had terrible side effects) I feel better than ever> No longer take a sleeping pill, anti-inflammatory, pain pill or gout medication. My diabetes has improved as well as my love life. While pellets may not be for everyone I’m so thankful I found them and a doctor that cares enough for his patients to provide them.

    1. 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!!

      1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  4. 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.)

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

      1. 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.

    1. 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.

  11. Ellen
    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

    1. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

  13. I have been on BioTE for one month and my already thin hair is falling out. Other than that I don’t feel any different than before. I was just prescribed Spironolactone to combat the hairloss. I hope and pray it works. I have two months left before the pellets wear off. I will not be getting them again. It was a huge mistake for me.

    1. Beth, you are not alone. I have had many women email me about this very issue. That is why I am not a fan of the pellet. If you were on a testosterone cream, you could have immediately reduced your dose and prevented the hair loss. Hang in there………..Sending your hugs.

  14. I’ve been on my first pellet for three months now. It’s the craziest thing I’ve done. The first month was amazing. I’ve been married 39 years and my husband was in heaven, and do so I. I felt so good to have that part of me back. Then the crazy started. I felt like I was chasing a high. I wanted something and didn’t know what it was. I started having cravings for anything that was bad for me. I pretty much grounded myself to my house fearing what I might do. I’ve.been sober for 30 years and wanted to stay that way. Has anyone else experienced this. I can’t wait for things to settle down. I just want something that will help with my sex drive and not make me so crazy.

    1. This is one of the reasons, that I am not a fan of the pellets. Once the pellet is injected it is very hard to change the dose. I would definitely speak to your Menopause Specialist to discuss the possibility of switching to testosterone cream. With the cream, you can adjust the dosage when you find that it is not working for you. Good Luck!

  15. I get what you say about the pellets but after over a year of trying patches and creams with a good compounding pharmacy and a good doctor and lots of blood work I am at the end of my rope. Trans-dermal methods simply do not work for me and oral is in my opinion a bad way to go. I was on .75 mg grams estriol and .75 mg of estradiol biest and my estradiol levels only went up to .15!!! The patch brought it up to .50 but I have to change them more often than recommended and I always get a headache on patch change day. Basically I have about two okay days a week and the rest not so good. I’m going in tomorrow to get pellets. My Doctor does not give insanely high dose pellets like some doctors give. She designates the strength and has them made through a compounding pharmacy – This is not Soto or BioTe. I asked for a lower dose since I figure you can always add more and she was very supportive. I honestly wanted to go another route but I don’t think I have a choice. I am afraid to get the pellets but I have to try. I have read there are some women that have had success with the pellets when other methods have failed. Fingers crossed I’m one of them.

  16. I got my second round approximately a month ago and it has been a nightmare!
    My first round was amazing! I felt better than I have in years and I was convinced that this was finally the answer to my prayers! I was so excited about my future……until I got the second round. I have now had a migraine for approximately 3 weeks, I have stayed nauseated for the past two, no matter what I do I have felt completely and utterly exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally. The side effects from my second round of pellets have impaired my entire body for the worst; cognitive function, muscular, speech, sensory, mood, etc. I have never felt so bad in my entire life. I have many symptoms of MS except it is being caused by the pellets. I am having to ride out this hell until the pellets dissolve and I hope they dissolve a lot sooner than later.

    1. Nicole, I am so sorry that you are dealing with all of this. I do not recommend pellets because of this very problem. Once the pellet is inserted, it is very difficult to moderate the results if you find the dose is not correct. Find a new Menopause Specialist who will prescribe bio-identical FDA approved hormone therapy as your next course of treatment. I have lots of tips on how to find a Menopause Specialist in my free eBook, Chapter 13. Also, here

  17. I received my 1st and last pellett in may of 2018. I have gone through nothing but hell every since the 2nd day. I have had headaches, itching down below, have to wax my lip and face every other day. My breasts have been very tender and my nipples kill me and will not relax at all. I have been sleeping non stop, no energy what so ever. Hot flashes like crazy. I am 62 year old single woman who went through menopause in my 30’s. Have had no libido and don’t really care. Ok them putting a pellet in a 62 year old single is crazy. I thought it was the magic pill. Suppose to take care of depression, give you energy galore. The magic pills of all pills. Blood pressure has gone up. Libido has gone up which is not a good thing for I am single and don’t want a man. It has been hell. Can not stop itching down there no matter what I try. I am not a happy camper. I didn’t have any problems of hot flashes and facial hair and staying awake before I got it. What in the world are they doing giving it to someone who is not having problems but just wanted to sleep at night and have energy. I could go on forever. It is nothing else but a big scam just like everything else. i hope we get a chance to take you people to court cause there is a lot of us who want to take you there. Oh and i never use to cry and that is all I do now. So that is my opinion.

    1. Mary, I am so sorry that you are dealing with all of this. As you can see from the above post on pellets, I am not a fan of pellets for exactly this reason. Once the pellet is inserted, it is very difficult to moderate the dosage. Hopefully, these symptoms will dissipate soon. It would be helpful for you to find yourself a good menopause specialist to help you deal with all of this. I have some tips here that will help you find one.

  18. Giving an update for anyone who is interested. I wish I never had the testosterone pellet or at least started at a lower dose, and mine was low or at least what my provider called low(90mg). Apparently the average dose they give out is 125 (yikes). The estrogen pellet was not a problem. My level never went above 89 and after 4 months was around 60 when it was time to reinsert. The last T pellet I had was 25mg with minimal side effects (slight headache for just a few days) and no hair loss but it wore off too soon. My T level on this pellet was in the high normal range. I’m back on the T cream as a trial since I don’t require high levels. I’m also going to try the name brand estrogen patch since I heard it’s better and I have better insurance now. I think pellets have their place but it’s a pity that doctors don’t start at much lower doses. If they would have started me on the lower testosterone dose I would not have lost my hair. If you want to try pellets INSIST on the lowest dose first. If the provider won’t listen, go to another one. I also suggest trying other methods first to see how your body will react. I will say this, Testosterone does help with depression but it doesn’t take super high doses to get this effect. My E levels are not that of a 20 year old but I sleep fairly well and my sex drive is ‘good enough’. We’ll see how the patch goes.

    1. Hi Shiva2012, I am so sorry that you had to deal with all of this. Thanks for sharing your story. We can learn so much from each other. BTW I have to be on the name brand estradiol patch……..the generic doesn’t work for me!

    2. Not yikes for everyone & your experience is NOT everyone’s. I am grateful for the pellets & recommend them. And I’m up to 112 and will likely need to go up even more, so yes 125 is not too high… 🙂

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