Testosterone is a hormone that is extremely important for health in both men and women. It contributes to muscle mass, strength and endurance, decreased fat, increased exercise tolerance, and the enhancement of the sense of well-being and psychological health.

It protects against cardiovascular disease and reduces blood sugar, as well as leads to increased bone density, decrease in cholesterol, improved skin tone, improved healing capacity, and increased libido and sexual performance.

Low levels of testosterone are associated with a number of symptoms relating to sleep, mental health and energy levels in both men and women. Medical literature shows significant advantages for men and women with low testosterone levels when supplemented with bio-identical hormones.

Why Bio-identical Pellet Therapy?

Bio-identical hormones have been studied and used safely to restore and alleviate many of the symptoms caused by low levels of certain hormones, such as testosterone. The technology now exists that allows us to place time-release pellets of approved bio-identical hormones in the fat under the skin to deliver more optimal hormone levels directly into the bloodstream.

Bio-identical hormones have the exact same chemical structure and function as hormones that are made by the human body. The difference between bio-identical hormones versus synthetic non-bio-identical hormones is in the molecular structure (shape) and function of the hormone.

In order for a replacement hormone to fully replicate the function of the hormone naturally produced in our bodies, the chemical structure must exactly match the original. It is the structural differences that exist between bio-identical and non-bio-identical hormones that are responsible for side effects and health risks that occur when humans use non-bio-identical hormones.

 

There are several different ways to treat low testosterone; however, testosterone pellets are the ideal treatment for low testosterone since they provide a patient with a constant level of available testosterone sufficient to meet his/her optimal needs. Testosterone gels have issues with absorption and available levels being inconsistent throughout the day. Injections have issues with spiking peaks and valleys in hormone availability. Oral testosterone supplementation is not a viable option as it gets metabolized in the liver before it gets to the blood stream.

That is why we recommend using bio-identical hormone pellets. The therapy involves placing time-release pellets of approved bio-identical hormones in the fat under your skin to deliver more optimal hormone levels directly into the bloodstream. Testosterone pellet therapy has been used in the United States since 1939 and unlike other treatment options, pellet therapy provides a steady supply of testosterone in a form that is molecularly identical to that which your body produces. This results in the hormone’s normal effects being restored and alleviates many of the symptoms caused by decreased production of hormones.

Testosterone replacement therapy is ongoing. For women, pellet insertions are typically 4 times a year or every 3 months. Insertions for men are typically 3 times a year or every 4 months.

For Men

The effect of declining testosterone levels in men is well documented and accepted—low sex drive, low energy, increased fatigue, and decreased physical strength. However, treating testosterone deficiency can dramatically improve the quality of life and health of men in measurable ways based upon hundreds of recent scientific studies.

Common Symptoms

Men with low testosterone frequently experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Changes in cognition and memory
  • Insomnia and sleep problems
  • Mood swings and dysphoric mood (sadness, depression, anxiety, irritability)
  • Diminished sense of well-being
  • Decreased muscle strength
  • Decreased exercise tolerance
  • Excessive sweating or hot flushes
  • Joint pain and muscular pain
  • Increase in body fat not related to change in diet or exercise
  • Erection difficulties
  • Decreased libido and sexual performance

If some or many of these symptoms apply to you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jones to see if you might benefit from hormone therapy.

Treating Low Testosterone

There are several different ways to treat low testosterone; however, testosterone pellets are the ideal treatment for low testosterone since they provide a patient with a constant level of available testosterone sufficient to meet optimal needs. Testosterone gels have issues with absorption and available levels being inconsistent throughout the day. Injections have issues with spiking peaks and valleys in hormone availability. Oral testosterone supplementation is not a viable option as it gets metabolized in the liver before it gets to the blood stream.

If you are an appropriate candidate for testosterone therapy (determined after baseline blood work and appropriate consultation), you will have a small area of skin at your waist line below the “love handle” area numbed with a local anesthetic. A small cut in the skin of about a 1/6th of an inch (4.5 millimeters) is made in the numb area. A tiny metal tube with a plunger then painlessly inserts the testosterone pellets into the deep fat where you won’t be able to feel it. Steri-strip skin tape is used to cover the small skin opening, which falls off in 4 or 5 days after the skin heals closed. For 5-7 days after the insertion, you should not do high impact activities or put direct pressure on the pellets. Early physical activity is a cause of “extrusion,” which is a pellet working its way out.

You can expect to feel some improvements with in the first week and almost everyone feels the difference within the first three months of therapy. Four weeks after your first insertion, you will be asked to get another blood test and then come in to discuss what you have experienced in symptom relief. Dr. Jones will decide whether any adjustment needs to be done to your future dosage based on your blood test and symptoms.

Men typically require insertion every four months, so you can expect to have 3 insertions in your first year of treatment. You can stop treatment at any time, which will cause your hormone levels to drift back to your pre-treatment levels and your pre-treatment symptoms to return.

Elderly man playing golf

Possible Side Effects

There have been studies in which healthy men were treated with large doses of bio-identical testosterone up to many times the “normal” blood level with no ill effects. In particular, all modern studies of behavior have shown NO increase in aggression with bio-identical testosterone when given to achieve therapeutic levels.

Muscle strength and size will modestly increase with testosterone therapy, which is further enhanced with weight training. You will not get muscularly huge or disproportionate from testosterone pellets.

Sperm counts drop significantly after a month of being on pellet therapy, but this should not be relied upon for birth control. This is reversible and sperm counts will return to your baseline six months after the last pellet insertion.

In most men, the red blood cell count will increase. In a small percentage of men, the red blood cell count will increase above the “normal” range as defined by the laboratories. Depending on your levels and other medical issues, it may be required that you donate blood at an interval determined best for you.

Hair loss may increase with testosterone therapy. Testosterone is converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and it’s the DHT that causes the hair loss. Everyone is different as to how much DHT is formed in the body. There are treatments that can be prescribed to block this process and the hair loss will usually revert back to the previous rate of hair loss.

The most common side effects are bruising and bleeding which are usually infrequent and minor. Rare complications include: hematoma formation, extrusion of the pellets, and infection.

  • Bio-identical hormones are safe and effective
  • Documented benefits for both men and women
  • Provides a steady hormone level for months

For Women

Many women experience the same symptoms as men—and many women are finding relief through pellet replacement therapy.

Although testosterone is a hormone that is generally associated with men and giving men their masculinity, women’s bodies produce testosterone in their ovaries and adrenal glands. In fact, the body makes all the intracellular estrogen it needs from testosterone.

The level of testosterone in women is certainly lower than it is in men, but it is present. Women are more sensitive to testosterone than men and this sensitivity diminishes with age, as does testosterone levels. Women’s testosterone levels peak in their 20s and then decline to around half those peak levels by their 40s. When this happens, women can start experiencing the same symptoms as men with low testosterone—— and many women are beginning to supplement through pellet replacement therapy.

Common Symptoms

Women with low testosterone frequently experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of bone density
  • Changes in cognition and memory
  • Insomnia and sleep problems
  • Mood swings and dysphoric mood (sadness, depression, anxiety, irritability)
  • Diminished sense of well-being
  • Decreased muscle strength and exercise tolerance
  • Excessive sweating, hot flashes and/or night sweats
  • Joint pain and muscular pain
  • Increase in body fat not related to change in diet or exercise
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased libido and sexual function

If some or many of these symptoms apply to you, schedule an appointment with our physicians to see if you might benefit from hormone therapy.

 

Treating Low Testosterone

If you are an appropriate candidate for testosterone therapy (determined after baseline blood work and appropriate consultation), you will have a small area of skin over your buttock numbed with a local anesthetic. A small cut in the skin of about a 1/8th of an inch (3.5 millimeters) is made in the numb area. A tiny metal tube with a plunger then painlessly inserts the testosterone pellet into the deep fat where you won’t be able to feel it. A steri-strip skin tape is used to cover the small skin opening, which falls off in 4 or 5 days after the skin heals closed. After the insertion of the implants, vigorous physical activity is avoided for 48 hours. Early physical activity is a cause of “extrusion,” which is a pellet working its way out.

You can expect to feel some improvements within the first week and almost everyone feels the difference within the first three months of therapy. Four weeks after your first insertion, you will be asked to get another blood test and then come in to discuss what you have experienced in symptom relief. We will decide whether any adjustment needs to be done to your future dosage based on your blood test and symptoms.

Typically, women require pellet insertion every three months, so you can expect to have 4 insertions in your first year of treatment. You can stop treatment at any time, which will cause your hormone levels to drift back to your pre-treatment levels and your pre-treatment symptoms to return.

Possible Side Effects

Testosterone may cause a slight increase in facial hair in some women. This issue resolves as the dosage is decreased. Voice lowering occurs only at extremely high levels and returns to normal as the levels decline. Acne occurs in up to five percent of women, which is the most common side effect to occur and resolves in most instances with a lower dose at the next insertion.

The most common side effects are bruising and bleeding which are usually infrequent and minor. Rare complications include: hematoma formation, extrusion of the pellets, and infection.

Testosterone Therapy FAQs

  • What exactly are hormones?

    Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers responsible for controlling a variety of cellular functions in our bodies. However, even a slight change in hormone levels can have a significant impact on the body.

  • What is testosterone?

    Testosterone is a hormone that is extremely important for health in both women and men. It contributes to muscle mass, strength and endurance, decreased fat, increased exercise tolerance, and the enhancement of the sense of well-being and psychological health.

    It protects against cardiovascular disease and reduces blood sugar, as well as leads to improved lean muscle mass, increased bone density, decrease in cholesterol, improved skin tone, improved healing capacity, and increased libido and sexual performance.

    Low levels of testosterone – a hormone vital to the health and well-being of both men and women – are associated with a number of symptoms relating to sleep, mental health and energy levels.

  • What are the symptoms of testosterone deficiency?

    Both men and women with low testosterone frequently experience:

    • Fatigue
    • Changes in cognition, memory and frequent headaches
    • Insomnia and sleep problems
    • Mood swings and dysphoric mood (sadness, depression, anxiety, irritability)
    • Diminished sense of well-being
    • Decreased muscle strength
    • Excessive sweating or hot flushes
    • Joint pain and muscular pain
    • Thinning, dry skin
    • Insulin resistance and elevated blood glucose levels
    • Increase in body fat not related to change in diet or exercise
    • Decreased libido and sexual function

    If some or many of these symptoms apply to you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jones to see if you might benefit from hormone therapy.

  • How do you test for low testosterone?

    Simple blood tests are done to test for hormone deficiencies, such as low testosterone.

  • How do you treat low testosterone?

    There are several different ways to treat low testosterone; however, we recommend using bio-identical hormone pellets. Unlike other treatment options, pellet therapy provides a steady supply of testosterone in a form that is molecularly identical to that which your body produces. This should result in the hormone’s normal effects being restored and alleviate many of the symptoms caused by decreased production of hormones.

  • What are bio-identical hormones?

    Bio-identical hormones have the exact same chemical structure and function as hormones that are made by the human body. The difference between bio-identical hormones versus synthetic non-bio-identical hormones is in the molecular structure (shape) and function of the hormone.

    In order for a replacement hormone to fully replicate the function of the hormone naturally produced in our bodies, the chemical structure must exactly match the original. It is the structural differences that exist between bio-identical and non-bio-identical hormones that are responsible for side effects and health risks that occur when non-bio-identical hormones are used by humans.

  • Isn’t testosterone deficiency just a men’s health issue?

    Although testosterone is a hormone that is generally associated with men and giving men their masculinity, women’s bodies produce testosterone as well. The level of testosterone in women is certainly lower than it is in men, but it is present. In fact, the body makes all the intracellular estrogen it needs from testosterone.

    Women’s testosterone levels peak in their 20s, and then decline to around half those peak levels by their 40s. Many women experience the same symptoms as men—and many women are beginning to supplement through pellet replacement therapy.

  • Is testosterone replacement therapy safe?

    Medical literature shows significant advantages for men and women with symptoms of low testosterone when supplemented with bio-identical hormones. These include physical, mental and emotional advantages.

    Physical

    • Improvements in blood pressure, cardiac function, strength, fat loss, insulin sensitivity, blood sugar control, cholesterol levels, and bone density
    • Breast cancer regression and protection
    • Prostate cancer protection and possible regression
    • Nerve protection and repair both in the brain and peripherally
    • Increased tissue anti-oxidant levels and decreases inflammation

    Mental

    • Improves cognitive function, balance, memory, spatial orientation, insomnia and may protect from Alzheimer’s

    Emotional

    • Reverses depression, anxiety, aggression, irritability and enhances friendliness, libido, and ones sense of well-being
  • Why should I use bio-identical hormone pellets to treat my low testosterone?

    Unlike other treatment options, bio-identical hormone pellets provide a steady hormone level for months because the extremely small pellets are inserted in the fat under our skin and dissolve over time.

  • What is involved in starting bio-identical hormone therapy?

    You will fill out a brief medical history and a symptoms questionnaire. Dr. Jones will perform a complete history and physical, discuss your symptoms and review the results from your blood test (if you had it drawn prior to your visit.) Alternatively, you can receive a lab test form during your consultation and return in several days to discuss the results of the tests and your appropriateness for this therapy.

    Known risks and side effects are minor and uncommon, though these will be discussed with you as well. If you decide to proceed, it takes less than 15 minutes to insert the pellets. You can resume normal activities (except for swimming and strenuous exercise which require a 5 day wait). You can expect to feel some improvements with in the first week and almost everyone feels the difference within the first 3 months of therapy.

  • What is the follow-up care for bio-identical hormone therapy?

    Four weeks after your first insertion, you will be asked to get another blood test and then come in to discuss with Dr. Jones what you have experienced in symptom relief. We will decide whether any adjustment needs to be done to your future dosage based on your blood test and symptoms.

    Typically, men require insertion every 4 months and women require insertion every three months, so you can expect to have 3 or 4 insertions in your first year of treatment. You can stop BHT treatment at any time, which will cause your hormone levels to drift back to your pre-treatment levels and your pre-treatment symptoms to return.

  • What are the costs associated with testosterone therapy?

    For men, the cost is $1000 per insertion approximately every 4 months. For women, the cost is $500 per insertion approximately every 3 months.

  • Does insurance cover testosterone therapy?

    Some insurance plans cover some of the cost of testosterone pellets; however, patients should check with their providers to see if their plans cover this treatment. Please note that Principal Medical Group is not a participating provider with any insurance plan and patients would need to coordinate directly with their insurance providers for reimbursement.

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