Customized hormone replacement therapy provides women and men with options to alleviate the multitude of symptoms that are caused by hormone deficiency or imbalance. Dr. Livnat is a board-certified gynecologist who specializes in age management, treatment of hormone deficiencies, and cosmetic gynecology surgery.
What is Hormone Deficiency?
Hormones play a pivotal role in the regulation of the body’s function. They serve as specialized chemical messengers that target our cells and control our metabolism. Hormone deficiencies or imbalances can lead to serious medical problems. Sex hormones in women known as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone are produced mainly by the ovaries and start to decline in the pre-menopause.
This decline may be associated with a multitude of symptoms which include the following:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Painful intercourse
- Osteoporosis (low bone density)
- Impaired memory and concentration
- Mood swings
- Decreased libido
In men, the sex hormone known as testosterone is produced mainly by the testicles. Testosterone plays a critical role in maintaining youthful neurological and muscular function as well as normal sexual function. It is also responsible for preserving and regulating various metabolic processes in the body such as glucose and insulin function.
The age-related decline of testosterone levels in men may be associated with the following symptoms:
- Decreased libido and sexual function
- Abnormal lean muscle to fat ratio
- Low energy
- Decreased cognitive function
- Decreased muscle mass and strength
- Sleep difficulties
- Abnormal glucose and lipid profile
Bioidentical Pellet Therapy
Bioidentical estrogen and testosterone pellets have the exact chemical structure as hormones that are produced in the human body and are formulated from natural sources, such as yam and soy. The scientific research has demonstrated that bioidentical hormone replacement is far better than synthetic non-human preparations. The time-release pellets are placed in the fat under the skin to deliver a consistent hormone level directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the gastrointestinal tract and the liver. The optimized hormone levels may result in significant improvement in the quality of life and the feeling of wellbeing, however the result may vary and are not guaranteed.
The Benefits of Pellet Therapy for Women
In women approaching the premenopausal years, a steady decline in estrogen and testosterone levels occur. After menopause, the hormone levels are extremely low and the associated menopausal symptoms get worse. The bioidentical estrogen and testosterone contained in the pellets are absorbed directly into the bloodstream and are not altered by the liver as oral hormone preparations.
The following benefits are associated with the bioidentical pellet treatment:
- Increased bone density
- Decreased hot flashes and night sweats
- Improved sleep patterns
- Improved sexual response and performance
- Improved vaginal lubrication
- Decrease in urinary symptoms
- Relief from anxiety, irritability and depression
- Improved cognition and memory
The Benefits of Pellet Therapy for Men
Testosterone levels in men start to decline in the mid-thirties, however there is great variability among men. The symptoms of testosterone imbalance have been already described above.
Optimizing testosterone levels with the bioidentical hormone pellets may be associated with the following benefits:
- Increased physical strength
- Increased and improved energy levels
- Increased mental clarity and cognition
- Increased lean body mass and reduced body fat
- Increased interest in sex
- Improved erections
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved glucose and lipid profiles
The dose of the pellets is customized for the patient and depends on symptoms, physical examination, and blood levels. A comprehensive history, including prostate health and PSA levels, is obtained during the consultation.
How are the Pellets Inserted?
The pellets are made by a reputable compounding pharmacy with strict control of strength and sterility. The size of the bioidentical pellet is equal to the size of a grain of rice. The insertion process is painless and takes only a few minutes in the doctor’s office. After a comprehensive consultation, which includes a physical examination and review of the hormone blood levels, Dr. Livnat determines the dose of the pellets that will be inserted. When compared to other forms of hormone replacement, pellets have been proven to be more effective in improving the symptoms of menopause or testosterone imbalance in men (also known as Andropause). The pellets provide a steady hormone level for 3 to 4 months but vary from patient to patient and may be effective up to 6 months.
Is Bioidentical Pellet Therapy Right for Me?
Bioidentical hormone pellets have been available since the 1930’s and their safety and benefits have a long track record. Testosterone replacement therapy in any form (pills, patches, gels, injections, pellets) is FDA approved only for men who are diagnosed with a condition called Hypogonadism. Treatment for any of the symptoms that are associated with testosterone imbalance is considered off-label and is not FDA approved.
The pellets are recommended for women and men for the following reasons:
- Pellets provide an alternative to synthetic hormones or traditional delivery methods such as pills, injections, creams and skin patches.
- Pellets provide a consistent and constant delivery of natural hormones into the bloodstream
- Pellets provide health benefits of bioidentical hormones and the convenience of 4-6 months of consistent hormone levels.
What do I do Next?
Call the office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Livnat. You will complete a brief medical history and symptoms questionnaire. Dr. Livnat will discuss your symptoms, review the results from your blood tests, and perform an examination. There are a few contraindications to the use of hormone replacement, such as a history of breast cancer, blood clots, phlebitis, and coronary heart disease. In men, a large symptomatic prostate may be a contraindication. The fee for the pellet insertion is $500.00 and the pharmacy cost of the pellets depends on the dose and number of pellets inserted.