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HORMONE THERAPY

Hormone Pellets vs. Cream: What's Best for HRT?

When you begin hormone replacement therapy (HRT) you are going to have a lot of questions about the benefits, risks, side effects and even the mode of delivery. Two of the most popular options are hormone pellets for convenience and hormone creams for flexibility and performance. They are two very different options, each with advantages and risks – but the creams are more accurate and perform better overall.

Hormone Pellets

Hormone pellets have become a popular choice for women who need HRT because they provide convenience. Once the hormone pellets are implanted under the skin, they release the hormones into the bloodstream for up to months at a time. But there are disadvantages to this mode of delivery. One of the most significant problems with hormone pellet therapy is the fact that you can't change dosing after you implant it. Once the pellet is implanted, you will be getting the hormone that you were prescribed for several months whether it's the right dose for you or not. It's far easier to add to or decrease your dosage when using a cream.

Pellets also require a small surgical procedure for each visit, and there is a risk of infection at the insertion site. Some women develop bumps or nodules as the body reacts to the pellets beneath the skin. Side effects vary depending on how well matched your HRT pellets are with your body's needs. Unfortunately, with pellets, it's more difficult to adjust the dosage or formula to counteract adverse reactions. What can initially appear to be a more convenient choice can seem less so with repeated appointments and the potential for complications.

Hormone Creams

Hormone creams allow the right dose of hormones to be absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream to help relieve hot flashes, night sweats, depression and other symptoms of menopause.

After testing her hormone levels, usually with a saliva test, a woman can use a customized cream with enough estrogen to relieve the symptoms of menopause, perimenopause or low estrogen.

Hormone creams are absorbed differently by each individual, and the amount of hormones that actually enter the bloodstream depends on the method by which the cream was prepared and how much has been applied directly to the skin. However, because the cream is applied daily, it’s easy to adjust application or change up the formula if you experience side effects.

Hormone creams are usually applied to the arms once or twice a day as prescribed. Because hormone creams are applied in small doses, it prevents peaks and valleys in hormone levels that can occur with other forms of delivery. Also, since the estrogen is absorbed through the skin and directly into the bloodstream, it can be a safer choice than oral estrogen for people who have liver or gallbladder health issues.

Women can have their hormone levels checked by their physician then receive customized formulas suited to their needs. Cream formulas can easily be adjusted over time for changing needs.

What are the Benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Whatever delivery method works best for your body and lifestyle, there is no doubt that HRT restores the normal hormonal balance, alleviates the signs of menopause and improves overall health and wellbeing.

Benefits of HRT:

  • Relieves vaginal dryness
  • Protects against bone loss, decreasing the risk of hip and spine fractures
  • Reduces the risk of colon cancer
  • Relieves hot flashes, especially at night

Risks of HRT

Before starting a regimen of HRT, your urogynecologist will discuss all of the possible side effects and risks with you. Discuss your health and family history with your urogynecologist and be aware of the following potential issues:

  • Risk of developing pulmonary embolism
  • Risk of breast cancer
  • Risk of uterine or endometrial cancer
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure
  • Risk of deep vein thrombosis
  • Increased risk of gallbladder disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

To determine your very best options for HRT, discuss your hormone therapy with your doctor and review the drawbacks and benefits of each plan. The specialists at Coyle Institute have helped thousands of women reclaim their lives through safe and effective HRT programs. Call and set up your consultation today!