Testosterone is an essential hormone in the body. It has a variety of functions such as boosting libido, increasing muscle mass and energy as well as sharpen memory. Yet, many men experience a decline over time as part of the aging process.
Around 20-40% of older men suffer from hypogonadism which is a medical condition that requires testosterone replacement therapy. Nevertheless, there are potential drawbacks including a risk of high red blood cell count, heart disease and other conditions.
A successful hormone therapy involves the administration of the right dosage using the appropriate delivery method. Some of the delivery options include creams, patches, injections, and testosterone pellets.
For a long-term and consistent delivery of the hormone, the pellets might be a good approach. The doctor can discuss these options to find the right method.
A close look on testosterone pellets
The testosterone pellets are small, usually, 3 mm by 9 mm and contain crystalline testosterone. The doctor implants these pellets beneath the skin where they steadily release the hormone over 3-6 months.
Generally, the procedure is a short and simple one. The doctor implants the pellets beneath the skin, usually close to the hip.
This option is a long-acting variant of testosterone therapy. The pellets should provide a stable, continuous dose of the hormone, usually delivering the necessary amount of hormone up to 4 months.
The implantation of the pellets is a simple procedure, usually taking only 10 minutes. The site in the buttocks or upper hip is thoroughly cleansed and the doctor injects a local anesthetic to lessen the discomfort. The doctor creates a small incision which is where the pellets position beneath the skin. Generally, the doctor implants 10-12 pellets during the procedure.
Depending on your preference, the testosterone pellets might be a suitable option if the daily application of the hormone is a hassle.
What is the right dosage?
It might take some time to find the right dose to improve the signs of low testosterone. Large amounts of the hormone can trigger detrimental side effects including an increase in the red blood cell count (RBC). In a study, there are also other potential health risks.
The right dosage might be a challenge though. Work with a doctor to determine the suitable dose as well as the right method of delivery.
Potential effects of various testosterone replacement options
Gels, creams and oral tablets on the interior of the cheek as well as patches are easy to use but should be done daily. These options require daily administration which can be a challenge and hassle to some. Another issue of concern is that it exposes women and children to excess testosterone.
The injections can last longer and there are no risks for direct exposure. Nonetheless, irritation can occur at the site of the shot.
If you are considering testosterone replacement therapy, there are some negative side effects due to the high and low dosage of the various methods.
With the injections, the levels of the hormone might start off high and become significantly low before the next injection is given. This can result in a cascade of changes to mood, energy level, and sexual activity.
These peaks of testosterone can result in the degeneration of the hormone by enzymes in the body, usually the fat tissue into estradiol which is an estrogen. The excess estrogen can lead to breast enlargement and tenderness.
What are the benefits?
Generally, the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy remain controversial whether it can lessen the symptoms of low testosterone.
Among those who opt for the testosterone pellets, they might provide certain benefits over other forms of this treatment.
Some of the potential benefits include the following:
- Convenient than the testosterone injections
- Lasts longer without the need to apply daily
- Less irritation of the skin than creams or gels
What are the drawbacks of pellets?
The testosterone pellets provide a long-term dosage of the hormone among men with low testosterone, but there are potential drawbacks.
There are instances in which occasional infections occur or the pellets become “extruded” and move out of the skin, but this is rare. Furthermore, it is also difficult to change the dosage easily since it requires another surgical procedure to add the pellets.
For those who choose the testosterone pellets, it is best to use other forms of the hormone that is applied daily such as patches or creams. This will help establish the right dosage that the body needs. Once the right dosage is established that provides benefits without an increase in the RBC or other detrimental effects, the pellets are a suitable replacement option to help keep your sexual performance on the right track every night or when you feel the “urge” for a satisfying experience.
Can women use the pellets?
Although controversial, women can also undergo testosterone therapy. Women in the postmenopausal stage can undergo treatment with testosterone replacement therapy with or without additional estrogen for hypo-active sexual desire disorder. In one study, there is an improvement in sexual desire, satisfaction and orgasm frequency.
Sadly, it is hard to determine suitable low-dose therapy for women. Even though the pellets have been used among women, further studies are necessary to assess the potential risks particularly with the development of certain forms of cancer.
Consulting a doctor
Talk with a doctor if testosterone therapy is an ideal approach. Upon establishing the dosage that works well with the body, you can choose the suitable method of administration.
Remember that therapy is a long-term commitment. The pellets will require one to stick with frequent trips to the doctor and more expenses. Nevertheless, this option is ideal for those who do not want daily administration as well as preventing exposure to others.