Pro’s and Con’s of Testosterone Pellets

Testosterone PelletsTestosterone replacement therapy is necessary for up to 40 percent of men who are older due to their testosterone levels decreasing. There are several replacement options and testosterone pellets are one of them. It allows for long-term dosing that is consistent so that you do not have to administer the therapy on a daily basis. It is important that you learn the factors before agreeing to this therapy so that you can determine if it is the best testosterone replacement option for you.

How Do Testosterone Pellets Work?

Before you consider this option, it is important to know the answer to the question, “how do testosterone pellets work?”

Testosterone pellets measure approximately three by nine millimeters. Inside the pellets is crystalline testosterone. Once the doctor implants them below your skin, they start to release testosterone slowly. It takes about three to six months for all of the testosterone in the pellets to be released.

Once the pellets are in place, your body starts to erode them, and this is how the hormone gets released into your body. The level of testosterone that is released remains steady, but once the hormone inside the pellets essentially runs out, you will need to have new ones implanted to continue to get the full and steady dose of testosterone.

Effectiveness of Testosterone Pellets

The effectiveness of testosterone pellets is something that is debated. Some people say that with the pellets, they noticed an immediate improvement in their sex drive and energy levels. However, others report that it took longer for this.

There was a study performed in 2014 where the researchers assessed how many patients chose pellets over another testosterone therapy option. It was estimated that about 17 percent of the patients chose pellets to undergo this therapy. Among those who did choose the pellets over other therapy options, approximately 70 percent were happy with their results.

Another study showed that the patients who chose the pellets found them preferable for their convenience. Once they are implanted, you will not have to worry about daily dosing with other forms of hormone replacement therapy.

Testosterone Pellets Dosage

It may take some time for your doctor to determine the right dosage for you. To adjust the dosage, the doctor needs to remove or add some pellets, so you will need to undergo a procedure every time a dosage adjustment occurs.

The Testopel pellets have 75 milligrams of testosterone each. However, different pellets may have different dosage strengths.

testosterone pellet injection
Photo Credit: Medical News Today.

It does take time for the pellets to work, so you likely will not notice a difference right away. On average, the pellets start to take effect in about two to four weeks. However, it may be as long as six months before the full benefit is achieved.

Once the pellets are inserted, your doctor will want to monitor your testosterone levels. This will help them to determine if the dosage is correct or if adjustments need to be made. How often your doctor wants to test your blood is something you will discuss to make sure that you are getting the proper dose.

For many people, once the right dose is determined, this is the dose that they will remain on. However, if there is a change in your symptoms or your testosterone levels continue to decline, due to either aging or other factors, you may need to have dose adjustments in the future. With ongoing monitoring of your testosterone levels, your doctor will be able to determine if this is necessary.

Benefits of Testosterone Pellets

The purpose of this therapy is to restore your testosterone to its normal levels. When testosterone levels are low, it may cause the following symptoms:

  • Reduced sex drive
  • Decreased lean muscle mass
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Depression

When you replace lost testosterone, it may help to reduce or eliminate these symptoms. Your doctor can help you to determine how beneficial testosterone pellets might be for you based on how low your levels are and your overall health.

Using pellets for testosterone replacement therapy is also more convenient. You will not have to take a dose on a daily basis since once the pellets are implanted, they start to release the hormone into your bloodstream to raise your levels.

When someone people use topical testosterone replacement therapy, they experience skin irritation. Since the pellets are inserted and not sitting on top of your skin, this is generally not an issue.

The Implantation Process

The process to implant testosterone pellets only takes approximately 10 minutes. The following steps are typical:

  • The skin of your upper buttock or hip will be cleaned
  • The doctor will inject a local anesthetic into the area where the pellets will be implanted
  • A small incision is made into the area
  • Using a trocar, the doctor will place the pellets just below your skin
 On average, about 10 to 12 pellets are implanted at a time. 

Testosterone Pellets Side Effects

Testosterone pellets replace lost testosterone in your body. This type of replacement therapy may cause the following testosterone pellets side effects:

  • Production of red blood cells increases
  • Acne
  • Reduced urine stream
  • Decreased testicle size
  • Worsening or new sleep apnea
  • Fluid retention
  • Oily skin
  • Increased urination frequency
  • Decreased sperm count
  • Prostate and breast tissue swelling

Testosterone pellets may cause side effects for some patients. It is important to know what these are so that you can make an informed decision before having them implanted. While it is rare, it is possible for a pellet to push its way out of your skin. When this happens, there is a risk for infection. It is estimated that 1.4 to 6.8 percent of patients experience an infection when this occurs.

It is also possible to develop an infection at the insertion site even when the pellets do not push themselves out. This is due to the incision that has to be made to insert the pellets.

If you are getting too much testosterone, you are at a higher risk of certain medical conditions, such as:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Prostate cancer

Now that you know more about testosterone pellets, you can talk to your doctor to determine if they are a good choice for you. Once they check your testosterone levels, they will be able to assess the level of deficiency and prescribe the pellet dosage that is ideal for you.

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