Nightmare with pellets

by Sally M.
(Arkansas)

I am 58 years old. I had a hysterectomy at 48, due to fibroids and ademomysis, kept an ovary. I began having menopausal symptoms at about 52. Have a friend who had good results with bio-identical hormones, so I decided to give them a try this year. Do I EVER regret it! One month ago, I allowed the doc to talk me into subcutaneous estrogen and testosterone pellets. She also prescribed oral progesterone, DHEA, vitamin D and other supplements. (These did not arrive until a week after I got the pellets.)

I immedately gained 8 pounds, which is mostly in the breasts and belly. My breasts are extremely sore - feel like they are on fire. I am tired, my migraines (which I've had since I was a child) have increased.

Two weeks ago, the doctor added 20 mg of progesterone cream. When the symptoms got worse, she increased the dose to 40 mg. For one day, I felt like I was on a diuretic and thought relief was finally on the way. Wrong! All of the above symptoms increased with a vengeance, with nausea and dizzy spells added to the mix.

The doctor said the pellets cannot be removed. How long until they are out of my system? Might they cause permanent damage? Any suggestions what to do for relief?

I read your FAQs and the page on estrogen dominance. Very informative but scary!

Thanks.

Comments for Nightmare with pellets

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Sep 03, 2011
Nightmare with pellets
by: Wray

Hi Sally I wish doctors were better informed about oestrogen and testosterone. Whether they are bio-identical or synthetic, they still have the same effect on us. It's a great pity they can't be removed, are you sure? It will probably leave a scar, but I think that's a small price to pay. Please see our page on HRT, and these papers here, here, here, here, here here, here, here, here and here on testosterone. It should never be given to a woman, it increases visceral fat, hence your weight gain, plus it increases the incidence of heart disease and cancer. Oestrogen too, plus it causes water retention and inflammation, hence your sore breasts. Progesterone is excellent for sore breasts, see here, here, here, here, here and here. I always suggest rubbing a progesterone cream directly on them. Oral progesterone is the least effective Delivery system as most gets destroyed by the gut and liver. And the amount you were taking is far too low, except to make things worse. I'm running out of space so will start a new comment below. Take care Wray

Sep 03, 2011
Nightmare with pellets
by: Wray

Hi Sally Progesterone is an excellent diuretic, so your feeling was correct. Amounts over 1200mg/day are given via IV transfusion to brain trauma victims, to prevent the oedema and inflammation that occurs, see here and here. DHEA should never be given to a woman either, as it increases the risk for cysts and cancer, plus increasing testosterone levels, see here, here, here and here. If you do consider increasing the amount of progesterone, please chose a system where it's absorbed well, and do read the page on Oestrogen Dominance again. It can occur when increasing the amount. Progesterone is excellent for migraines, it appears you have always had excess oestrogen, the Fibroids and adenomyosis indicate this, and low progesterone, see here, here, here, here, here and here. The only supplement I can agree about is the vitamin D. The minimum dose should be 5000iu's per day, and the blood level between 70-100ng/ml. Please have a test done, for more info see the Vitamin D Council, GrassrootsHealth and Birmingham Hospital websites. Take care Wray

Sep 05, 2011
oral delivery method
by: Anonymous

Hi Wray -- can you please explain the difference between oral administration of progesterone vs. other medications? Why does the progesterone get destroyed in the gut when other meds you take orally do not? Trying to understand!

Sep 05, 2011
removing pellets, new side-effects
by: Anonymous

Thank you, Wray. I will talk to the doctor tomorrow and press her more about removing the pellet. They're very tiny, implanted in my hip (apparently disappears after you put it there), so she said she is not sure she could find it and that I may have to go through a lot of pain for nothing. I agree that a scar would be a small price to pay if it could be done.

I have never been sorrier about any decision I've ever made in my life. This weekend, my hair began thinning noticeably and that my rosacea (which has been under control for years) flared up. I am afraid to imagine what might happen next. I did increase my progesterone cream to 120 mg on my own. Now my breasts are even bigger and my tummy even puffier. (I may or may not tell her I did this...) I did remember that your site warned that things get better before they get worse.

If you know anyone else who has "survived" pellets, or of there's anyone out there who knows a story, please share. It seems that ever day is a new nasty "surprise" and I'd love to know what I could expect. Surely this cannot last forever.

Sally

Sep 06, 2011
oral delivery method
by: Wray

Hi there Progesterone is a steroid hormone, these are not manufactured in the gut, but within the body. There's no way of protecting them from destruction, apart from altering the molecule. Hence the advent of progestins or the synthetic forms of progesterone, or the synthetic oestrogens. Most of the destruction occurs in the gut, with the acidity of the stomach and high alkaline pH of the intestines. What little progesterone gets through to the liver is metabolised to allopregnanolone, this is an excellent analgesic. But if progesterone is used via injections, suppositories or creams, far more gets carried to the liver, so the analgesic effect is greater. Take care Wray

Sep 06, 2011
removing pellets, new side-effects
by: Wray

Hi Sally Strange they disappear, as they are designed to release the hormones on a continual basis. If it can't be done, I can only suggest increasing the progesterone substantially, to counter their negative affects. You'll have to experiment with the amount, some days you'll find you need more, others less. It all depends on your stress levels, as stress drops progesterone sharply. I feel you should try the 200mg/day, but you might need more. For encouragement see these comments on high amounts here, here, here and here. I suggest rubbing the cream on your face, see here. It's also an excellent anti-inflammatory. And don't forget to rub it on your breasts too. I'm so sorry this has happened to you, no one deserves it. Please see this page here on the pellets, it gives a list of the women who've written in about them. I do hope with sufficient progesterone you won't have a difficult time until they dissolve. Take care Wray

Sep 09, 2011
update
by: Sally M.

I spoke with the doctor earlier this week. She increased my progesterone cream prescription and told me to feel free to use it liberally. She also increased the oral progesterone. I'm using 60 mg in the morning and 60 mg in the evening of the cream. 300 mg oral at night. The nausea I had has improved, but my breasts are still swollen and on fire. I have eaten a little more than usual this week and I know I have gained some more weight. My clothes are even tighter. For the past month or so, my diet was extremely clean. I was afraid to take in too much or junk food for fear of gaining more. Looks like my fears were justified.

The doctor finally said a general surgeon could remove the pellet, but she couldn't do it herself. I know it would take a while to be schedule for surgery and I honestly can't afford the down time from work. I am hoping this will go away soon. She also said if I am miserable enough, she can put me on tamoxifen to block the estrogen. I don't know much about this except that it is given to cancer patients. I am not sure what to do.

Sep 09, 2011
P.S.
by: Sally M

The doc also ordered another saliva test, should have the results in a couple of weeks.

Sep 16, 2011
update and PS
by: Wray

Hi Sally I really believe you should be using only the cream, the oral is a waste of time and money. It's doing little to help you, and only putting a strain on the liver. Please increase the amount of cream you are using, I did suggest you try 200mg/day. You might need more, but this will be dependant on symptoms. The reason you've eaten more is oestrogen upsets blood glucose, plus of course it's causing water retention. This can occur immediately on using it, which causes an apparent weight gain, plus making clothes tighter. The testosterone in the pellet is not helping at all either. Whatever you do, don't touch tamoxifen, rather increase the progesterone, as that will suppress the excess oestrogen, see here and here and here and here. The saliva test will probably show you are full of hormones, and that you have sufficient progesterone too. But what most doctors/labs fail to look for is the ratio between progesterone and oestrogen, this is the critical factor. So both your levels could be high, or certainly in the 'normal' range, but the chances are the ratio will be skewed. When the results come back, divide the progesterone result by the oestrogen result, it should be 600:1 and over to feel well. We've realised this from Saliva Tests we run. You might like to read more about saliva tests here. And please have that vitamin D test done, and consider taking it too, it really does make a huge difference to how we feel. Take care Wray




Jan 21, 2013
I Wish This Was A nightmare on pellets
by: Anonymous

I had estrogen and totesterone pellets inserted about 6 weeks ago and my breast have been extremely swollen and painful since plus I am bloated, depressed and feel horrible. I am 56 and had a total hysterectomy 9 years ago. I was told that HRT would protect my bones and muscles, prevent breast cancer, helpme loose weight and give me tons of energy. My Dr. said I am just outof ballance and prescribed an oral progestin (which I am afraid to take. I could deal with all this but I had a routine mamogram a week ago and got the results yesterday. It is abnormal and I am so afraid. Everything you hear about pellets is wonderful. Completely safe. I would never have jepordized my health otherwise. I do not want this to happen to anyone else and I hope the lady who wrote before is ok. I am going to call my Dr. and ask for the cream and tell her about my report. Any advice is welcome, please.

Jan 27, 2013
I Wish This Was A nightmare on pellets
by: Wray

Hi there I find it hard to believe you were told HRT would "protect my bones and muscles, prevent breast cancer, help me loose weight and give me tons of energy". If you read through this page I've given, you'll see it does none of those things, can increase the cancer risk, and will most certainly cause an increase in weight. Oestrogen is a mitogen, causing cells to proliferate, including fat cells. It also causes water retention too, see here, here, here and here. Testosterone is notorious at increasing visceral fat, see here and here. Plus it increases the risk of cancer, insulin resistance and heart disease, see here, here, here, here here, here, here, here and here. Please avoid the progestin, it will only compound the problem. Have a look at our page on Contraceptives for more info about them. I suggest you start using very high amounts of progesterone, at least 200-400mg/day to counter the affects of the hormones you've been given. We have more info on our page How to use progesterone cream and the Menopause page. Take care Wray

May 14, 2013
Pellet Nightmare!!!!
by: Sheila

As a nurse,I conisdered myself to be informed!After going thru a hyst,2009,I began pellet therapy 3-motns later.I had been on Climara Patch since I was 32 years old due to early ovarian failure.SO,obviously,thinking I would definitely need supplementation after hyst.I went for the therapy.BIG MISTAKE!After two pellet sesssions,two months apart,they call me one day after going back for bloodwork and ask me can I come in asap.I say,sure I;m in town,so they tell me to come on by".When I go in the nurse comes in,never saw the doctor in person",she states"we think you are pregnant".For a minute"I thought I was having a bad dream.Then I get myself together,and I say"Are you crazy,you better look at my chart again,hyst. remember"?You people are crazy."Nver went back.I gained twenty punds,I had lipo,breast reduction.If I can give any advice-NO PELLETS!Go with the progesterone cream and estrogen patches for supplementaion.If you need testosterone,cream or shots!This is the only way for women to avoid the side effects!I'm on patches again with testosterone shots twice a month.Progestrone cream I buy at the health food store-just as good as prescription.Stay away from these clincs that promote hormone therapy.Find a good practioner and go from there.May Hells wrath come down on the docs that are pushing hormone mills for that greedy dollar.May their assses have to carry the load we do!

May 18, 2013
Pellet Nightmare!!!!
by: Wray

Hi Sheila Thanks for your comments, which I feel all women should read. Some women seem able to cope with them, but I'm not in favour of extra oestrogen, see our page on HRT. And testosterone should never be given to a woman, it increases the risk of cancer and heart disease, see here, here, here, here here, here, here, here and here. It also causes visceral fat to increase, in fact testosterone is certain to give a middle aged woman a middle aged spread, see here and here. Take care Wray

Oct 20, 2013
bioTE Pellets - miserable
by: Anonymous

I had a total hysterectomy at age 42 and was taking cenestin (estrogen) and felt ok. I then decided to do the estrogen/testosterone pellets 3 months ago. I immediately gained 8 lbs. in two weeks, I started to have swelling in my fingers and toes which now has become unbearable. It hurts to walk or bend my fingers upon wakening. My libido increased but when you feel this miserable, who cares. They also discovered through blood work that I had Hashimoto's disease (hypothyroid). I have been on medication for that for 3 weeks. The doctor tried to tell me that the swelling was due to that but I highly disagree. My skin and hair became incredibly oily. My back is broken out and some on my face. When they took my blood work again at 8 weeks, I was at 40 for estrogen and 168 for testosterone. That is way too high. I'm ready for this to be out of my system and go back to taking the cenestin. It really makes me want to change gynecologist if they are this off on this stuff. I attended a seminar before doing it and they claim that no one has ever discontinued the pellets after starting them. I just want to know if all that I am experiencing is from the pellets, the thyroid or something else.

Oct 21, 2013
bioTE Pellets - miserable
by: Wray

Hi there It's the testosterone causing the breakouts and oily skin and hair. This is the reason teenage boys get Acne far more frequently than girls. Your level was way above the normal range, see our page on Hormone Testing. The swelling is due to excess oestrogen, it causes water retention. I don't feel any woman needs extra oestrogen or testosterone. The oestrogen you were taking comes with the same risks as any HRT, see here. Your doctor is wrong, the symptoms are due to the pellets, these are some more comments here. I doubt if anyone at the seminar would say women had discontinued them, they'd make no sales. If your Libido was low, you might like to look through this page. It seems dopamine is the most important thing for a good libido, progesterone too. This comment came in today, although by a man, it does give you some idea, see here. Lack of vitamin D can cause Hashi's, see here, here, here, here, here and here. A lack of iodine too, did they check your levels before giving meds? Probably not as they never do. Tyrosine and selenium are vital to the manufacture of T4 and T3, I doubt they checked these either. It's far easier just to sell a drug. Take care Wray

May 11, 2014
BHRT pellet therapy
by: Anonymous

I'm 54 and had pellet therapy. After 6 days I suffered a severe migraine and had to be taken to emergency care. I continued to suffer from migraines and headaches over the next 6 months. I'd had an ablation 6 yrs prior with no complications and my annual checkups were always normal. BHRT doctor (different dr from my regular dr) did not give progesterone with estradiol/testosterone tx. I began to gain weight and didn't feel great. After 3 months I began to have sever pelvic pain on and off so I had an ultrasound done. It revealed I had a large fibroid tumor and an ovarian cyst. My new Dr. was very concerned and immediately put me on progesterone. He recommended I have a complete hysterectomy asap. I went home and did more research about risk associated with estrogen/testostrone treatment with no opposing progesterone. Estrogen should NEVER be given without progesterone regardless if pt has had hysto in my opinion. My testosterone level was 240 which is way too high for women and prolonged periods of high levels of testosterone can cause insulin resistance. I didn't have hair loss or acne but my glucose levels were high. After surgery the pathology report came back very alarming. Had I gotten a second round of pellets I would be fighting for my life from ovarian cancer! BHRT is a highly specialized field and should only be done by practitioners with 20 plus yrs experience. I wouldn't recommend pellet therapy because there is no way to adjust once they are in. It takes 4 to 6 months to completely dissolve. Additionally thyroid treatment seems to go along with BHRT but if you have Hashimoto disease iodine can complicate tx. Best advice I could give from my experience is do your research. There is a ton of info out there from different sources. However, there are a wide variety of opinions which can make it difficult for non-medical people. I suspect we will see serious complications surface and lawsuits from BHRT pellet therapy because more and more inexperienced practitioners are treating patients to capture the financial upside. Its been 8 weeks since surgery and I'm feeling better. I take very low dose of estrogen/progesterone/testosterone troche. Testosterone is produced from outer lining of ovary and I believe a low does is needed and safe. I researched this in depth and that is my take away. I hope my story will offer some addition info and a different prospective.

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