Use of Soto-Pelle bio-identical hormones and progesterone

by Sandi
(Midwestern USA)

I am 44 and I have a regular 25-day cycle.

Blood tests show that I am not peri-menopausal. Blood tests also showed that I was very low in testosterone and my estrogen levels were within the range of "normal".

I investigated and started receiving bio-identical estrogren and testosterone via the soto pelle method because I was suffering from extreme fatigue, anxiety, insomnia and migraine-like headaches. I had also started experiencing dizzy spells that a neurologist could not chart as anything being neurologically evident.

The first injections of pellets (estogen and testosterone) went well and my headaches disappeared almost immediately. I was able to sleep through the night (a good thing), but my anxiety increased ten-fold. After about 5 weeks, my libido increased (another good thing), I was a bit more even keeled mood-wise, but the anxiety was still with me.

I attributed the anxiety to the small amount of estrogen they gave me and the increase in libido and mood stability to the testosterone.

I started to do some research on progesterone when I went back in for a second set of injections (~six months after the first), I was armed with questions and got very strange answers contradicting everything I had read about hormone levels during a "Normal" cycle.

The doctor and his nurse countered my comments that the anxiety was not from estrogen, but progesterone. That the estrogen relieved me of my headaches and allowed me to sleep and that if I increased my progesterone that I would be more anxious, more irritable, have more severe headaches because progesterone responds that way. They were even throwing out diuretics to me saying that I might need them since I was refusing the estrogen pellets.

I refused any more estrogen because my blood tests showed my estrogen to be quite high. I only took the testosterone. I started a bio-identical progesterone cream shortly after my second round of pellets (Renaissance brand).

WHAT A ROLLER COASTER RIDE during that first two weeks! I can only assume it was the estrogen and the progesterone fighting for "control". I resumed sleeping through the night, headaches went away, my mood was a wreck, and libido was so-so.

I leveled out after about two weeks and stopped the progesterone when I got my period. A day later, I started having horrible migraine-like headaches that have continued for the past two weeks despite my resuming the progesterone cream. I've increased, decreased and nothing seems to help.

I hope I level out again by taking the progesterone daily (despite the point in my cycle and have this feeling that I need to "pop" an egg).

So, after my background and the fact that I don't trust these docs administering the hormones via soto pelle (and it is not covered by insurance and is expensive):

Is it necessary to have testosterone? although I did get more energy and could stay up past 8 p.m. and wake up in the morning.

Can I get increased libido and energy from progesterone?

Do you agree with continuing the progesterone despite the point in my cycle to alleviate the headaches?

Can I also add, I have a very stressful life, working fulltime, four young children and one who has autism and my own struggles with a perfectionist personality... so, I can guarantee that my progesterone is out of whack and my adreneal gland is on overdrive... I see its results in my belly fat. lol

Thank you.

Comments for Use of Soto-Pelle bio-identical hormones and progesterone

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Sep 15, 2010
Use of Sotto Pelle
by: Anonymous

Wow! I wonder if you live in Arizona and visited the same doc I saw back in 2008. When my hormones started to go crazy due to excessive stress in my life (I was still on birth control pill) the first doctor I saw used the Sotto Pelle hormones estrogen and testosterone (never even mentioned progesterone to me - which I din't know what it was at that time anyway).Some of the symptoms diminished and then I gained about 20 pounds in 30 days. I DO NOT RECOMMEND using the pellet system ever!! You can't adjust the levels or remove it if you don't feel well. Also, so many of those docs don't even look at you progesterone levels which is likely the only one that needs supplementation. It is sad they are even allowed to practice considering they are clueless in the matter - obviously by the conversation you had when you brought progesterone up. Your headaches reoccuring could actually be from left over estrogen from the pellet. I am not sure that it is really clear how long that will take to get out of your system. You are experiencing estrogen dominance and the way to tame it is with natural progesterone. You may have not used a high enough dose to combat all the extra estrogen from the pelle and also to consider excess testosterone can convert to estrogen as well...you might have hit a double whammy with the sotto pelle just as I did....Good Luck!!

Sep 19, 2010
Use of Soto-Pelle bio-identical hormones and progesterone
by: Wray

Hi Sandi I don't believe any woman needs extra oestrogen or testosterone, whether it's bio-identical or synthetic, the affect is the same. For more info please see our page on HRT. The jury is still out about testosterone increasing libido, as the evidence points to progesterone being responsible, please see here. The roller coaster you've experienced by adding progesterone to the protocol is due to the initial stimulating affect progesterone has on oestrogen. For more info please see this page on Oestrogen Dominance. Progesterone is excellent for migraines, whereas oestrogen is a known initiator of inflammation, please see here, here and here. As for needing diuretics, oestrogen causes water retention! Progesterone is such an excellent diuretic it's now being given via IV transfusion to brain trauma victims to prevent the oedema and inflammation that occurs after the injury. Please see here. Where do they get their info from? Another error, progesterone has potent anxiolytic properties, please see here and here. Stress drops progesterone levels sharply. The adrenals make progesterone before converting it into cortisol, but if stress levels are high it will rob other sources, notably ovarian. So your symptoms don't surprise me as you say your stress is high, together with your age. P-M can start 5-10 years before menopause, it's essential to check progesterone levels too, I see you don't mention this. For more info please see our page on Peri-menopause. You don't mention how much you are using, but it should be between 100-200mg/day. I suggest you use the higher amount initially, and using it daily is safe, it's easy enough to reduce once symptoms abate and return to following your cycle. Please have a vitamin D test done, your autistic child too. There is strong evidence autism is caused by a lack of vitamin D. Please see here. A lack also reduces the benefits of progesterone. Take care Wray

Oct 06, 2010
Use of Sotto Pelle
by: Wray

Hi there It's most interesting you also used this system but have nothing good to say about it. I can find little to recommend it. Oestrogen is oestrogen, it matters not which form it comes in, synthetic, endogenous, oestrogen mimics, bio-identical, or even the soy isoflavones genistein and diadzein. They all stimulate mitosis, including that in the fat cells, which incidentally are also a non-ovarian source of oestrogen. Take care Wray

Jan 02, 2011
Sottopelle rollercoaster ride to hell!
by: B.B.

It is has been one month since I had the sottopelle pellets inserted. I am 50 and had a super flat belly December 4th. The first week I had lots of energy, a bit too much. I was very happy and positive. However after 10 days on progesterone my belly began to swell. I do not use salt and eat mostly protein and low carb, so I know for sure its not what I eat. I began to drink more hoping it was water and I could just flush my system. NO! I can't fit into any of my clothes and I look like I ate a watermelon. I feel great except for this huge belly? Dr. said it's water from the testosterone, but it's just my belly. My rings fit and my eyes never swell. She gave me mild water pills that do nothing. The fact that I have one kidney is an issue with taking a stronger water pill. I'm depresssed because I feel so fat. I have lots of energy but the belly bloat is so heavy I can't have a good workout? Could this be estrogen? Although I want to have sex, I DONT feel sexy with a belly???? Help does this go away? I have read every post and have not seen or read of any other person growing a BELLY???? Dr. said it SHOULD go away in 8 to 12 weeks? I don't know if I do another round if this will continue to happen? It stinks especially if you were thin and now while on the pellets you actually get fat????

Jun 21, 2011
buddha belly
by: Anonymous

I was also on soto-pelle for one year. Initially I felt I was on top of the world. Then this awful "belly" started. I eat very, very healthy. Organic, no preservatives etc. I could not figure out why I gained 15 lbs. around my middle. It was very difficult as I have weighed the same since high school. I am now 62! Yes, my skin was horribly greasy,I had pubescent breakouts. Which, by the way I never had as an adolescent. My hair got thicker, yes, but the facial hair was a nightmare! I did have more energy, my libido did increase. The down side was I did not feel good about my appearance, so.... I have stopped the soto-pelle now. My last injection was last November. Suddenly a month ago I started bleeding vaginally with cramps. Was like a period, and lasted for 10 days. Low and behold, 30 days later, it has started again. The weight came off very easily. But, now this. I must say, my Dr. did seem very complacent in November when I mentioned the weight gain. His answer was, "well, some women gain and some lose". Really not what I thought was a good medical answer. I plan to stay off the soto-pelle, but obviously will need to address the bleeding. Does anyone know anything about this? A side note, when I asked my husband about being moody on the soto-pelle, he said I was awful. He has noticed a considerable difference in me.

Dec 20, 2011
Love my Soto-Pelle
by: Anonymous

I have been on the Soto Pelle bio-identical hormones for almost a year now and would not be without them! I started with progeterone only for the first two rounds. Approaching 50 my period became very irregular. I first tried to go back on the pill to regulate but that resulted in raising my Blood Preasure. I have never felt better! I started loosing weight, no more headaches, hot flashes or night sweets. Libdo is through the roof....no they are not covered by insurance but worth every penny!

Dec 27, 2011
Wow what is wrong with this Picture
by: Rose

Everyboby on this topic has complaints about the Soto Pellet therapy. I started out on the Bio Identicals in Jacksonville Fl with a renowned OBGYN and was on Progesterone, Estrogen and a Testosteron injection once a month. I live in TX but had blood work and phone consults and yearly visit.
I saw improvement almost overnight. My libido went from zero to outstaning and my energy was great. However I got tired of the trips to Fl so I investigated the Soto Pellet and Six Moths ago I had my first Soto Pellet implant. My Doctor told me that there is no Progesterone in The Sotto Pellets. I do not have a Uterus so I don't really need the Progestrone as it only helps if you have periods. I am 73 and have never felt better in my life. I am due to get my 2nd implant in a few weeks and will ask again about the Progesterone. I will say the Pellet is not as effective as the pills and Testosteron Shot, But the difference is not enough to stop the Pellets. I do not understand those writing that the Soto Pellets contain Progesterone when I was told by my GYN that they don't have Progestrone in them. But I could take pill by mouth if I wanted. I will say I have the belly thing going on too but as I understand it is the Progesterone that causes that to occur? I also have had 4 episodes that may or may not be related-- 4 times in the last three and a half months I have gone to the ER because my tongue would swell threatening to cut off my airway. There doesn't appear to be any reasons that we can come up with as the cause and the episodes are random. I can't associate any food, drink or anything else that could be causing it. Someone did mention it could be Hormonal? If anyone here knows anything about the tongue swelling from Hormones or other things I sure would appreciate any feed back.
For the record Some one needs to make sure about the Soto Pellets containing Progesterone. Either my Doctor is misinformed or their Doctors are.
I am going to try the next implant because I think it has improved my overall health well being. The belly gain I think is my fault I don't get enough exercise and don't count calories. BUT I will ask about this complaint too.
And by the way Estrogen is not all the same. Synthetic Estrogen is made from Mare Hores Urine. I do not want Horses Tee Tee in my system since the last time I checked I only have two legs, not four.

Oct 10, 2012
Never again...
by: Anonymous

Like so many comments, the soto pelle resulted in a huge belly and 25 pound weight gain. It is taking forever to get the weight off...I was a size 0 now a size 6. I always had a flat stomach and eat super healthy, work out 4 times a week. I was in the hospital a couple weeks ago with an alergic reaction to Predizone and when the doctors found out I was on Soto-Pelle, they went through the roof. It isn't approved and we still don't know the long term effects.


Oct 13, 2012
Wow what is wrong with this Picture
by: Wray

Hi Rose I'm glad you're happy with the pellets, as many are not. You've probably seen my comments about oestrogen and testosterone, I don't think we need these. Unfortunately progesterone is only regarded as a pregnancy hormone, and has a small part to play in our monthly cycle, but far from it. I feel this is a minor role it plays, as progesterone is a transcriptional factor, it influences our genes and guides them in the right direction. A lack of can lead to many epigenetic changes and adverse symptoms. The pellets don't have any progesterone, they are just oestrogen and testosterone, see here. The belly thing is caused by excess testosterone, as it increases visceral fat. In fact testosterone will ensure a middle aged woman will get a middle aged spread, see here and here. It also has a dark side, see here, here, here, here here, here, here, here and here. Progesterone can't cause an increase in weight, as it inhibits mitosis, plus it's an excellent diuretic, water retention being another cause of weight gain. Please see our page on Traumatic Brain Injury and how it's used to prevent any oedema forming. Continued below.

Oct 13, 2012
Wow what is wrong with this Picture part 2
by: wray

Hi Rose Oestrogen does cause water retention, the cause of immediate weight gain in many women who are given it. We do have a page on HRT, with many papers showing the adverse effects it can have. Oestrogen can also sensitise us to allergens, as it increases mast cell secretions, whereas progesterone inhibits them, see here, here and here. So it could be the oestrogen in the pellets causing your tongue to swell. If you'd like more info on progesterone, please see our pages on How to use progesterone cream and Menopause. Take care Wray

Oct 13, 2012
Never again...
by: wray

Hi there I'm glad you've made this comment. The weight gain is caused partly by excess oestrogen, which increases subcutaneous adipose tissue or SAT. While testosterone causes an increase in visceral adipose tissue or VAT. Besides which testosterone has a dark side, I've given papers to Rose above. Oestrogen can also have a dark side too, there's a list on the HRT page with them. Interesting you say you had an allergic reaction, as oestrogen does sensitise us to allergens, as I pointed out to Rose. You only have to look at the adverse side effects on the HRT page, and the papers I gave on testosterone, to see the long term effects are known. Take care Wray

Dec 17, 2012
Love Sotopelle
by: TX Tumbles

I am 50 and will be going for my 3rd injection next week. The pelles only contain Estrogen and Testosterone. I was still having a period, so I do take Progesterone in pill form prescribed by the same doctor. If you still have a period, you take the Progesterone to prevent having a period. I was having the worst cold sweats and hot flashes of any near my age. I thought I had the flu, I was miserable in my own skin, I hadn't slept through the night in 2-3 months, I was exhausted, my BP was high every time I went to the doctor and had no desire to be w/my husband and I like sex. I might as well be put down. lol Anyway, a customer was at my desk one day when I had a HF and she told me about SP, it was a miracle for her and then I heard from another friend, they both felt 20-30 again, so I knew I had to try it, so I did and love it. I already had the fat belly from peri-menopause and haven't been able to exercise from a bad knee, so I just live with that, but my sex life is amazing, no more waking up 20 times a night, much better mood and I haven't gained or lost weight. Before I did sotopelle, I did start HRT from my GYNO that did absolutely nothing for me, dr's visit, $50.00 a month, 2 prescriptions $35 or so a month, so almost the same cost as the injections. I did discuss the injections with my GYNO and all of them will be against it because it is taking away from their business. A woman's testosterone level is suppose to be between 80-90, mine was 17. All I know is I feel better, I am getting sleep and my husband absolutely loves SP. lol When I think of how miserable I was 8 months ago, I'll take any side effects!

Dec 20, 2012
Love Sotopelle
by: Wray

Hi TX Tumbles I'm pleased it's helping you, just be aware of those adverse side effects. Depending on the test, if saliva, the range for testosterone is 16-47 pg/ml and that for serum is 30-95 ng/dL, see Medline Testosterone. Although total testosterone means nothing, it's the free testosterone which has an affect on us. Take care Wray

Jan 25, 2013
Comments from a doctor
by: anonymous.

I hope my thoughts help but if not keep researching and looking for your answers. I am 56 and have been menopausal for 4 years. I have done soto pellets a little over a year now. Like ALL medication, they have side effects. Like all medication, you have to weigh their benefit with their detriment. My experience has been more positive than negative, but I may try pills, or may go back to DAILY topical creams. The last month when they are wearing off I go back to being a crying machine. Never the less.. here is my experience.

The first 2 weeks were tough causing breast tenderness, bloating and severe cramps (I have fibroids and these usually grow with estrogen.) By 4-5 weeks I noticed much improvement of these symptoms. Largely the benefits were great.. lots of energy, EMOTIONALLY STABLE, better sleep and finally the testosterone was helping improve my muscle mass and thus I started losing weight gradually.. 10 lbs over 3 months. I never had hot flashes but my 2 girlfriends who did said it fixed that problem immediately.

The libido was too good for me... It might have been more appreciated had I just met a new younger man with a hot bod.. but that wasn't the case. My girlfriend who had recently divorced, found a new younger husband , was thrilled.

This form of hormone replacement should NOT be used for anyone still having menses. This is adequate for woman whose hormones are in the gutter (menopausal).

Those of you taking progesterone pills are NOT taking the bioidentical version but are taking the manufactured chemical kind.. this is a cheaper version, and is covered by insurance.. it is not necessarily bad (that I can tell) but it is not the NATURAL bioidentical version.. I take the version that the compound pharmacy makes up in little troches that melt in your mouth.. there are also drops absorbed under your tongue. I'm afraid I have been falling asleep forgetting them lately and now I had a menstral cycle.. progesterone helps prevent this.. I concur.. progesterone CALMS you.. a potential side effect is sleepiness so I take it at bedtime.

Everyone is different, and you should try different things and check out what others say just as you are.

I hope this was helpful in some way. Good Luck to us all!!

Jan 27, 2013
Use of Soto-Pelle bio-identical hormones and progesterone
by: Wray

Hi there Thank you for your comments. It seems the camp is very divided on the use of Soto Pelle, some in favour, some vehemently against! I can't agree with the principle, as both those hormones increase the risk of insulin resistance, heart disease and cancer. But each to their own. Take care Wray

Feb 19, 2014
From SottoPelle's website
by: Anonymous

Did you know that hormone replacement using pellet implants has been around for more than 70 years? In fact, scientists have published positive research on the benefits of this therapy in authoritative international journals for decades.

Bioidentical pellet therapy was originally developed in Europe during the 1930s. It proved an excellent treatment for hormone deficiencies, especially in menopause. The highly-respected pioneer of endocrinology, Dr. Robert B. Greenblatt, learned about this method and introduced it to his U.S. colleagues in 1939. Today, practitioners on five continents use pellet implants to restore hormonal balance in men and women of all ages.

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