The pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy (A MUST READ)

Research shows that people with healthier hormone levels live the longest. 

That’s why I’m a big fan of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (HRT), for both men and women.   

Of course, there are multiple ways of taking HRT. My personal favorite way to prescribe is topically, with a cream. Whereas other routes, like pills, tend to have more side effects. You also have troches, which you place on your tongue. And my least favorite: Pellets. 

In fact, I’ve seen horrible side effects from pellets firsthand… from breast tenderness and swelling, to vaginal bleeding and excessive hair growth in women.  

And now, a new study confirms that pellets often cause more harm than good. But before you write off non-conventional versions of HRT completely, there’s more you need to know…  

A long list of problems 

Pellets are about the size of a grain of rice. They’re typically implanted in the hip, lower stomach, or buttock. And they release hormones into your body over three to six months. 

The problem is, they can’t be removed. So if you happen to have side effects—or worse, get a new cancer diagnosis—you have no choice but to ride those six months out.   

And according to a new study, women on pellets are significantly more likely to wind up with troubling side effects—like the ones I mentioned above, as well as mood swings, anxiety, acne, and weight gain.   

In this study, there was a group of women that received conventional therapy with various brands of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved hormone products. (Just shy of five percent took testosterone or methyltestosterone along with estrogen.) While the patients in the pellet group received a compound of estradiol and testosterone.  

Overall, more than 57 percent of the women on pellet therapy suffered the side effects listed above—compared to just 15 percent of the women on FDA-approved therapy.  

Women on pellets were also more likely to receive a hysterectomy while on therapy. And they had higher levels of estradiol and total testosterone.  

In other words, clearly, I’m not here to defend pellets. (I’ve never been a fan of them, anyway.) 

But I also have to point out the obvious: This study was taking a pretty shameless swipe at non-conventional forms of hormone delivery systems—you know, the ones mostly used by holistic practitioners, like myself. But, not so fast… 

Defending bioidenticals 

The study authors went so far as to say that doctors with financial incentives to prescribe compounded bioidentical HRT over FDA-approved options may be facing “an ethical dilemma.”  

(Ha! As if conventional doctors receive no financial incentives. In fact, immediately before I sat down to write this, I read an article about device makers that were funneling billions of dollars per year into doctors’ pockets to use their products.)   

They even bashed bioidentical and compounding pharmacies—all without a shred of evidence to support their claims. But this cooked-up “concern” might honestly be the most stupid and bogus thing I have ever heard! 

As someone who has been prescribing hormones for close to 30 years, I can tell you without hesitation that it’s so much better to give hormones in the doses that each individual patient needs—and in the forms that their bodies can recognize—rather than simply choosing one based on what Big Pharma thinks you should be taking. 

And after three decades of practice, natural, bioidentical hormone replacement remains the only kind of HRT I will ever recommend. The science-backed benefits speak for themselves. So I encourage you to find a specialist who understands how to work safely with bioidentical hormones to help you live your best life. 

(The American College for Advancement in Medicine [ACAM] is a great resource for locating an experienced practitioner in your area. Simply plug your zip code into their search engine to find a list of physicians near you.)  

P.S. For more insight into the benefits of bioidentical HRT, I encourage you to become a subscriber to my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives, and search the archives. For example, I outline how specific hormones are critical tools in the anti-aging arsenal in the January 2013 issue (“How to cheat death—and beat nature at its own game”). Want to learn more? Click here to become a subscriber today! 


“Hormone Pellet Safety Data ‘Not Very Reassuring at All’ for Women.” Medscape Medical News, 06/18/2021. (