Can pellet therapy help with signs of aging in women, men?

As women and men age, there are changes that happen to our bodies inside and out.

Ginny Smith, 53, of Boiling Springs, says she feels like a new woman. For six years, she suffered from menopausal symptoms including hot flashes, insomnia, and moodiness.

"The hot flashes were completely gone," Smith said. "I am sleeping through the night and I am waking up alert and fresh and happy."

JJ Nissley, 50, of Harrisburg, had the male version of menopause. He says he was moody, cranky and had low energy and a low libido.

"I don't have bad days where I feel like I'm just not right," he said. "I wake up feeling good."

Both Smith and Nissley credit something called pellet therapy that's done by Dr. Deb Herchelroath at Vitality Gynecology in Lemoyne.

"Bio-identical hormone pellet therapy is using hormones estrogen and testosterone in the shape of pellets, and they resemble a grain of rice," Herchelroath said.

Pellet therapy is a plant-based way to fight the signs of aging in women and men. First, the doctor does extensive blood work to determine estrogen and testosterone levels. Then, the doctor makes a tiny cut and inserts tiny pellets specific to the patient's needs in fatty tissue.

So what's in the pellets?

"The pellet is 100-percent bio-identical. It's all natural. It's made from either soy or yams and stearic acid, which is something our body produces, and that's it," Herchelroath said.

Yams, when converted in the lab, can apparently help balance hormones. Pellet therapy is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In fact, the FDA warns natural doesn't always mean safe and other doctors have called this quackery.

Herchelroath isn't fazed by any of it.

"I understand people may not be comfortable if it's not FDA approved and that's OK," she said. "They don't have to do it and it's 100-percent elective."

Pellet therapy can last three to four months for women. It can last four to five months for men and this isn't cheap. Depending on your insurance, the blood work may be covered. Otherwise, it costs $110 and nothing else is covered by insurance. The consultation is $100. The treatment for women is $400 and for men, it can range from $700 to $800.

There also are side effects. For men, they're acne, hair loss, hair growth, fluid retention, and mood changes. Women may experience acne, hair loss, hair growth, bleeding, mood changes, and breast tenderness.

For more information on pellet therapy, go to

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