As we age, many experience the persistent sense that something is, well, a little off. Age-related issues may be manageable for some, but living with symptoms such as fatigue, temperature regulation problems, weight fluctuations or drastic mood changes can wear others down. For many, checking hormone levels can be the first step to feeling good again. At Sound Women’s Health in Bellingham, hormone optimization with BioTE® plant-based pellets is available to those interested in learning more about their current levels, and whether an optimization program is right for them.

In addition to being a BioTe provider, Sound Women’s Health offers weight loss and aesthetic consulting. Photo credit: Hannah Zoe.

Dr. Karyn Tapley of Sound Women’s Health is an experienced Ob-Gyn, with professional training in hormone optimization. “Out of everything that goes on in our bodies, hormones are consistently in control and therefore incredibly important,” she says. “For example, your thyroid and thyroid hormone control many metabolic processes in your body. If your thyroid is off, everything is going to be off.”

BioTE® is a plant-based, bio-identical pelleted hormone optimization regimen. While the

technology for pelleted therapies has been around since the 1930s, they weren’t as prevalently prescribed as their patented, synthetic cousins. “The reason few people have heard of it is because it’s not financially lucrative,” Dr. Tapley explains. “Because the hormones in BioTE are plant-based and indistinguishable from human, they’re not patentable by big pharmaceutical companies.”

When Dr. Gary Donovitz put the BioTE® package together, pelleted therapy became more accessible for health care professionals and their patients. The BioTE® pellet is the size of a grain of rice and is comprised of only pure hormones and stearic acid, the same substance used to hold aspirin together. Once subcutaneously inserted, your body picks up small amounts of the pellet’s hormones throughout the day as your blood flows by. Unlike oral or injected hormonal therapies, which are diminished by the liver and cause hormonal spikes, the pellet method provides moderate hormone optimization for months at a time.

Private, dreamy client rooms at Sound Women’s Health. Photo credit: Hannah Zoe.

“It’s safe because your body recognizes those hormones as the same ones you’ve been making your entire life. All we’re doing is adjusting their levels,” Dr. Tapley explains. “The idea is, we’re not trying to fix laboratory results, we’re trying to fix symptoms.”

Hormone optimization is about bringing a patient’s natural hormone levels to where they were when they were younger, and then seeing how they feel. The process begins with a consultation to discuss symptoms, as well as blood tests to establish your levels of hormones and vitamins. These tests assess sex hormones, thyroid and even vitamins like B12 and D. Vitamins are so integral to hormone production that, if they aren’t at optimal levels, it can indicate a disruption.

BioTE® recognizes this and includes their own line of essential vitamins as part of their

optimization program. According to Dr. Tapley, even if a person’s lab results fall within the “normal” range, they may still benefit from BioTE® therapy. Normal hormone levels for one person may not be normal for the next. This is why each pelleted dose is tailored to suit the unique individual.

Dr. Karyn Tapley offers consultations to patients concerned about their hormone optimization. From there, blood tests and eventually a possible BioTE regimen can get patients back on track to feeling themselves again. Photo credit: Hannah Zoe.

“We are really lucky because BioTE® has amassed a lot of research for us,” Dr. Tapley says. “There’s a program where we can take someone’s blood work and plug in their risk factors, such as blood clotting, cancer or PCOS. Between the data on your current levels and what your risk factors may suggest, BioTE can then suggest an optimal dose of specific hormones for a personalized pellet dose.”

According to Dr. Tapley, hormone imbalances are pervasive in the general population. “It’s hard to make a generalization for men and women but, anecdotally, probably close to 80 percent of people have something that’s off,” she says. “Many hormones are precursors to another, so if one of them higher up the line is off, many others will be too.”

Dr. Tapley assures that pellet hormone optimization has little to no side effects and is safe for almost everyone at any age. “Mostly the folks who we would worry about are those with active breast or prostate cancer or those with a history of blood clots or clotting disorders,” she cautioned. The first step is consulting with a professional and learning your risk factors. With professional guidance and the BioTE regimen, you could feel like yourself again – maybe even better.


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