LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — When you think of testosterone, you probably think of men. But right now, some Arkansas doctors are prescribing testosterone to women.
A loss of joy for life, feeling weak, just going through the motions... these are just some of the struggles of the thousands of patients a local doctor here has helped with a hormone replacement therapy.
For Sue Petrus, she said it's the only thing that has made her feel like a normal human being again.
"I had felt like that shell of a person for a number of years and I thought, there's so much more to life. And I knew there was," she said.
Sue started feeling this way 30 years ago, when she was in her mid-40's.
She was diagnosed with cervical and colon cancer, which meant she had to have a complete hysterectomy, throwing her into early menopause.
Even though she became cancer-free, Sue said something was still missing.
"I was trying to search and find what I could take. I took all kinds of supplements that would try to give me the energy I needed and nothing worked," she said.
Sue tried all the creams and the patches to treat her hormone imbalance, but the hope for a better life was beginning to seem out of reach.
"My husband would just hold me and say, 'It's going to be alright, it's going to be alright," she said.
Hope finally came in the form of a book about bio-identical hormone replacement.
The rest, Sue said, is history.
She found Dr. Constance Crisp, with BodyLogicMD, who was the first doctor in Arkansas to focus on this specific therapy.
"I started in 2009, so I've been doing it for quite a long time," she said.
Dr. Crisp said she's helped over a thousand patients just like Sue.
"Once you're low on hormones, they don't tend to come back. It's not curative," she said.
It's more so a matter of replacement, which is why Dr. Crisp said pellet therapy turns that shell of a human, that so many of her patients feel, into a woman again.
"This is probably the most physiological way of getting the hormone because it's inside your body," she said.
This pellet, no more than one centimeter big, is filled with testosterone.
It gets placed into the hip, with a tiny incision, and dissolves over a period of about three months.
Dr. Crisp said the procedure only takes 10 minutes.
"It just kind of gets placed and they can forget about it and they get the benefits," she said.
Dr. Crisp said pellet therapy has improved many Arkansans' lives.
"That is probably the best part -- when somebody comes back into my office and they tell me that, you know, I saved their marriage or their family likes them again," she said.
Sue said it's also all about what you put into the therapy. She doesn't let that little pellet do all of the work.
She said she exercises daily and eats as healthy as she can to make sure her zest for life continues.
Dr. Crisp said women aren't the only ones who can receive this type of treatment. About 20% of her patients are men.
How do you know if this is right for you?
Dr. Crisp said if you have low energy, don't have the drive you once had for life, you're working out but not building muscle, getting weaker, or have no sex drive, this may be right for you.
She said several tests are done with patients before she starts doing the therapy, like blood work and urine tests, to see if this is the fit for them.
Dr. Crisp said if you have too low or high of certain hormones, there are side effects like irritability, breast tenderness, moodiness, and headaches.