The discreet charm of Dr. Jennifer Parks "Pasadena Pellet Therapy"
STORY BY // Roberta Cruger
PHOTOGRAPHS BY // Jamie Pham
According to my friends in the know, she's better than even Suzanne Somers' hormone doctor,” one woman says of Dr. Jennifer Park of Fair Oaks Women's Health, adding, sotto voce, “I'm not there-yet-but that's what I've heard.” Unassuming, soft-voiced and warm, Dr. Park has women of a certain age lining up for what she calls Pasadena Pellet Therapy, a bio-identical alternative to conven- tional synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Her pleasant bedside manner gives great comfort, her patients say, when the doctor sticks a 5mm pellet of Estradiol and a Tic Tac-sized dose of testosterone into the fatty tissue of the upper outer quadrant of their buttocks, creating a hormone reservoir with a steady 24/7 release.
Even if numbing eliminates any insertion pain, “You might feel a bit bruised the next day,” Dr. Park admits. But the result, her patients report, is an end to annoying hot flashes, night sweats, lack of sleep, loss of bone density, depression and other maddening symptoms of menopause-with less worry over side effects such as an increased cancer risk that comes with conventional hormone therapy.
“Bio-identical hormones pose less risk,” the doctor says, citing a 20-year study with compelling results and offering assurance that the soy-based compound more closely mimics human hormones chemically. As for her method of delivery, she notes,
“subcutaneously administering hormones bypasses the liver, which can eliminate a host of problems.” Why isn't her method more prevalent? “It's easier for doctors to prescribe pills,” she says. Still, the pellets do not work their magic without some side effects of their own, albeit manageable ones like facial hair growth and acne.
The greatest challenge may be getting an appoint- ment, with Dr. Park's schedule filled many weeks in advance. Her patients are willing to be, well, patient. “She treats with her heart as well as her mind,” one says. Another beams and says, “I feel 29 again!”