Women’s and men’s bodies experience hormonal changes since the time they were born and these changes are accentuated during puberty. After this period, hormones will continue to play an important role in maintaining our health, and reproductive and immune systems.
Men usually experience declines in hormone levels later in life and symptoms tend to develop gradually. Most of the symptoms experienced by men are caused by a decrease in the level of testosterone.
Low testosterone levels are known as andropause or “male menopause,” however, there are other hormones that can play a role in the development of symptoms.
What is Natural or Bio-identical Replacement Therapy?
Natural Hormone Replacement therapy is the administration of hormones identical in structure to the ones produced by the human body. They are individually compounded at specific doses for each patient, allowing for a more personalized hormone treatment. Treatments with natural hormones are safer and pose fewer risks than the synthetic hormones manufactured by the large pharmaceutical companies. Natural or Bio-identical hormones cannot be patented by these companies like the synthetic hormones such as testosterone injections. Because bio-identical hormones are not marketed by the pharmaceutical industry, the public has been slower to use them.
Why is it important to balance and optimize hormone levels?
With inadequate hormone levels, our organs cannot function at their best. Declining hormone levels are thought to be one of the primary causes of aging. Hormone Replacement Therapy will alleviate symptoms caused by andropause and other complaints related to other hormone imbalances such as thyroid, DHEA and melatonin.
What is andropause or “male menopause”?
Andropause is the period in a man’s life when there is a drastic drop in the levels of testosterone. Testosterone levels starts decreasing in most men near the age of 40. The active form of testosterone, “free testosterone,” drops significantly with age and is the cause of the symptoms that most men experience during this period.
What hormones are affected during andropause?
Testosterone and estrogen are the two main hormones affected. As men grow older, levels of free testosterone decrease and estrogen levels increase. Men can produce testosterone from estrogen in the testes and adrenal glands. The increase in the conversion of testosterone to estrogen will increase the circulating levels of this hormone. Increased estrogen levels in men may result in diminished energy, reduced libido, decreased muscle mass, abdominal weight gain, depression, reduced cognitive function, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
What are the benefits of Hormone Replacement Therapy during andropause?
Testosterone therapy for men is based on personal hormone test results to determine the testosterone replacement.
- Testosterone benefits: improved erectile function, increased libido, improved sense of wellbeing and mood, reduced fat, increased lean mass and bone density, increased exercise performance and strength, improved blood glucose, and possibly reduced risk of chronic diseases including heart disease and stroke.
What other hormones are affected with the aging process?
- Thyroid function: The thyroid gland secretes hormones that regulate your metabolism. Aging decreases the levels of this hormone, causing a slowdown of the body’s metabolism, resulting in fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, weight gain or loss, high blood pressure and/or heart problems.
- Adrenal function: The adrenal glands produce several hormones, including DHEA and cortisol. The aging process, stress and certain medications can decrease the production of these hormones. The most common symptoms are weakness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, obesity and a reduced sense of wellbeing. A prolonged imbalance can impact the immune system, trigger premature aging and set the stage for chronic illness.
- Melatonin production: Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland in the brain. It possesses powerful anti-aging and anti-cancer properties, and enhances sleep. Low levels may be associated with insomnia.
Are there any side effects of HRT?
As you begin hormone replacement therapy, there is typically a short adjustment period as the appropriate dosages are adjusted. You may start noticing positive changes immediately; it may take several months to fully balance your hormones. An adjustment in dosage typically relieves these symptoms. Risk of prostate cancer is still questionable.
For how long do I have to take HRT?
Declining hormone levels are thought to be one of the primary causes of aging. Many men have reported an overall sensation of increased wellbeing and increased stamina while taking hormone replacement over a long period of time. This is an individual choice. However, HRT is not recommended if a man is receiving treatment for prostate cancer.