Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men
Just like women, men suffer from hormonal imbalances. As men age, their testosterone levels steadily decline once they hit 30 and then dramatically drop in their 40’s and 50’s. Growing older is hard enough for men without having to needlessly suffer from declines in testosterone hormone levels.
This is called andropause or “The Male Menopause,” as the aging process and symptoms are similar to the symptoms woman experience during perimenopause and menopause. However, the difference is that the decline in hormones, for men, is not as sharp and sudden as a women’s during menopause. They may not feel drastic physical changes but rather small dips in their energy level, stamina, mental function, and sense of well being among other things.
Andropause, also known as “The Male Menopause,” is a time in a man’s life where the levels of testosterone, the male hormone, gradually decrease causing many unpleasant symptoms. Andropause is also referred to as ADAM, which is Androgen Deficiency Aging Male. Andropause is normally a slow and steady reduction in the testosterone levels, typically occurring between the ages of 40 and 55, although some men have noticed and reported a drop in their testosterone level as early as their 30’s. Unlike women, middle-aged men do not experience the complete and permanent shutdown of their reproductive system.
There are many symptoms that men, who are suffering from andropause, experience. However, every man’s experience is different.
Men may experience the following symptoms:
Decrease in Testosterone
Testosterone is the most significant hormone relating to men. A decrease usually occurs in men age 45-55 as a natural process of aging. This process is usually much more gradual than the process of menopause for women and may be harder to detect. An important distinction with the decreasing of testosterone relating to the testes is unique in that the testes don’t stop producing sperm. Women’s ovaries completely stop producing estrogen to produce eggs. In men the testosterone levels don’t completely run out or dry up, as sperm can be produced into the last years of one’s life.
In the plainest of terms, this is characterized by experiencing difficulty in getting it up, achieving or maintaining an erection or the ability to ejaculate, also characterized by impotence. Not too fun for anyone involved, really.
The drive and urge towards sexual activity is reduced due to the drop in Testosterone which is the hormone most responsible for giving men their male characteristics. There are specific foods that could be added to help with enhancing the libido thus increasing the testosterone levels naturally some of which are: salmon, almonds, avocados, bananas, asparagus, eggs and raw oysters.
Muscle loss at this stage is due to the decrease of testosterone. Testosterone binds to muscle cells in order to help build muscle. This decrease in hormones causes a decrease in muscle mass, which makes it is easier to gain weight as you get older. In other words, as testosterone decreases, muscle mass decreases, and fat mass increases. It is important to continue weight bearing exercises to continue to build lean muscle mass, which will also help with preventing osteoporosis.
Hot flashes occur in men who have a very low level of testosterone. Testosterone sends messages to the hypothalamus, which helps regulate temperature in the body. When the levels of testosterone drop, the hypothalamus gets the message that the body is overheating and acts accordingly, causing flashes of heat in order to cool itself down. This is an improper brain signal, caused by a low level of testosterone.
Irritability is caused from a hormonal imbalance of estrogen and testosterone. With the drop in testosterone, the estrogen levels are more prominent. This can lead to mood swings, which are similar to those in women during menopause or their menstrual cycle. Men who are more stressed have a greater amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, which lowers testosterone, and are more susceptible to fluctuating moods and irritability. If you find yourself feeling a little out of sorts, either being more demanding, angry, defensive, withdrawn, anxious or sad, it is time to take a look at your hormone levels and get them balanced out.
This is just a short list and description of the most common symptoms men often experience through andropause. Because there are a large number of symptoms men experience, it is usually best to bring each of your symptoms up to your physician to be reviewed and discussed.
Some of the additional symptoms men may experience:
- Hot Flashes
- Night Sweats
- Memory Loss
- Hair Loss
- Urinary Problems
- Weight Gain
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please vocalize this to your physician so they can be aware of all of these and help you find a individualized treatment that helps relieve these issues and help prevent additional symptoms.
Many men are embarrassed or uncomfortable discussing some of these symptoms or issues that they may be experiencing, with their significant other, let alone their physician; however, to get help fixing the problem or finding a treatment for the relief of these symptoms, you need to vocalize the problem to your highly trained and experienced physician. They understand that these symptoms you may be experiencing are not a comfortable discussion subject for you. However, your physician is there to help you address any health issues or symptoms you are experiencing, find you an individualized treatment program to correct or relieve these symptoms, and help you get your health and overall well-being back to what you experienced earlier in life.
The treatment for andropause is typically diagnosed by a physician who specializes in Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.
Your physician will evaluate the body’s hormone levels, through blood tests performed by a lab. After reviewing your lab results, the physician’s recommendations for the treatment of andropause usually will include hormone replacement therapy using bioidentical hormones and testosterone. Testosterone replacement therapy is a treatment for men with low testosterone who want to boost their health and overall well-being.
Bioidentical Hormone Therapy can be prescribed in various forms, including gels, creams, patches, injections and pellets inserted under the skin.