Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men
What is Andropause?
Andropause is known as male menopause, where the levels of testosterone gradual decrease causing many unpleasant symptoms. A D A M is a term used to describe Androgen Deficiency Aging Male. And in Greek the word Andropause is broken into two parts: Andro=male and pause=stop.
When do men go through Andropause?’
It is typical for a man to experience Andropause during the ages of 40-55. Some men notice testosterone levels dropping in their 30s.
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. (To ensure the continuation of the species.)
Benefits of Bioidentical Hormones in General:
- Restores optimal hormonal balance to the body
- May help regain vitality
- More effective for some than synthetic hormone replacement therapy
- Able to be used optimally and safely
- Absorbed through the skin slowly
- Fewer interactive problems when taking other medications
- Restorative sleep
- Less dangerous than synthetic hormone replacement therapy which is known to cause cancers
- Custom compounded: Option to have your hormones individually matched and tailored to your blood chemistry and hormones levels
- Body is able to recognize the hormones as its own and uses them as nature intended
- Slows down the aging process!
Erectile Dysfunction – this is characterized by experiencing difficulty in achieving or maintaining an erection, or the ability to ejaculate, also characterized by impotence. Not too fun for either of us really.
Decreased Libido – The drive and urge toward sexual activity is reduced due to the drop in testosterone, 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.
Infertility – the experience of not being capable of producing sperm. Testosterone is the hormone that initiates the production of sperm and provides men with the power to produce offspring. The sperm are produced in the testes and in order for the testes to produce sperm, the pituitary gland must be stimulated.
Muscle Loss – 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 and therefore it is easier to gain weight. 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.
Osteoporosis – is when the bones become porous and are more susceptible to fractures. Testosterone is the hormone most prevalent in men and is responsible for maintaining the strength of the bones. As men age testosterone naturally decreases and the body’s ability to maintain bone mass is weakened.
Gynecomastia – Is the abnormal growth of the breasts in men often referred to as “man boobs.” As the testosterone levels decrease, which can create an atmosphere where the breasts enlarge due to the increase in estrogen which is the hormone most prevalent in females. Hormonal balance of testosterone in men is very important, just as important as estrogen is for women.
Weight Gain – As men age testosterone levels decrease and with it the amount of lean muscle mass. The more body fat that is present, the greater the opportunity for testosterone to be transformed into estrogen. The testosterone and cortisol levels are a delicate balance. As testosterone decreases the levels of cortisol increases. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for “fight or flight” response, which inhibits digestion and relaxation of muscles and increases the desire for sweets and carbohydrates.
Fatigue – abnormal weariness, tiredness or sluggishness is experienced and is caused by a combination of factors where a drop in testosterone is responsible. Hot flashes, night sweats and sleep problems all can add to a feeling of fatigue simply because of improper sleep. When the testosterone level decreases the lean muscle mass also decreases which can result in weight gain and feelings of sluggishness. It is important to continue to exercise during this time to increase lean muscle mass and help improve energy levels. Make proper adjustments to your food and water intake to support the flux in hormones.
Sleep Problems – Insomnia and sleep apnea are characterized by an interruption in the normal sleep patterns preventing one from awakening feeling rested. During andropause men experience this symptom due to the decrease in testosterone, which influences the cortisol levels. The greater amount of cortisol, the greater amount of stress on the body and drain on the adrenals. The inability to fall asleep can be a vicious cycle. Maintaining a healthy and balanced level of hormones is very important to restore proper sleep patterns.
Hot Flashes – do 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 to too low of a level, a signal is sent to the hypothalamus that the body is overheating and acts accordingly causing flashes of heat in order to cool itself down.
Night Sweats – are related to the hot flashes that occur during the day, but they can be more severe at night. The cortisol levels are high, which is a stress hormone and sweating is a natural “fight or flight” response. As the testosterone levels drop the hypothalamus receives messages that the body is overheating and in response the blood vessels dilate and the body attempts to push the heat out of the body and cool itself down. During andropause night sweats are characterized by awakening soaked in sweat and then countered by cold chills.
Irritability – is caused from a hormonal imbalance of estrogen and testosterone. With the drop in testosterone, the estrogen levels are more prominent and can lead to mood swings which are similar to those in women during menopause or their menstrual flow. Men who are more stressed have a greater amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, which lowers testosterone, making them 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.
Memory Loss – Testosterone helps regulate cortisol levels in the brain. When the testosterone levels decrease, the cortisol levels fluctuate and create confusion and foggy thinking due to the malfunction of the neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are not working properly due to the irregular levels of hormones required to do their job correctly. Ensuring the steady and balanced levels of testosterone in the body can create a stronger memory.
Depression – Hypogonadism, is characterized by very low levels of testosterone and contributes to a feeling of great unease. The hormone T3 drains the brain of serotonin the chemical responsible for feelings of happiness. Hypothyroidism and low levels of the thyroid hormone can also contribute to feelings of depression.
Hair Loss – thinning of hair or baldness are common symptoms during andropause. As the testosterone levels decrease, the ability for hair follicles to regenerate weakens. DHT is what causes hair follicles to die when testosterone decreases. These two chemicals work closely together. When men have a poor diet and are stressed during andropause, these factors can inhibit the ability of hair follicles to grow healthily.
Urinary Problems – urination can become difficult when the prostate enlarges due to the change in hormones. The prostate gland is regulated by hormones and when it enlarges, it squeezes on the urethra preventing the release of a regular flow of urine. The hormones responsible for maintaining a healthy prostate are estrogen, DHT and testosterone. It is important that these hormones maintain a balanced level. If the hormones get so out of balance, kidney stones can develop. Among the urinary problems that can occur are: urinary incontinence, which is a leaking of urine and the inability to control the bladder. And Painful Bladder Syndrome is where one experiences inflammation in the bladder and frequent urination occurs.
What are bioidentical hormones?
Bioidentical hormones are an exact chemical match to hormones naturally occurring in the human body. These chemicals are extracted from the yam and soy plants. They are synthesized to be identical to the molecules of the hormones naturally produced by women and men. The body recognizes the bioidentical hormones from these plants exactly like they would the hormones produced from the testes or ovaries. It is important to know that the absorption pathway can make a difference in the effectiveness and the side effects depending on if the hormones are taken by pill or topically, as a cream or patch. The body does a better job if the bioidentical hormones are taken topically.
Our directory of specialists concentrate on a preventive medical approach that helps put an end to suffering and effects caused by stress induced adrenal fatigue, signs of early menopause, menopause, perimenopause and andropause (the male menopause).
Bioidentical hormone doctors can provide you with all of the safety information, answer all your questions, clear up all of your doubts, inform you about symptoms, hormone testing and provide the general guidance you need. You need to be fully informed before making the final decision.
A qualified doctor can provide the possibility of enjoying an active, happy and healthy life, by fighting all of the uncomfortable effects of menopause and hormone imbalance.
Schedule your appointment with Dr. Prieto 305-557-0000.