Hormones are a pivotal component of bodily function and wellness in both men and women. However, people tend to associate hormonal dysfunction with women despite the fact than men are equally at risk.
Regardless of gender, hormone production declines with age bringing with it a variety of dysfunctions and disorders. Fortunately, it is possible to counteract hormonal decline and alleviate its associated symptoms by utilizing bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or BHRT.
Are Men at Risk of Hormone Issues?
Most hormone related research has focused primarily on women despite the fact that the occurrence of hormone dysfunction is nearly equal between genders. Due in part to the lack of circulated information regarding male hormone health, many are not aware that men frequently suffer from hormonal issues contributing to symptoms such as fatigue, inability to lose weight, loss of muscle, lack of motivation, changes in mood, low libido, and more. These and other issues may be resolved through effective implementation of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or BHRT. Currently, BHRT is most often used for female-specific conditions such as perimenopause and menopause. However, men suffering from hormonal imbalance or dysfunction can also benefit greatly from BHRT.
The Significant Need for BHRT
The growing concern regarding male hormone health is justified by the fact that average testosterone levels among men has decreased over the past 20 years with numbers continuing to decline. It is estimated that by the age of 80, hormone levels among most males will fall to pre-puberty levels. Furthermore, studies suggest that poor nutrition and increased exposure to toxins, pollutants, and pesticides has accelerated the decline of hormones in current populations. This is worrying as even a minor decline or imbalance in hormone values can have a significant impact on male health.
Symptoms associated with hormonal disruption among men include:
- Brain fog and cognitive difficulties
- Difficulty building muscle
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased belly fat
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of libido
- Low energy
- Poor physical performance
- Reduced muscle mass and definition
- Sleep apnea or insomnia
- Unexpected or unexplained weight gain
The best method for alleviating these and other hormone-related symptoms is by improving hormone levels. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is an effective way of restoring the body’s balance of various important hormones including testosterone, DHEA, progesterone, and estrogens. Each of which play a prominent role regarding male health.
Specific Conditions Improved through BHRT
Male health is plagued by many conditions, some of which are triggered or stimulated by hormone imbalances. For example, mental health issues, heart disease, and prostate function are all influenced by hormone activity. Men who are at risk of developing or are already suffering from such conditions can benefit greatly from BHRT.
Mental wellness is closely tied to hormone activity. As levels of testosterone and other hormones decline in men, so too does their mood, memory, and liveliness. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism investigated the effects of testosterone on neurological function. Those who had higher levels of free testosterone presented better scores on a variety of neurological tests that assessed memory and visuospatial function. Increased testosterone levels may be achievable through BHRT. Other studies have found that depression and mood disorders may also be improved through BHRT. Research clearly suggests that improving hormone levels may help men limit neurological degradation and better protect mental function.
Cardiovascular disease is perhaps the greatest threat to men’s health. Studies show that maintaining appropriate hormone balance may play a critical role in keeping the heart functioning at its best. Using data from the population-based Rotterdam Study it was found that nonsmoking participants with the highest testosterone levels had a 60% less risk of atherosclerosis. Part of the reason for this may be that optimizing hormone levels, specifically testosterone, is associated with reducing LDL or bad cholesterol, increasing HDL or good cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, regulating heart rhythm, decreasing body fat, reducing triglyceride levels, and improving oxygen uptake. Each of these factors reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve longevity.
Prostate health is a major concern for men over the age of 40. In recent years the occurrence of prostate conditions has increased. The greater prevalence of prostate problems may be associated with the widespread decline of hormones among men.
Prostate enlargement or BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) is a common male health issue. It is estimated that more than 40 percent of American men over the age of 50 will suffer from benign prostate disease such as prostate enlargement. Depending on the severity of the enlargement and the location, various symptoms may develop including:
- Difficulty starting urination
- Ejaculation difficulties
- Feeling as though the bladder has not emptied completely
- Frequent urination
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Unexpected or sudden need to urinate
- Waking during the night to urinate
- Weak urine stream
Prostate cancer is also a major concern. Research shows that most men who live past the age of 65 will develop prostate cancer. This specific form of cancer is slow growing and is more often seen in elderly individuals. However, it can develop in younger men, in which case the cancer is typically more aggressive.
The prostate relies on a variety of hormones that may be supplemented through BHRT. The three most important hormones regarding proper prostate health are estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone. Maintaining proper values of these hormones via BHRT can significantly reduce the risk of developing issues such as BPH and prostate cancer.
Making the Most of Hormone Therapy for Men
Hormones play an integral role in men’s health. Currently, it is expected that most American men will experience at least some degree of hormonal disruption during their life. As you age, the risk of hormone deficiency or imbalance increases significantly. Fortunately, many of the issues associated with hormonal dysfunction can be prevented or alleviated through the use of BHRT. Supplying the body with appropriate natural hormones can help support prominent areas of male health including mental wellness, heart function, and prostate health. Any man interested in supporting their overall wellness and improving longevity should consider using BHRT.
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2. Erika T.Schwartz, MD and Kent Holtorf, MD “Hormones in Wellness and Disease Prevention: Common Practices, Current State of the Evidence, and Questions for the Future.” Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. Volume 35, Issue 4, December 2008, Pages 669-705.
3. A. Elisabeth Hak, et al. “Low Levels of Endogenous Androgens Increase the Risk of Atherosclerosis in Elderly
Men: The Rotterdam Study.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Aug 2002. Vol. 87, No. 8 3632-3639.
4. John R. Lee, M.D. “Hormone Balance for Men.” John Lee, M.D.