How do I know if Hormone Replacement Therapy is right for me?
Men of all ages can benefit from hormone replacement therapy. The following are the signs and symptoms related to hormone depletion in men. By performing simple lab tests, we can find out if you are depleted in any of your hormones. Most common hormone depletion in men is testosterone although, imbalances in other male hormones can cause the same or similar symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of male hormone imbalance:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Poor concentration and energy
- Loss of muscle tone
- Low libido or sex drive
Middle-Aged Men and Andropause
Andropause is a menopause “like” condition in middle-aged men which is related to the constant decline in the sex hormone levels in men. Hormones in men peak at age 25, after which there is a steady decline. Low testosterone, also known as, hypogonadism can also appear as the symptoms listed above. Aging naturally causes andropause in men and not all symptoms are necessarily related to andropause.
It is a known fact that with decline of hormones comes the rapid onset of aging. For this reason along with many others, it is very important to have your hormones checked and balanced.
Causes of Hormone Imbalance
- Aging: Hormone shifts occur due to aging as the body decreases testosterone production
- Environment: Pollutants releases toxins in the air that can negatively affect hormone secretion
- Diet: Many of the foods we eat today contain hormones (estrogen) such as chicken, beef, fruits, milk and eggs
- Steroid use: Abuse of steroids can cause hormone imbalances and causes negative reaction in men
- Other factors: Genetic conditions or anomalies, infection, injury or illness
- Alcohol: Daily alcohol consumption greater than two drinks per day, depletes testosterone levels. This occurs even in younger men.
Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy
For the majority of patients, hormone replacement therapy is perfectly safe. The side effects are rare or potentially mild. Some possible risks include skin irritation such as acne, fluid retention, testicular shrinkage, sleep apnea, excessive red cell growth and enlarge prostate. It is possible hormone replacement therapy can accelerate prostate or breast cancer. Your doctor will discuss the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy. Keep in mind, these side effects generally do not occur with lower doses that are usually used in hormone replacement therapy. It is in excessive doses that these effects occur. Some question that testosterone replacement therapy can reduce sperm count. Again, this is only true for doses that exceed the recommended ranges. Other concerns that may arise is testosterone converting to estone or estradiol. Medications are given in conjunction with testosterone replacement to block testosterone from converting to estrone, a form of estrogen that can produce prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.
In simple terms, bio-identical means it is similar to what your body produces on it’s own. These hormones bind to the proper hormone receptors in your body and promote activity in that tissue exactly as your own hormones do. Conversely, synthetic hormones can bind to these receptors and alter the cell’s DNA. This is how hormone replacement gets a bad reputation for producing cancer. Studies done have shown that synthetic not bioidentical hormones have these adverse effects.