When it comes to hormones, we usually think of how they affect women, especially during pregnancy and childbirth. But what we don’t hear a lot is about men and their hormones. Men too have hormones and these hormones can sometimes become unstable causing a hormonal imbalance which in turn leads to many problems.
Hormonal imbalance is a condition where the endocrine glands are not functioning at their optimal level. Endocrine glands are where the production of hormones, storage, and release of hormones occur. When the endocrine glands slow down their function, it causes the hormone levels to fluctuate, causing them to become either too high or too low.
Hormones are responsible for sending and receiving messages between organs and cells in the body. Without the hormones, the body cannot maintain its core functions. A hormonal imbalance in men can occur at any stage in their lives and can cause health problems which should require medical management.
Every man will experience decreasing levels of hormones at some point in their lives. However, it becomes a cause of concern when the resulting symptoms threaten the wellbeing of the person.
The most common hormonal imbalances that men experience include:
- Andropause: Also referred to as male menopause, this occurs when testosterone levels decline.
- Hypothyroidism: This occurs when the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormones.
- Hyperthyroidism: This occurs when the thyroid gland is over-producing thyroid hormones.
- Adrenal fatigue: This occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol hormone.
- Pituitary Dysfunction: which causes a loss of growth hormone.
Let’s look at what causes hormonal imbalance in men, what the symptoms are, and how to treat the hormonal imbalance.
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance in Men
The top cause of hormonal imbalance in men is decline of the testosterone hormone and growth hormone. This is rather a natural gradual process and can occur at any age. Growth hormones in men decline at an average of 1% yearly from the age of 20. By the time a man gets to the age of 80, he only has 5% of his original growth hormones. Other factors that cause hormonal imbalances in men include:
- Improper diet
- Certain medications
- Activity level
Since a decline in testosterone causes an imbalance of hormones, sexual performance is often affected. Most men who have imbalanced hormones tend to have low libido as well as erectile dysfunction and many other symptoms we will discuss below.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Men
Hormonal imbalance happens gradually in men which is why most people confuse the symptoms as signs of natural aging. By the time they realize that it is hormonal imbalance, the symptoms have gotten worse. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Loss of Hair
- Low libido
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Loss of body muscle
- Night sweats or hot flashes
- Increased weight/body mass
- Loss of memory/concentration
- Irritability and mood swings
- Fatigue and body weakness
- Heart palpitations
- Enlargement of the breast (Gynecomastia)
- Insomnia or sleep apnea
- Decreased level of interest in previously enjoyed activities
However, these symptoms may occur as a result of other health conditions. The best way to find out if you have hormonal imbalance is to do a hormone test right away.
Treating Hormonal Imbalance in Men
The good news is that hormonal imbalance in men is treatable either through natural ways or a hormonal replacement therapy.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
No two people are the same when it comes to hormone deficiency; similarly, treatments will not be the same. Each person has different symptoms, a different type of hormone deficiency and different hormone levels. Therefore, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) treatment must be customized for each patient by a well trained and certified physician.
Once the hormone test has shown the level of deficiency, a physician will then determine what form of treatment will be ideal. Different delivery methods will treat different types of hormones. Sometimes injectables and implant pellets are administered for a patient with low testosterone. For the other hormones, skin patches, troches, pills, creams, gels, and lozenges can also work.
The pills come in a gelatin capsule form and should be ingested on a full stomach to speed up their assimilation. Creams, patches, and gels are used on skin surface with little hair for fast absorption. Some patients will be put on HRT for just a short while and most others will be put on the treatment for a lifetime.
HRT quickly treats symptoms like erectile dysfunction and andropause, the male version of menopause. Most patients will report an improvement of their hormone deficiency symptoms in just a few weeks. Physicians will often administer estrogen blockers alongside HRT to protect the patient against breast cancer risks.
Ways to Balance Your Hormones Naturally
Take Adaptogen Herbs
For centuries, herbs such as maca, ginseng, dong quai, black cohosh, red clover, ashwagandha, and rhodiola have been used to boost hormones and protect the body from hormone-induced symptoms.
Make Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle is the major contributor of fluctuating hormones and so, to bring the hormones back to balance, one has to adopt a healthy lifestyle through:
- Managing stress
- Eating healthy and nutritious foods, especially those rich in proteins and fatty acids. Your body needs healthy fats to produce hormones.
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Getting enough sleep
Take Dietary Supplements
Sometimes it may not be possible to get all the necessary nutrients from a diet, which may lead to hormonal imbalance. That is why taking nutritional supplements is important. Here are the most important supplements to help balance your hormones:
Vitamin D: For a proper balance and functioning of hormones, vitamin D levels should range between 2000-5000 International Units (IU) daily. This is crucial especially if you live in dark cold places.
Vitamin D3: this vitamin helps promote bone and muscle health.
Vitamin B12: Helps regulate energy and promotes health of the nervous system and blood formation.
Probiotics: These are healthy bacteria that improve the production and regulation of crucial hormones like insulin and leptin.
Omega-6 fatty acids: Promote overall hormonal function.
Important nutritional compounds like collagen, glycine, glutamine, and proline can also help boost hormone creation.
Final Thoughts on Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalance is a common condition that affects millions of men worldwide. Hormonal imbalance is treatable and correctable. Lifestyle and aging are key factors that cause hormonal imbalance. If you are in need of treatment for hormonal imbalances, contact us today at Optimal Health to get the care you need to start living a healthier and better life today by completing the form below.