What Is a Hormone Imbalance?
Hormone imbalances are defined by abnormal levels of any hormone in your bloodstream.
Why Do Normal Hormone Levels Matter?
The amount of each hormone matters because throughout the body, hormones control most of the body’s important processes; if you don’t have enough or have more than is needed, it affects your entire body.
What Are the Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance?
When your body doesn’t produce enough testosterone, you may experience several symptoms, such as the following:
- Hot flashes
- Trouble concentrating on a task
- Bone loss or osteoporosis
- Loss of muscle mass
- Diminished body hair
- Thinner beard
- Erectile dysfunction
- Tenderness in the breasts
- Increased tissue in the breasts or gynecomastia
For aging men, hormone imbalances typically manifest themselves in abnormal or reduced levels of testosterone, which can affect everything from weight gain to libido.
What Are Normal Levels of Testosterone?
Typically, normal levels of testosterone remain within 270 to 1,070 ng/dL. During your initial consultation, our team of physicians will perform a diagnostic blood analysis to find out if your testosterone levels are below 270 ng/dL. This knowledge is the first step to addressing any seemingly age-related issues you may be experiencing.
The Testosterone Production Process
The male body has testes that complete the process of testosterone production. The testes are known as the male “gonads,” and they secrete testosterone into the bloodstream. It begins when the pituitary hormone is known as “luteinizing hormone” stimulates the interstitial cells to secrete testosterone.
Testosterone levels rise and fall at different times throughout the day. When these levels are low, the hypothalamus receives a signal to release luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone that is also known as “LH-RH.” LH-RH stimulates the pituitary gland to dispense luteinizing hormone. LH stimulates the testes, and the testes release testosterone. This takes place until the body detects that it has enough testosterone. Then, the hypothalamus lets the pituitary gland know that the body has enough testosterone.
Why Do Testosterone Levels Drop?
Testosterone levels may begin to fall for several reasons, but it is also a naturally occurring process. In most cases, maximum testosterone production occurs when young men are 17 years old, and their levels remain high for several years after that. Testosterone levels begin to decline at age 40 in most men, and this steady decline remains at a rate of 1% to 2% per year.
Most men don’t notice that their testosterone levels are falling every year, but by the time they reach the age of 70, their testosterone levels are 30% lower than they were at their peak. The system described above gradually slows down and may be the reason that you are experiencing a hormonal imbalance.
What’s the Diagnosis?
When a physician determines that your testosterone levels are below 270 ng/dL, the diagnosis may be “hypogonadism.” This condition is also called “testosterone deficiency,” and it is when the testes are not producing a sufficient amount of testosterone.
How Are Hormone Imbalances Treated?
Most medical professionals will treat hormone imbalances with comprehensive testosterone replacement therapy. This treatment can take a variety of forms but is typically administered via injection, oral medication, and topical gels.
Are There Any Benefits of Treating Hormone Imbalances?
The benefit of testosterone replacement therapy is that it reduces the effects of hypogonadism that were listed above. Many men noticed improvements in the following areas:
More Muscle Mass
As supplementation increases a man’s lean muscle mass, it also decreases the amount of excess fat on his body. In addition to that, it increases his energy levels. His muscles become larger, and he may also notice that he is getting stronger, but everyone doesn’t experience an increase in strength.
Improved Bone Strength
When testosterone starts to decrease, a man’s bone density also decreases. This is what increases his chances of developing osteoporosis, but testosterone replacement therapy has been known to increase the strength of a man’s bones.
An Improved Sex Drive
When men begin to take testosterone replacement therapy, they also begin to engage in sexual activity more than they had before the supplementation. Higher levels of testosterone contribute to this extra activity, and it particularly benefits older men. Some studies have demonstrated that hormone replacement therapy can improve your sexual functioning, but if you don’t have hypogonadism, you aren’t going to necessarily notice these benefits.
An Improvement in Mood
Irritability, fatigue, and depression are symptoms associated with lower testosterone levels. In studies, men diagnosed with hypogonadism did experience improvements in their moods, and they didn’t feel as tired or irritable. The studies are also telling us that hormone replacement therapy or HRT is an excellent way to treat depression.
An Improvement in Cognition
The studies have also demonstrated that men with higher testosterone levels are not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease as often as men with lower levels. Testosterone also contributes to the brain’s ability to process information at a faster rate. Spatial memory even improved in men from the age of 34 to the age of 70 after they received testosterone supplementation.
An Improvement in Heart Health
Some studies suggest that men were 24% less likely to experience a heart attack after testosterone replacement therapy. They were also 36% less likely to experience a stroke.
How Long Will It Be Before I See the Results?
Although everyone is different, men typically begin to see results after about three weeks after beginning treatment.
It usually begins with a general improvement in mood and a reduction in anxiety and depression. Physically, it can take as little as six weeks to begin noticing changes throughout the body, with the gradual development of lean muscle mass, loss of excess body fat, and a general improvement to body composition occurring around 12 weeks following the start of treatment. Within the body, the effects that HRT has on bone density and health begin to appear in as little as six months.
How to Get Started
You may suspect that your testosterone levels are falling because you have been experiencing the symptoms listed above. The best way to find out if what you are experiencing is a hormone imbalance is to contact us at 305-682-1818. Our highly trained, dedicated team of medical professionals will best be able to help diagnose your symptoms and work with you to create a treatment plan that best fits your lifestyle and goals.
- Human Sexuality in a World of Diversity by Spencer A. Rathus, Jeffrey S. Nevid and Lois Fichner-Rathus.