The male body begins to produce testosterone before the baby is even born. When the embryo is in its seventh week, it starts and maintains high levels of testosterone production throughout the pregnancy. After the baby is born, the levels aren’t much higher than the testosterone levels found in baby girls.
Puberty is the time when testosterone production becomes prominent again. At this time, the hypothalamus starts to produce gonadotropin-releasing hormone or GnRH, and it sends signals to the pituitary gland. After this occurs, the pituitary gland releases luteinizing hormone or LH and follicle-stimulating hormone of FSH. LH is the hormone that triggers the production of testosterone, and FSH uses testosterone to produce sperm.
This is the time when GnRH and LH begin working overtime in the testosterone production department, and the boy begins to notice changes that make him more masculine. This production peaks at the age of 17, but his testosterone levels will remain relatively high for two or three decades.
What Are the Typical Hormonal Levels?
By the time a man reaches the age of 40, his body doesn’t produce as much testosterone as it did when he was a teenager. At this time, testosterone production decreases by approximately 1% every year.
A man’s testosterone levels are within the normal range when they are between 270 and 1,070 ng/dL. Testosterone levels that fall below the normal range cause a hormonal imbalance.
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What Can Cause Hormonal Imbalance?
A hormonal imbalance is when there is too much or too little of a hormone present within the bloodstream. When testosterone levels fall and estrogen levels increase, a man begins to gain weight. When this happens, men tend to gain weight in the abdominal area, and this is when the weight starts to increase considerably. Most of the estrogen that a man’s body makes is created in his fat cells. It is the reason that an overweight man has higher levels of estrogen than a leaner man, and it contributes to the hormonal imbalance.
Fat within the abdominal area is metabolically active. This means that it is converting testosterone into estrogen. While this is going on, testosterone levels continue to decrease, and the fat that exists around the man’s midsection continues to increase. At this same time, he is losing muscle mass, so he starts to feel tired and has lower levels of energy.
What Are the Endocrine Glands?
Endocrine glands are the cells that create, store and release hormones into a person’s bloodstream. When this occurs, the hormones deliver messages to the body’s organs and other tissues that tell those organs and tissues what they need to do and when they need to do it. The body contains several endocrine glands for this purpose, including the following:
- Pancreatic islets
- Thyroid glands
- Parathyroid glands
- Pituitary glands
- Pineal glands
- The testes
- The ovaries
- The adrenal glands
If you are experiencing a medical condition that affects the glands listed above, a hormonal imbalance may be the result.
Several other reasons for hormonal imbalances exist, and they include being overweight, tumors of the pituitary gland, the use of steroids, overproduction or underproduction of the parathyroid hormone, hyperthyroidism and diabetes.
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What Other Symptoms Indicate Hormone Imbalance?
Symptoms you might experience if you have a hormonal imbalance include the following:
- Weight gain
- Hot flashes
- Having trouble concentrating
- Less muscle mass
- Less body hair and a thin beard
- Erectile dysfunction
- Tenderness of the breasts
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How Hormones Can Affect Your Weight.
According to a 2007 study, researchers tested the testosterone levels of their 1,667 male subjects. As a man’s BMI increases by one point, the researchers found that there was a 2% decrease in the testosterone level. In a 2008 study, researchers discovered that when a man’s waist size increases by four inches, he has a 75% chance of having low testosterone levels. In contrast, scientists know that after a man has lived 10 years, his testosterone levels will have decreased by only 36%. They determined that the size of a man’s waist is the best indicator of whether or not he will have a hormone imbalance.
A man’s ability to become a father is related to testosterone and obesity. Research studies performed in the United States determined that there is a link between obesity and low sperm motility and low sperm counts.
What Is Hypogonadism?
Hypogonadism is a condition in which the body fails to produce enough testosterone to maintain the production of sperm and the physical characteristics of men. The Endocrine Society states that if a man is 50 years of age or older and has testosterone levels equal to 200 ng/dL or lower, he must be diagnosed with hypogonadism.
The medical community suggests that men diagnosed with a hormonal deficiency need to be treated with hormone replacement therapy, but there seems to be a problem here. The Institute of Medicine stated that between four and five million men fit this description but that only 5% of these men are being treated with hormone replacement therapy right now.
What Are the Symptoms of Hypogonadism?
Several symptoms of hypogonadism include the following:
- A decrease in energy levels
- A decrease in the sex drive
The symptoms above are the early signs of a hormonal imbalance, but if the condition persists, the following symptoms can appear:
- A decrease in muscle mass
- A decrease in beard growth and body hair
- Erectile dysfunction
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you must visit your doctor to find the cause.
What Are the Benefits of Hormone Therapy?
Hormone replacement therapy that increases your levels of testosterone will result in several benefits, including the following:
A Decrease in Fat and an Increase in Muscle
Testosterone was the reason that your muscles grew larger during puberty, and it will help increase your muscle mass when you receive hormone replacement therapy. As you gain lean muscle mass, you will also lose excess body fat and gain an increased amount of energy.
An Increase in Bone Strength
Bone mineral density benefits from hormone replacement therapy as well. A decrease in testosterone is the reason that your bone density decreases, and this weakens your bones and causes osteoporosis.
An Increase in the Health of Your Heart and Your Blood
The bone marrow needs testosterone to produce red blood cells that take the oxygen from the lungs to the many other parts of your body. It also takes carbon dioxide to the lungs so that it can be exhaled, but low levels of testosterone lead to several cardiovascular abnormalities.
An Improved Sex Drive
When testosterone levels increase, so does your sexual activity. Some studies have shown that a man’s sexual performance can improve when he has an increased amount of testosterone in his bloodstream.
An Improvement in Mood
When testosterone levels are low, people begin to feel irritable, fatigued and depressed, and the research shows that this is the case for men suffering from the effects of hypogonadism. In general, men diagnosed with hypogonadism experienced an improvement in their moods with hormone replacement therapy. They were also less irritable and not nearly as fatigued.
An Improvement in Cognitive Abilities
The research also shows that when men take hormone replacement therapy, they have a decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. Testosterone replacement therapy also provides men with faster processing speeds and increases in verbal memory. Some also experienced improvements in spatial memory.
How Can I Get Help?
In order to find out whether or not you have a hormonal imbalance in your blood, you must contact us at 305-682-1818 to schedule an appointment. Our medical team will test, analyze and diagnose your condition and provide comprehensive treatment options. Call us if you would like to get help today.