Guys, hormone balance is not just a problem among women, which also means hormone therapy can help you. Men who pursue bio-identical hormone therapy to treat hormonal imbalance may experience significant benefits, including more energy, increased muscle mass and strength, weight loss and improved sexual function.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance in Men
It's a fact of life: hormone levels decline as you age. Hormone imbalance in men can occur at any point in the life cycle, but it is most commonly experienced around middle-age when testosterone levels reach a peak point of decline. Though men can experience an imbalance of any number of hormones, low testosterone has the biggest impact on a man's health and quality of life. Symptoms of hormone balance in men generally begin to occur with greater frequency and intensity when a man reaches middle age. This stage is often referred to as andropause, or more colloquially, "the male menopause."
Symptoms of hormone imbalance in men or andropause may include:
- Muscle loss
- Weight gain
- Sleep problems
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Lower sex drive
- Hair loss
- Erectile dysfunction
- Urinary problems
- Memory loss
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy has become the preferred treatment for men seeking to restore hormone levels to a balanced state and stop the symptoms of aging. Bioidentical hormones are one form of hormone therapy that has gained popularity in recent decades—though it dates back to the 1930s—because of its effectiveness in helping men and women achieve hormonal balance.
Bioidentical hormones are compounded hormones derived from naturally-occurring sources and designed to be structurally indistinguishable from endogenous human hormones. The term "bioidentical" refers to the exact-match replication that can be credited for the reduced number of side effects and risks patients experience, as well as the effectiveness of the treatment.
Bioidentical hormones are created in a lab and compounded into tailored prescriptions at a compounding pharmacy. Compounding pharmacies operate under specified guidelines established by the FDA to compound bioidentical hormones in the exact strength and dosage as prescribed by the attending practitioner. In most cases, bioidentical hormones cannot be patented and made into mass prescription forms by large pharmaceutical companies.
Doses are carefully determined by your practitioner. Your hormone therapy practitioner will meet with you to review and discuss your medical history, symptoms, lifestyle and lab results. This information ensures that your treatment plan and prescriptions perfectly suited to the needs of your body and the health goals you wish to achieve.
Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for men suffering from symptoms of hormone imbalance. Men have reported vast benefits from bioidentical testosterone therapy and fewer side effects than with synthetic hormones. There are a number of hormone replacement therapy options available to meet the medical needs, health goals and lifestyles of most men, including pellets, patches, creams, pills and injections. The delivery method selected is largely dependent on the design of the treatment plan and personal preferences.
Why Should Men Use Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?
There are plenty of reasons men should consider choosing bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to restore hormonal balance. Research has shown that bioidentical hormone therapy is both safe and effective, not to mention it has a very positive effect on the health of men.
For example, men who restore testosterone to natural levels using testosterone replacement therapy have been shown to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke1. Adequate levels of testosterone have also been linked to higher energy levels and healthy weight control. One study2 found that men treated with testosterone therapy experienced a reduction in fat mass and increases in muscle mass and strength. Other benefits of hormone therapy for men include enhanced sexual desire and performance, better bone density with aging and improved spatial performance in patients with Alzheimer's disease3.
Men who have been treated with bioidentical hormone therapy report benefits such as:
- More energy
- Reduced body fat
- Improved mood
- Reduced anxiety
- Increased muscular strength
- Boosted sexual performance
- Maintenance of lean body mass
Hormone replacement therapy using bioidentical hormones is an effective and natural option for restoring and balancing hormone levels in men. Conventional methods used to restore male hormone levels, such as synthetic hormones produced by pharmaceutical companies do not provide the tailored treatment necessary for achieving and maintaining optimal health.
When Do Men Need Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?
Deciding when to begin hormone therapy is simple. Ask yourself, when do you want to start feeling your best again? The longer you wait, the further you are from achieving this goal.
It is not uncommon for men to dismiss the signs of hormonal imbalance as normal signs of aging, however men as young as age 30 can experience hormonal imbalance. The symptoms may begin to pile up quickly or accumulate slowly over years. If you notice one or more symptoms such as weight gain, depression, sexual dysfunction, irregular sleep patterns and fatigue, it's time to take action.
Declines in testosterone are the most common gauge for determining hormonal imbalance in men, but that doesn't mean men are not affected by thyroid disorders or low progesterone—as examples. Testosterone production in men decreases, on average, by approximately 2 percent per year and reaching peak declines around middle age. By the time the average man reaches his seventies, he has about one-third of the testosterone he had in his twenties. Worse yet, it has been reported that the levels of testosterone in an average 60-year-old man would yield a diagnosis of hypogonadism in a younger man. Low testosterone can quickly become an issue for aging men, making it vital for men to seek treatment when symptoms initially appear.
Side Effects and Research on Bioidentical Hormone Therapy
Bioidentical hormone therapy reduces the risk of side effects compared to other forms of hormone therapy. Though no drug, herb or supplement is 100 percent safe or recommended for every individual, bioidentical hormone therapy has comparatively fewer side effects and health risks than synthetic hormones.
Testosterone replacement therapy does come with a few side effects that men should be aware of, however, working with a highly-trained and expert physician specializing in hormone therapy, your therapy will be carefully managed to reduce or eliminate potential side effects.
Common side effects of testosterone therapy include:
- Mild fluid retention
- Acne and/or oily skin
- Decreased sperm count
- Decreased testicular size
- Elevated red blood cell count
Men who have been previously diagnosed with prostate cancer must seek approval with their primary care physician before pursuing hormone therapy, particularly testosterone therapy.
Is BHRT the Best Choice for Hormone Imbalance in Men?
Men seeking to restore hormone balance and reduce the effects of aging can achieve their goals with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. The expert physicians of the BodyLogicMD network have advanced training in hormonal health and hormone therapy to ensure men can reach their health goals with a custom treatment planned designed to specifically address their medical concerns, improve their health and enhance their quality of life.
Treatment begins with state-of-the-art testing to assess your current hormone levels and get to the root cause of your symptoms. After your results come back from the lab, your physician will meet with you to discuss your medical history, symptoms, and how life has changed for you personally. He or she will use this information to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that may also include dietary changes, fitness recommendations and pharmaceutical-grade supplements to effectively restore hormonal balance and improve overall health. Your doctor will partner with you to develop the plan that best suits your goals and lifestyle.
1 Normalization of testosterone level is associated with reduced incidence of myocardial infarction and mortality in men
2 The benefits and risks of testosterone replacement therapy: a review
3 Effect of Testosterone Therapy in Men With Alzheimer's Disease and Low Testosterone