Posted By: Dr. Gary Bellman
Men are often forgotten in the world of health when it comes to hormonal balance and the underlying factors that bring about ill health. Often they dismiss the signs of hormonal imbalances as just a natural part of aging. While women’s hormonal balance is more overt, subtle changes in the endocrine system in men can cause a variety of conditions such as hot flashes, psychogenic changes, bone mineral loss, decreased libido and/or sexual function, weight gain, depression and other symptoms identical to the female menopause.
These conditions happen more often as men age. However, men at any age can suffer from adrenal insufficiency, which is a leading factor of insulin resistance and low testosterone levels. In younger men, this may manifests as burnout, anxiety, PTSS (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome), insomnia and depression.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a hormone problem:
What You Should Know About Hormones
Difficulty passing urine
Headaches / Migraines
Mood swings / depression
Inability to lose weight
Foggy thinking / Memory loss
Lack of interest in sex
Adult Acne, reduced muscular strength
Enlarged p rostate
Erectile Dysfunction, lowered libido
Although present in only tiny amounts, hormones act on every cell of your body. Hormones have individual effects, but also interact with each other to produce dramatic effects in the body; because of these interactions, they are able to trigger multiple body systems. When any of the hormones are imbalanced, symptoms may occur. Imbalances are most common in early and later ages in life, but imbalances can happen at any age. The slow decline of hormones as men age causes symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, soft erections, low libido, weight gain, and inability to build muscle.
Hormones are extremely potent substances; it only takes a very small amount to initiate an action. They are secreted into the bloodstream by the glands and then enter cells through “receptor” sites. Once inside, they get to work, flipping the switches that govern growth, development, and mental and physical functions throughout life.
When your hormones become unbalanced due to physical/emotional stress or the effects of aging, hormone functions become disrupted. Signals do not reach the right place at the right time. On occasion, cell functions shut down completely. In other cases, cells are over stimulated. All this chaos causes unpleasant symptoms, at the very least. In severe situations, these imbalances can lead to chronic disorders or disease.
How Do You Know If You May Have A Hormonal Imbalance
Since fat cells manufacture estrogen (a powerful hormone), it is crucial for men to maintain normal weight to have balanced sex hormones. Excess fat can lead to an excess of estrogen in men. When you see a man with a beer belly and breast-buds (female-like development of breasts), he probably has an estrogen excess made by fat cells. This may be the reason that overweight and obese men have a higher incidence of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hypertrophy
). In males, higher levels of dihydrotestosterone
, a hormone derived from testosterone, is associated with BPH and possibly prostate cancer; increased levels of estrogen also appear to play a role in the development of BPH.
Other non-sex-hormone factors can create imbalances in the sex hormones. An excess or deficiency of the thyroid hormone will change sex hormone levels; replacing the sex hormone in any quantity will not correct the problem until you have compensated for the thyroid function. Changes in liver function can also cause a shift in the relative amounts of various hormones, because the liver processes most sex hormones. Faulty liver function, as evidenced by high cholesterol levels, contributes to inadequate transformation of hormones. Improving liver function is a key step in normalizing hormones and the body’s response to hormones (it is possible to have adequate hormone levels and still have symptoms of deficiency or excess if the liver is not working properly).
Remember that overall good health is critical to the body’s production of hormones. Inadequate nutrients from diet is a major factor in hormonal imbalance. Excess alcohol, refined carbohydrates (sugars), and “trans” fats will all have a negative effect on hormone levels.
When you suspect a hormonal imbalance, I recommend blood tests and which often reveal what may be happening. Without laboratory testing, it is difficult to know exactly which hormones are out of balance and by how much. If you are interested in preventing age-related changes that occur with diminished sex hormones, then specialized laboratory testing is advised. Make sure that you consult a professional. We have many cases where inappropriate hormone replacement was given without proper testing by well meaning practitioners.
Fixing hormones is based on the findings, then a unique protocol can often remedy the condition and create profound improvements on one's health. Professional guidance and monitoring is suggested in order to make sure the right treatment is being given at the right time in the right dose