Hormone Testing and Therapy
Hormones for Women
The symptoms of hormone imbalance may vary from person to person and will typically evolve over time. As symptoms evolve in women, they have a tendency to think that it is due to stress or aging. They often experience what feels like pre-menopausal symptoms long before menopause. Women often do not realize how bad they feel until they undergo hormone therapy.
Women can have imbalanced hormones before entering the pre-menopausal stage. For example, a woman may experience hot flashes or night sweats while in the PMS time period or vaginal dryness after delivering a baby. Additionally, women may continue to experience menopausal symptoms for years after their last period, and these symptoms can persist without hormone therapy.
Hormone imbalance symptoms in women include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Weight gain (mostly mid-section)
- Headaches (tension/migraine)
- Muscle and joint pain
- Fibromyalgia symptoms
- Insomnia or wakefulness at night
- Mood swings/depression
- Loss of ZEST for life – lack of enthusiasm
- Irritability (feeling “mean”)
- Difficulty concentrating or following a conversation
- Memory loss or loss of thoughts/words
- Low stamina
- Loss of sexual drive
- Reduced orgasms and sexual functioning
- Vaginal dryness or loss of lubrication
- Bladder infections and vaginal pain
- Premature skin aging and skin changes
- Loss of skin elasticity, excessive skin wrinkling
- Loss of head hair
- Facial hair
- Loss of vision
Testosterone Deficiency in Women
Testosterone is a hormone that is generally considered to be important for men, but it is also a vital hormone for women to maintain a high quality of life. The symptoms of low testosterone in women are often passed off as just part of getting older, but these symptoms can subside with hormone therapy.
Testosterone deficiency symptoms in women include:
Fatigue and exhaustion – If you’re constantly tired, even when you’re able to obtain a full night’s sleep, you could be experiencing symptoms of low testosterone. Decreased testosterone levels may contribute to you feeling exhausted and drained.
Sleep issues – You may even find it difficult to sleep through the night. Disrupted sleep is another common symptom for women with low testosterone. A healthy hormonal balance is key to achieving consistent, restful sleep.
Weight gain and difficulty losing weight – Many women with low testosterone experience loss of muscle and progressive weight gain. Midlife weight gain is so common that women often assume it’s just part of getting older, but if you are unable to control your weight or have changes in muscle tone and bone density, you may be exhibiting symptoms of low testosterone.
Decreased interest in sex – Just like in men, testosterone affects sexual arousal in women. Low testosterone can affect women’s sex lives. Women may experience reduced sex drive or “libido”. They may experience vaginal dryness, which causes painful intercourse.
Mood swings, depression, and low mood – If you are experiencing sudden bouts of depression, unexplained mood swings, or a generally low mood, then you may be suffering from low testosterone. Testosterone plays an important role in mood regulation in the body, and low levels of testosterone can wreak havoc with the body’s ability to regulate itself. If you are considering taking antidepressants to deal with your depression, then you may want to talk to your doctor about the possibility that your testosterone is low.
Anxiety – Another possible symptom of decreased testosterone levels is anxiety. Although anxiety caused by low testosterone is usually mild, it can possibly cause panic attacks. If you suddenly experience bouts of anxiety, especially if you have never had anxiety issues in the past, then you may want to talk to your doctor about low testosterone.
Difficulty concentrating – If you find that you are having difficulty concentrating on normal tasks, especially when you have always been able to concentrate easily, then you may be suffering from low testosterone.
Hair loss – Hair loss is one of the more obvious symptoms of low testosterone, so keep an eye out for any hair loss on your head or other areas. Although hair loss from low testosterone will be most obvious on the head, hair loss on other areas of the body may also occur. If you notice that you have to shave your legs and armpits fewer times per month than normal, or if you notice that your hair is getting patchy, you may be suffering from low testosterone.
Hormones for Men
Testosterone deficiency in men has become more prevalent in recent years. Healthy men continue to produce testosterone throughout their lives but at a slowly decreasing rate. Young men have high levels of testosterone and older men have lower levels.
Testosterone does not cause prostate cancer or BPH. If testosterone were the cause, young men (who have much higher levels of testosterone than older men) would be suffering from enlarged prostates and prostate cancer. Studies show that older men with the highest level of testosterone have the least prostate enlargement. Conversely, men with the highest level of estrogen have enlarged prostates.
As most men age, the level of estrogens, estrogen look-alikes, and xenoestrogen toxins in their bodies rise. Declining testosterone from aging, paired with the increasing levels of various estrogens, is likely the cause of prostate enlargement and prostate cancer in men.
Over a third of all men over the age of forty show symptoms of testosterone deficiency. They are middle-aged and older men who have symptoms associated with low testosterone levels but do not have primary or secondary hypogonadism. Their symptoms are often non-specific and can be further complicated by pre-existing medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and other chronic illness.
Symptoms of low testosterone in men include:
- Low energy and lethargy
- Loss of head hair and body hair
- Muscle strength diminished
- Muscle bulk/mass decreased
- Insomnia, wakefulness at night
- Fat gain midsection, belly fat
- Change of body shape, with increased abdominal fat and rudimentary breast development (man boobs)
- Poor memory performance
- Mood changes, ill-temper, depression, loss of feeling of well-being, and optimism.
- Decreased cognitive status, mental acuity, and clear thinking
- Lack of focus and attention
- Erectile dysfunction – difficulty getting and maintaining an erection
- Low libido loss of sexual interest
- Low sperm count in semen
- Osteoporosis or decreased bone mineral density
Causes of/risk factors for low testosterone in men include:
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Stress – Adrenal Fatigue
- Excessive adrenaline production/usage with stress, sports, or work
- Lack of regular exercise and sex. Both activities help stimulate the body’s production of testosterone
- Pharmaceutical drugs (including glucocorticoids, opiates, anabolic steroids, blood pressure meds, heart meds, antidepressants)
- Severe trauma, illness, burns, or major surgery
- Testicular damage (primary hypogonadism)
- Klinefelter’s syndrome (Extra X chromosome)
- Cryptorchidism (absence of one or both testes)
- Problems during testis development (twisted or strangulated testes)
- Orchitis (inflammation of testes)
- Orchidectomy (testes surgically removed)
- Toxic damage (radiation, chemotherapy, industrial or environmental toxins)
- Brain disorders (secondary hypogonadism)
- Pituitary gland malfunction
- Hypothalamus malfunction
- Kallmann’s syndrome (genetic disorder of sex glands)
- Hemochromatosis (blood iron excess disorder)
- Brain tumor
Benefits of Balanced Hormones
Finding the right hormone balance offers women and men significant benefits, such as increased energy, better sleep, stabilized moods, and support in aging physically, emotionally, and mentally. Research has also shown that hormone therapy improves overall health by reducing the risk of disease.
Late in 2015, the results of the Veteran’s Study found that men who had documented low testosterone and were treated with testosterone therapy experienced a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in early 2016 found that testosterone therapy improved mood, sexual health, and physical fitness in men.
For women, there have been thousands of studies over the years that have shown lower heart disease with early onset treatment at the time of menopause, osteoporosis protection, dementia protection, reduction in colon cancer, and reduction in the severity and frequency of symptoms associated with low female hormones (which are the same hormones as men but in different ratios). In March of 2016, the results of the highly anticipated ELITE study published in the NEJM found that women who begin hormone therapy early in their menopausal years tend to experience a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Get Balanced Today!
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy is available at all OnePeak Medical Clinic locations.