When there is too much or too little of a hormone present in a man’s body, we say that that man is suffering from hormonal imbalance. This imbalance can affect many bodily functions – sexuality and reproductive functions, metabolism, heart rate, body temperature, growth, sleep cycles, and even mood. It can be distinctly unpleasant, and make the difference between a happy life and a miserable one. Thankfully, we live in an age when there are solutions for hormonal imbalance easily and legally available for any sufferer who needs them.
But the average man doesn’t have the means to measure his hormone levels. All he has to go on are symptoms. So let’s take a look at the kind of things that might give us a hint that something has gone awry with our hormone levels.
What Exactly are Our Hormones Doing?
Hormones are chemicals produced by our body’s glands, or endocrine system. These chemicals, which are essential to life, travel through our veins and arteries sending chemical messages to our organs and tissues, basically controlling when and how they function. Without them, our body’s processes would be chaotic and uncoordinated, and life itself would be impossible.
Hormone levels do change naturally over time, but if they’re outside of a normal, functional range, there will be definitely noticeable – and negative – symptoms. Some things that can cause hormone levels to be inadequate are 1) lack of exercise, 2) stress, 3) injury, 4) poor nutrition, or 5) illness. Older men are more susceptible to these triggers for hormone problems than younger men, but they can have an affect at any age.
Could I Have a Hormonal Imbalance?
Here are some things that could indicate you, as a man, might have a hormonal imbalance:
Loss of libido: Diminishing interest in the opposite sex could be an indicator of low testosterone or too-high estrogen levels in a man.
Erectile dysfunction: Hormonal imbalances can sometimes lead to an inability to perform sexually – specifically, low testosterone levels could be the cause. But be careful – this condition can also be triggered by insomnia, stress, unrelated chronic illnesses, depression, or heart disease. The use of opiates and some high blood pressure medications can also lead to erectile dysfunction, so check any possibilities that may apply to you with your doctor, and see our clinic to have yourself evaluated for low testosterone, which is scientifically and objectively measureable.
Gynecomastia: This medical term refers to enlargement of the breast tissue in men, and is almost always caused by hormonal imbalances in men. A small amount of enlargement is normal compared to surrounding tissue, and this may increase slightly with age, exacerbated by poor diet or failure to exercise. But a large increase – which can be harmful to a man’s self-image and self-esteem – is a clear indication that you ought to have your hormone levels – specifically, testosterone and estrogen – checked by a professional like the ones at our clinic.
Loss of muscle: Age and negative lifestyle changes – like sitting in front of a screen most of the day – can be triggers for muscle loss, changes in your body’s muscle composition can also be signs of hormonal imbalance. Men need sufficient testosterone to both build and maintain proper muscle mass. If testosterone levels drop below the normal range, a cycle of self-reinforcing feedback can result in both rapid muscle loss and simultaneous weight gain. Restoring proper testosterone levels can often reverse this vicious cycle. Thyroid dysfunction can cause similar symptoms, though, so confirm your suspicions with a professional before embarking on any plan of treatment.
Changes in mood: It isn’t just the physical and the visible parts of our bodies that be harmed or function improperly when our hormones are out of balance: Our mind – our emotions – our mood – can also be knocked for a loop. Though, as for muscle loss, thyroid problems can also be a factor, it’s important to know that too little testosterone in our bloodstream can result in depression, irritability, anxiety, and decreased motivation.
Testing and Treatment of Hormonal Imbalance is Simple
In addition to lack of exercise, stress, injury, poor nutrition, or illness, these conditions have been shown to cause hormonal imbalance in men: steroid medications; tumors of the pituitary gland; excessive cortisol levels brought on by Cushing’s Syndrome; Addison’s Disease (too-low levels of cortisol or aldosterone); adrenal hyperplasia; allergic reactions to any number of substances; chronic inflammation; pancreatisis; anorexia; both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes; hypoglycemia (low blood sugar); hyperglycemia (high blood sugar); and hypothyroidism.
Luckily, today we have both the means of accurately testing for proper hormone levels in your bloodstream (and we have the knowledge to know what those proper levels are) and a means of correcting any imbalance that is found through what is called HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy. We also have a network of laboratories working with our clinics in every state of the union to make sure that any therapy you need is tailored exactly right for you, avoiding the very significant dangers that improper diagnosis or treatment can pose.
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