Just as women can suffer from estrogen imbalance, men can suffer from testosterone imbalance. This condition can be treated with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. If you believe that you may have testosterone deficiency or imbalance, Medical Transformation Center in Louisville, KY can help you analyze your needs and guide you to the best bioidentical hormone replacement therapy option.
1. Can Men Have Hormone Imbalance?
Yes. Testosterone is the primary hormone in male anatomy. And testosterone imbalance may happen to men at any age group. The leading cause of imbalance can be attributed to aging. As men reach middle age, testosterone production begins to decrease. When the level drops below a certain level, it leads to a condition called andropause, commonly known as “low-T.”
How Many Men Have It?
Statistics have shown low-T in approximately 40% of men above 45 years old. According to the American Urological Association, for men over 60 years of age, about 2 out of 10 individuals suffer from low testosterone. The number increases to 3 out of 10 individuals for men in the age range between 70 to 80 years old.
Aside from aging, certain factors increase the chance for men to experience low testosterone. The most common factors are:
- High body mass index (BMI)
- High fat diet
- Frequent alcohol consumption or alcohol abuse
- Cigarette smoking
Other potential factors that may contribute to testosterone imbalance:
- History of heart disease
- History of stroke
- High cholesterol
- Injury or infection of the testes
- Abnormal pituitary gland functioning or tumor growth
- Liver cirrhosis
- Kidney or liver failure
- Sleep apnea
- Organ inflammation conditions (e.g., sarcoidosis)
- Kallman syndrome
- Genetic conditions such as Klinefelter syndrome
- Excess exposure to estrogen from an external source (such as soy)
- Head injuries
- Radiation and chemotherapy treatments
- Opioid and steroid medications
2. Why Is Testosterone So Important to Men?
Just as estrogen directly controls many functions within the women’s body, testosterone plays similar roles within men’s bodies.
Primary and Secondary Sex Development
Testosterone secretion in the mother’s womb causes the development of male sex organs in the fetus. During puberty, it is responsible for muscle and bone growth, deepening of the voice, growth of genitals, and hair growth on various parts of the body.
Testosterone controls the metabolism of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. As a result, a low level of testosterone leads to a slower metabolism rate and an increase in body fat storage.
It also contributes to impaired glucose tolerance and reduced insulin sensitivity. Consequently, it increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and aggravates the symptoms for those who already suffer from it.
Bones, Muscles, Tissues, Red Blood Cells
Testosterone is directly linked with the growth and repair of soft tissues. It works together with vitamin D and calcium to sustain bone density. It is also known to trigger the production of red blood cells in the bone marrow and maintain a stable level of iron in the body.
As testosterone levels drop in the aging process, men can see a decline in bone calcium, muscle mass, and red blood cell count.
The brain’s primary energy source is glucose. So in a sense, testosterone plays a vital role in memory formation and brain processing. When glucose is not properly metabolized due to low-T, the brain fails to function correctly and leads to what people often refer to as “brain fog.”
Reproductive System and Sex Drive
Aside from developing male sex organs, testosterone helps stimulate daily sperm production and maintain male libido.
Mood and Behavior
Although too much testosterone can result in aggressive behavior, low levels can lead to loss of motivation and self-confidence. It can also trigger depression and mood swings.
Skin and Hair Growth
Testosterone controls sebum production in skin and hair follicle cells. It is also responsible for hair growth. That is why, as men age, their skin becomes drier and their hair turns more brittle.
3. Diagnosis of Low Testosterone
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), normal male testosterone levels range between 300 to 1,000 ng/dL. In addition, the most recent American Urological Association (AUA) guidelines state that any man with a reading below 300 ng/dL is classified as having a low testosterone level.
To test the testosterone level in your body, your physician will perform two tests:
- Physical exam
- Serum testosterone test
At the clinic, your physician will examine your body for physical symptoms of low testosterone levels. At the same time, several questions will be asked concerning mental and emotional symptoms related to the pertaining issue.
A serum testosterone test is performed on an individual’s blood sample. Because testosterone level tends to fluctuate throughout the day, the results may be inaccurate when taken in the afternoon when testosterone level usually declines.
As a result, to get a more accurate reading, the best time to take a blood sample is before 10:00 am in younger male patients. For individuals who are over the age of 45, a blood sample can be taken early in the morning until 2:00 pm.
4. What Are the Common Symptoms of Testosterone Deficiency?
- Overactive bladder
- Low energy
- Low semen volume
- Muscle loss
- General sense of fatigue
- Underactive immune system
- Lower sex drive
- Decrease in spontaneous erections
- Decrease in testicle size
- Reduction in body and facial hair
- Hot flashes
- Enlargement of breasts
- Decrease in sperm count
- Increase in body fat
- Mood swings
- Dry skin and rapid skin aging
- Increase in body cholesterol
- Brain fog
- Problems in memory formation
- Poor concentration
- Anemia and a decrease in hemoglobin
- Muscle and joint ache
- Poor body function performance
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decreased sense of well-being
- Depressed mood
- Difficulties with concentration and memory
- Moodiness and irritability
- Loss of muscular strength
5. What Is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
When an individual suffers from hormone imbalance or hormone deficiency, a specific combination of hormones is given to alleviate the symptoms and establish a stable balance. Although a majority of hormone replacement therapy patients are women with estrogen imbalance, an increasing number of men are seeking for help to treat low testosterone level symptoms.
6. What Is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)?
BHRT is a type of hormone replacement therapy that only uses bioidentical hormones to treat patients. In traditional hormonal replacement therapy, testosterone is synthetically manufactured by pharmaceutical companies in large quantities.
Their structure is very similar, but not identical to, human testosterone. Bioidentical testosterone is created from plant sources such as yam and soy. Their chemical structure is identical to human testosterone molecules.
Benefits of Bioidentical Hormones
Because bioidentical testosterone is structurally the same as natural human testosterone, they are a perfect match to the cell receptors that respond specifically to the hormone. This means that it is more readily taken up by the human body. Also, it minimizes the risk of a rejection reaction as well as possible side effects after treatment.
Another benefit of bioidentical testosterone is that it is uniquely customized to suit the needs of each patient. For traditional testosterone replacement therapy, the dosage is catered to a broader range of patients and is less precise. The physician begins by giving patients a standard treatment dose. The physician then fine-tunes the treatment. If it all fails, then the patient is referred to a specialist.
When it comes to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, clients deal only with specialists. A thorough diagnosis is performed and an exact dosage is manufactured for each individual’s needs. There is no guessing game, and clients tend to see results much faster.
7. What Are the Different Types of Therapy Options?
One of the most significant deciding factors for therapy options is convenience and maintenance. How often will you be willing to administer the hormone? How much time are you willing to put in for application? Depending on the severity of the testosterone imbalance and the client’s needs, there are several treatment options:
- Intramuscular injections
- Topical gel or cream
- Pellet implants
Your physician injects a dose of testosterone hormone into your buttock muscles every several weeks. The average wait time in between each session is two to three weeks.
Topical Gel or Cream
A topical ointment is prescribed to you by your physician. You can apply the gel or the cream to various body regions, such as shoulders, abdomen, or arms.
These patches work the same way as nicotine patches. You apply a daily patch on a body location. Rotating the application region is highly encouraged.
A small device is inserted under the skin by the physician during an in-office session. The device will then continuously administer small, steady doses of testosterone to the client throughout the day.
The pellet usually lasts several months. Once applied, the client does not need to do any maintenance. Pellets can be reapplied every three to four months, depending on the client’s needs.
8. How Can Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy Help With Symptoms?
- Drop in body fat
- Increase in muscle mass
- Increase in bone density
- More energy throughout the day
- Improvement in mood
- Alleviation of mood swings
- Decrease of depression symptoms
- Increase red blood cell production
- Cleared up brain fog
- Better memory formation
- Increase in concentration
- Improved immune system
- Better erections
- Regrowth of body and facial hair
- Alleviation of hot flashes
- Better quality sleep
- Increase in metabolism
- Fewer joint and muscle aches
9. What Other Conditions Can Benefit From Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
- Erectile dysfunction
- Heart disease risk
- Cholesterol levels
- Aging issues
- Sleep apnea
10. When Can Patients See Improvements?
Because each individual has a unique set of needs and symptoms, their testosterone replacement therapy dosage will differ. In addition, therapy options may also make a difference in result time. As a result, it is hard to pinpoint when precisely each client will see the results. Having said that, some clients report seeing differences in as little as seven to ten days.
Keep in mind that the testosterone level becomes imbalanced over a duration of time, so it will take several weeks for the level to stabilize. Also, larger doses may not be better. Because testosterone fluctuation may lead to symptoms such as nausea, mood swings, and disruption in sleep, a small but steady continuous flow is the optimal choice to rebalance the hormone levels.
Take the pellet implants as an example. Although it requires a longer time to see a significant improvement, clients report fewer adjustment symptoms and better results.
Get the Help You Need
If you exhibit symptoms of testosterone imbalance or low testosterone level, please consult with our medical experts. We can offer you a thorough diagnosis to better understand your symptoms and your unique needs. Contact Medical Transformation Center in Louisville, KY. We look forward to hearing from you.