Hormones are involved in the regulation of nearly all of our body processes, so when your regular hormone balance starts to go off-kilter, you’re sure to notice certain changes immediately. For men, hormonal imbalance can be the source of many frustrating, life-altering symptoms. However, at the Medical Transformation Center in Lousiville, KY, we know the key to restoring your well-being is with hormone replacement therapy for men.
What Are the Signs You Need Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Common Signs of Hormonal Imbalance in Men
In men, a hormonal imbalance is likely caused by low levels of testosterone in the blood. Low testosterone, or low-T, is the source of dozens of symptoms that can disrupt your life. The most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance in men include:
- Low libido
- Low sperm count
- Inability to sustain an erection
- Issues with sexual performance
- Dry skin and thinning hair
- Loss of muscles and muscle strength
- Joint pain
- Confusion or brain fog
- Memory issues
- Sleep disturbance
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Depression and anxiety
While all of these are common signs, not all men experience the same set of symptoms. For example, some men who endure symptoms of erectile dysfunction or low libido might not also suffer from additional symptoms, such as thinning hair or mood swings. The combination of symptoms you develop in response to low testosterone in your body is unique to your genetics and lifestyle habits.
What Causes Hormonal Imbalance?
If a hormonal imbalance is capable of causing such pervasive symptoms, then surely there must be a cause, right? There are actually several factors that are involved in the decline of testosterone present in the body, such as:
Aging and Genetics
More often than not, aging is the main source of low testosterone in men. About 40% of men over the age of 45 experience symptoms of low-T, the incidence of which becomes more common as men age. As we age, many of our body processes begin to slow and become less efficient – this can be seen, for example, in how long it takes the body to heal from wounds.
Our hormones are just as susceptible to the slowing of these processes and are sometimes the first internal processes to fail as a result of natural aging. Your genetics also play a large factor in hormonal imbalance. The amount of testosterone normal for your body to produce is something that is determined by your genetics, which means your baseline level of testosterone is out of your control.
As a result of genetics, you might experience hormonal imbalance at a younger age than other men, or conversely, your genetics might mean you are spared the symptoms of low-T until you are older.
Lifestyle habits play a huge role in hormonal imbalance. For example, smoking, large quantities of alcohol consumption, and being overweight, obese, or too thin are all causes of low testosterone. Your lifestyle habits are factors that are within your control, as you can determine your diet, your recreational substances, and your exercise routine.
It is possible that a change in your regular lifestyle habits can help manage the symptoms of low testosterone; however, it may be easier for these lifestyle changes to make an impact when made in conjunction with hormone replacement therapy.
Disease and Medication
Other common causes of hormonal imbalance in men is the presence of pre-existing medical diseases and medications used to manage your health. Some diseases, such as liver, kidney, or heart disease, may be a cause of low testosterone in the blood. Chemotherapy and radiation are commonly associated with low testosterone.
Some medications may have a side effect that throws off your normal hormonal balance. To determine whether disease or medication is the cause of your hormonal imbalance, a physical examination is required.
While one of these main factors may apply to your situation, there are sometimes other causes or a combination of causes that cause low testosterone. The best way to know the cause of your hormonal imbalance is to have a physical exam by a physician specializing in the treatment of these symptoms.
When Should You Think About Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men?
Many patients want to know about the right time to seek hormone replacement therapy. The right time for treatment is ultimately up to you and how long you are willing to endure symptoms that may be disruptive to your life.
Many men choose to seek treatment as soon as it becomes evident that some of their daily activities, such as exercise or sexual activity, are prevented by low testosterone; other men choose to wait until there are multiple symptoms; others use hormone replacement therapy as a last resort for the treatment of certain health issues.
The time to seek treatment is usually determined by:
- Changes in sexual activity and ability
- Reduced muscle mass
- Hair loss
- Unexpected weight gain
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering
What Should You Expect From Treatment?
When you seek hormone replacement therapy for men, there are several steps involved in your treatment and a few decisions you will have to make. From the comprehensive examination required to determining which treatment method is right for you, some steps of treatment will include:
You will be required to attend a consultation appointment at our clinic. The consultation allows us to discuss your symptoms and how long you’ve had them, as well as reasonable expectations from treatment. We will gather relevant information about your general medical history, any drug allergies you have, current medications you are taking, and any previous hormone treatments you have had if any.
Part of the consultation will include two critical examinations; the physical exam and the serum test. The physical exam is performed by the physician who will be treating you and allows us to assess your physical condition and your health prior to treatment. The serum test is done in a laboratory to assess the current level of testosterone present in your blood.
How Does a Serum Test Work?
The serum test is a vital part of your treatment, as it allows us to determine the ideal dosage required for your hormone therapy and allows us to monitor your response to treatment.
Your first serum test will give us a snapshot of the hormones present in your blood. The serum test is performed by doing a simple blood draw and then a hormone analysis of your current testosterone level. The best time for a serum test is usually in the morning, between 10 and noon.
What Is Treatment Like?
At our clinic, we specialize in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, which is the current golden standard for hormone replacement. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) involves the use of nature-based hormones that mimic the structure of human hormones and allow for better absorption and significantly lower risk of unwanted side effects.
Your treatment for hormone replacement therapy for men might be different than other patients at our clinic. In fact, we make it our mission to give every patient the personalized treatment they need to restore and revitalize their well-being. One major decision in your treatment will be determining the treatment method that is right for you. The four common types of hormone replacement therapy at our clinic include:
Pellets are an injectable treatment that uses a concentrated dose of hormones in a rice-sized pellet, which is inserted beneath the skin near the buttocks or hips. Pellett treatment involves a slow release of hormones over several weeks, which makes it a good option for patients who need a steady dose of hormones.
Intramuscular injections involve an injection of testosterone into the buttocks once or twice a month. Intramuscular injections are an ideal option for patients who have more severe symptoms or who require a more frequent or a higher dose of testosterone.
Testosterone patches are similar to nicotine patches in that they are placed on the skin each day and worn for 24 hours. Patches are loaded with a consistent dosage of testosterone and are good options for patients who require low dosages, or those who do not want to have injections.
Topical Creams and Gels
Topical creams and gels are made with unique levels of testosterone that you apply to your skin each day, usually on the arms, shoulders, or stomach. Topical creams and gels are also good options for patients who only need a low dose of testosterone.
Why Are Bioidentical Hormones Better?
There are two reasons why bioidentical hormones are the preferred method of treatment for hormone replacement therapy. Unlike traditional hormone replacement therapy, which uses synthetic hormones, the hormones used in bioidentical hormone therapy are biologically compatible with the hormone receptors in the human body.
Bioidentical hormones are also derived from natural ingredients, such as soy or yam. These two reasons combined mean that bioidentical hormones are safer, more effective, and more reliable.
How Do You Know Which Treatment Option Is Best for You?
Determining the best treatment option for you will depend on your lifestyle habits and the level of hormones needed to restore balance. We will help you determine which treatment is right for your needs during your consultation appointment.
Recovery and Results
There is no recovery time associated with this treatment. Patients are free to return to all normal daily activities on the same day of treatment, including recreational exercise. Results, on the other hand, may take longer.
When Can You See Results?
The results of hormone replacement therapy are generally gradual. Each treatment builds on the progress of the previous treatment until you are able to sustain a hormone level that is appropriate for your individual body chemistry. On average, regardless of which treatment method used, patients can begin seeing results within two to four weeks after the first treatment.
How Long Do Results Last?
The length of time the results of your treatment will last depends on the treatment method you used. For example, pellet treatments last for three to four months at a time, while intramuscular injections last for three to four weeks.
Patches and topical treatments last for as long as you use the prescription. How often you will need treatment is also determined by your baseline testosterone level and how well you are responding to the treatment.
Are You a Good Candidate for Treatment?
The majority of patients who are interested in hormone replacement therapy are likely to be good candidates for treatment. Candidacy is determined by qualifications such as your general health, your lifestyle habits, and the symptoms you have. You are more likely to be a good candidate if you have:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low libido
- Confusion or fatigue
- Sleep disturbance
- Mood changes
- Thinning hair
- Unexpected weight gain
- Reduced muscle mass
Revitalize Your Wellbeing With Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men
While a hormonal imbalance might be inevitable as a natural result of aging or a byproduct of current health issues, it doesn’t mean that you have to learn to live with the frustrating and disruptive symptoms. If you’re ready to revitalize your well-being with hormone replacement therapy for men, please contact Medical Transformation Center In Louisville, KY to schedule your consultation today.