Hormone Deficiencies & Male Hormones
“Low T Syndrome?”
You cannot turn on the television anymore without seeing an ad discussing male hormones. This has become big business. There is even the catchy name “low T syndrome”. We are not just talking about a state of health anymore. No! We have gone on to label this as a syndrome or condition. And what is being proposed to deal with it. Well, depending on the commercial, it is the masculine named hormone gel or the cleverly named natural product that is guaranteed to improve your sex life and help you lose the spare tire around your waist. They all sound amazing? But is it too good to be true? Well if we have to ask the question, then you have your answer.
Estrogen in men
Numerous men are dealing with hormone deficiencies and the related symptoms. Otherwise the commercials offering options for male hormone replacement would not be so prolific. While male hormone replacement therapy is likely part of the solution, it is not the entire answer. You need to truly establish your need. I have seen numerous male patients that have been told their male hormone testosterone is low. When I ask if the male hormone estrogen was checked, I often get a puzzled look. But wait, isn’t estrogen a female hormone? It is predominant in the female, but males have it also, just as females have testosterone. The increased conversion of testosterone to estrogen in males is a common problem, but one that is not often addressed. If you add testosterone to a male that is converting testosterone to estrogen, he continues to feel like less of a man. He might feel better short term, but not long term.
There are some real considerations that should be made when it comes to dealing with hormone deficiencies in males. First, do you have symptoms? Symptoms of male hormone deficiency, specifically, but not exclusively low testosterone, would include low motivation, low libido or sex drive, increased fat deposition, low muscle tone, loss of muscle strength, decreased morning erection, decreased fullness of erection and lack of stamina. Clearly from this list, there are reasons outside of sexual function. Unquestionably those are important, but they are not the only reason that males should pay attention to the hormone levels. Just consider the unmotivated, apathetic male in our society. They are not held with as much regard by peers as the male that is energetic and of a “go-getter” attitude.
Correcting male hormone deficiencies also means asking the basic question, why? Why have the male hormones started to become deficient? Is it solely a manifestation of age? While an 80 year old man should not have the testosterone of a 20 year old, they should be able to maintain a realistic amount to support normal bodily functions. However, what I too often see is the 30 year old starting to manifest male hormone levels that reflect what you might expect in a 70 year old. The creation of these hormone deficiencies is driven by increased demand for stress hormones to support our lifestyle choices. The wrong foods, lack of exercise, the wrong type of exercise, and lack of sleep are just a few.
Addressing male hormones is not difficult, but it is not as simple as popping a single pill or lathering up in cream. Recreating a balanced hormonal environment means balancing all the male hormones and their subsequent interactions and conversions to hormones like estrogen. After all, I don’t know many men volunteering for more estrogen. If you suffer from some of the symptoms that were noted, you obviously realize a hormone deficiency exists. The key is managing and correcting that deficiency such that you can have complete balance of all of your male hormones.
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