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Hormone Replacement Therapy for Men

Although the common expression “VIVE LA DIFFERENCE” is often used to celebrate the uniqueness of the sexes, the truth is that men and women are more alike than different especially when it comes to hormonal imbalance and deficiency as we age. Whereas women have a more defined and finite expression of hormonal decline and imbalance called menopause, it is much more subtle, gradual, and variable in men.

Symptoms of hormonal deficiency or imbalance can be alleviated by Bio-identical Hormonal Replacement Therapy.  Bio-identical hormones for men are hormones biologically identical in the molecular composition to the human hormones produced by the body of a healthy young man. Bio-identical hormones for men are derived from the extracts of plants such as soy and wild yam.

What is Male Menopause?

Andropause or male menopause is a condition in aging men that has some similarities to menopause in women. The symptoms of andropause or male menopause develop due to a gradual decline in the levels of testosterone production by the Leydig cells in the testicles whereas during female menopause, the symptoms are caused predominantly by a decreased production of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

During andropause the levels of the female hormone estradiol can increase in men as they age. This increase of estradiol during andropause occurs as a result of enzymatic aromatization of testosterone in the fat cells to estradiol which may have feminizing effects on a man that include the increase in breast tissue called gynecomastia.

Symptoms of andropause have been very rarely addressed by the medical community until recently. A majority of men have been reluctant to acknowledge that they were experiencing "male menopause" and did not want to discuss these symptoms with their medical doctors, male friends, or even their wives. Another factor that has caused andropause to remain unaddressed for so long is the fact that the symptoms of andropause progress very gradually.

From age 30 and onward, testosterone levels in adult men decline at a rate of 1 to 2 percent per year. This slow decline of the hormone testosterone and gradual progression of related male menopause symptoms may often go unnoticed. However, over time, significant testosterone exhaustion can occur. Severe testosterone depletion in men is defined as hypogonadism and is commonly experienced by those going through andropause.

Is it really Andropause or Male Menopause?

A number of experts believe that the term andropause or male menopause is misleading in the way it explains the decline of male hormones testosterone and DHEA. The root word "pause" in andropause and male menopause means to “stop”. So in this sense andropause or male menopause describe a loss or cessation of a particular function by a body organ or system. However, men do not completely lose or "stop" their reproductive function during andropause. A man's reproductive function can continue even into old age. Therefore it is believed that the terminology of andropause is not as accurate as the term menopause in which women do lose their reproductive function at that time. Regardless, andropause is the term most recognized and used.

Decline of the male hormone testosterone during andropause

Because testosterone production diminishes gradually over a period of many years, the symptoms of andropause may be often attributed to other conditions and treated symptomatically.

A man who experiences mood instability or insomnia as a result of andropause may be treated with anti-depressants or sleeping pills. Many times anti-depressant medications may negatively affect libido and can possibly make erectile dysfunction even worse. The overall quality of life decreases in men going through andropause because the symptoms of low testosterone levels are not always correctly diagnosed.

Many physicians who are inexperienced in bio-identical hormone replacement therapy have a tendency to disregard the symptoms of andropause. Often men with low testosterone levels are advised by their physicians that low testosterone levels are an inevitable effect of "normal aging." Many times the treatment may involve addressing the symptoms of the disorder but the cause of the problem goes undiagnosed.

Signs and Symptoms of Male Hormone Imbalance

Many of the symptoms of male hormonal deficiency or imbalance present very gradually. Most men do not recognize the symptoms at first, but as more symptoms appear and become worse over time, they do become apparent. The following are some of the most common symptoms of andropause:

People often confuse the symptoms of imbalanced hormones in men with signs of aging. The good news is that these hormone losses and imbalances are often correctible through proper treatment and replacement of the hormonal deficient.

Who is a Candidate for Male Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Before beginning bio-identical hormone replacement therapy for men it is important to evaluate hormone levels. A blood test is considered to be the most accurate method of assessing sex hormone levels in men. A male hormonal panel through a blood test is an easy and accurate technique to evaluate hormonal health. If adrenal dysfunction is suspected, saliva testing may be in order.

Benefits of Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy in men

Restoring testosterone levels to the optimal value through natural testosterone replacement therapy can have many benefits for a man with low testosterone levels. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the most common symptom of testosterone deficiency. In most cases, erectile dysfunction is related to atherosclerosis and atherosclerosis can be associated with low testosterone levels in men during male menopause.

Testosterone is very important for cardiovascular health. Men with high blood pressure are twice as likely to have low testosterone and low testosterone levels are associated with multiple health risks including heart attacks, strokes, prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and depression just to name a few.

The best results are often obtained through the use of bio-identical hormones for men. The most important objective of normalizing testosterone levels to a youthful range is an improvement in quality of life. Depending on the severity of testosterone depletion, this improvement can be significant in most cases.

Testosterone provides the body with the required anabolic function. Normal testosterone levels in men will ensure optimal performance of the heart and brain as well as protection from osteoporosis. Testosterone has been shown to extend the health span of men. Normal testosterone levels in men equal increased vitality, energy and health.

Many scientific studies point to the fact that men with low testosterone levels are at increased risks for obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Testosterone increases lean body mass, improves insulin sensitivity and has a positive effect on lipid profile, lipid metabolism and blood pressure. Testosterone decreases the risk for type 2 diabetes. Natural testosterone replacement therapy through the use of bio-identical hormones for men has been shown to improve the quality of life in men with type 2 diabetes.

Natural testosterone replacement therapy and chronic diseases

Testosterone supplementation through the use of natural bio-identical testosterone replacement therapy in patients with chronic diseases can improve well-being and quality of life including elevating mood and energy levels as well as muscle mass. Testosterone replacement therapy can significantly help improve stamina in many patients with chronic diseases.

Patients whose ailments include decreased muscle and bone mass leading to frailty can benefit from natural testosterone replacement therapy. Furthermore, by improving mental performance, testosterone replacement therapy can slow down signs of senility in older men.

Testosterone exerts anti-inflammatory actions on the body

Testosterone replacement therapy decreases inflammatory responses in the body by reducing the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Since inflammation is believed to play important role in many degenerative diseases, normal testosterone levels in men can protect against the development or progression of many chronic diseases.

Testosterone replacement therapy and prostate cancer

Multiple studies have shown no increased signs or symptoms of BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy) in men while on bio-identical testosterone replacement therapy. Short-term studies determined that no convincing data exists to imply that natural bio-identical testosterone replacement therapy creates an increased risk for prostate cancer. Long-term studies are needed for a final determination.

Allopathic medicine discourages testosterone replacement therapy pointing out that testosterone can increase benign prostate hypertrophy and prostate cancer. However, evidence suggests that decreased levels of testosterone and increased levels of estradiol can lead to abnormal growth of prostate tissue.

Taking Advantage of the Benefits of Bio-identical Hormones for Men

Men who are hormone deficient can benefit from bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. Just as women use bio-identical hormones when going through menopause, bio-identical hormones for men are also used to restore optimal hormonal balance to the body. By implementing bio-identical hormones men can alleviate the symptoms of male menopause and greatly improve their sense of well-being, increase their sexual libido and performance, gain muscle mass, improve cognitive function and enjoy the vitality of youth.

Hormone Replacement Therapy Treatment Options for Men

Natural bio-identical hormone replacement therapy includes several different prescription options for the delivery of customized treatment for hormonal deficiency or imbalance. Among these options are injections, creams, gels, patches and pellets. Each delivery method provides hormones that are identical to the molecular structure recognized by the body. There are advantages and disadvantages of each and will discussed in detail if treatment is indicated. Although there are many choices, two of the most popular are injections and pellets.

Pellet Therapy

Since 1939, pellet hormone therapy for men has been a viable and popular option. This male menopause treatment is among the most natural delivery methods available, being practically indistinguishable to the way in which hormones are normally formed and administered in a healthy 30-something year old man.

This simple and convenient option allows you to live your life normally without having to stop to apply a cream twice daily and eliminates the worry of inadvertently contaminating loved ones. The long-lasting pellets work well with our fast-paced lifestyle and require only a simple insertion in the office every three to six months.

In a routine and simple procedure miniature pellets are inserted into the buttock or hip area. Beyond the added convenience, the subcutaneous pellet allows the natural hormone to be secreted throughout the day. This feature allows it to respond to moments of stress and exercise just as the male body would normally secrete additional levels of the hormone. Furthermore, pellet hormone therapy for men maintains the hormone at a constant level and avoids dramatic ups and downs that can be detrimental to the body.