Depression….The Silent Killer

Mike CarragherDr. Stocker, Dr.jill, Hormone OptimizationLeave a Comment

Depression Silent Killer

I saw a recent study in The Journal of Affective Disorders that showed the participants had been on an average of 14 (yes, 14!) psychiatric medications (anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, bipolar meds, and/or mood stabilizers) prior to having their thyroid levels checked and treated. Once their thyroid was optimized, their symptoms improved in 84% of them, with 33% having complete resolution of their symptoms.

This was an astounding study, and made me reflect on my own struggle with depression. And in light of recent celebrity suicides, I felt compelled to share and speak about the silent killer of depression. The more awareness that’s out there the better, and the more we begin to share our own personal stories and struggles, the less alone people feel.

My Personal Journey

My struggle with depression began in medical school, and worsened as I aged, including severe post-partum depression with my last child (and yes…suicidal thoughts were involved). However, I never really spoke about it, because I felt ashamed and thought that people would find me less credible as a physician if I did. So I suffered, mostly in silence, but also experienced fits of rage at my partner. When I heard about this study, I counted the number of medications I had been on in the past, to manage the depression and rage….six. And I certainly didn’t feel great on them. They just numbed me. I even looked into electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This was not the way I wanted to live.

Why am I sharing this? I’m telling you for a few reasons. First, depression doesn’t “look” any particular way. In fact, there are many masks people can wear to disguise it.  It doesn’t have to look like someone crying all day in bed. It can look like rage, or apathy (not really caring to do anything you used to enjoy doing), or feelings of hopelessness and loneliness. It can also be a high functioning executive of a multi-million dollar company, or a doctor, or a beautiful, successful fashion icon or model, or a multi-tasking soccer mom that always says she’s “fine.”  

Second, there is still such shame around the very word ‘depression’ that people are afraid to talk about it, to take off the mask. The more we perpetuate the silence, the more we perpetuate the problem, handing it down to our children, and so on, and so on.

The third reason I’m sharing this so openly is because I felt so alone and broken during those times. I didn’t know there was another solution other than just living with it and hoping it would pass. I don’t want you to suffer in silence, I want you – men and women both – to know there is hope, that you’re not alone, it’s not “all in your head,” or just a part of getting older.

Hormones May Be Your Solution

I certainly know that anti-depressants/mood stabilizers/anti-anxiety medications have their place. AND, I’m happy to say I have not taken any of them since having my hormones balanced. I feel more alive, present, and AWAKE than I ever have. I truly believe my hormonal “awakening” has allowed me to have my emotional, spiritual, and sexual awakenings as well. It is my mission to share this passionately and vulnerably with you so that you may have the same AMAZING experience and truly start LIVING your life, instead of just existing.

If you are having some of the same feelings, you don’t have to suffer in silence. There IS a solution. It is not weak to say you don’t feel “right,” or you feel “off,” or feel like you’re a shell of who you once were. Know that there is a better way of living your life, out loud and AWAKE!

To learn more about Hormonal Health and how to optimize YOUR hormones, contact Dr. Jill Stocker at The Body Well today: email drjill@thebodywellusa.com or call (323) 874-9355 for your FREE phone consultation.

Dr. Jill Stocker completed her undergraduate degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Arizona and proceeded to medical school at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri. She then completed her training and residency in Michigan, becoming Board Certified in Family Medicine, with advanced certification in Age Management Medicine.
 
To schedule an evaluation or consultation with Dr. Stocker, email her directly at drjill@thebodywellusa.com or call (323) 874-9355.

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At What Age Should I Start Thinking About Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Corrie MieszczakAge Management, Dr. Carragher, Estrogen, FAQs, Hormone Optimization, Hormone Replacement Therapy, Perimenopause, Progesterone, Sex, TestosteroneLeave a Comment

Am I Too Young For HRT

Many men and women associate hormonal changes and Hormone Replacement Therapy with being in their 50s or even older. However, hormonal changes often begin much earlier. For this reason, it is important for both men and women to pay close attention to their bodies and begin considering Hormone Replacement Therapy at a younger age if symptoms occur.

What Age Should Women Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy?

On average, women in the United States go through menopause around the age of 51, but hormones typically begin to change many years before menopause is complete. In fact, many women begin to experience symptoms related to hormonal changes as early as their 30s or 40s. Because these changes are commonly associated with older women, younger women experiencing symptoms often feel strange or worry that something is wrong with them. However, these early symptoms are actually common.

Perimenopause

“Perimenopause” is the term used to describe the period of hormonal changes that occurs before actual menopause. During this time, the amount of estrogen in your body rises and falls unpredictably. Because estrogen is the primary female reproductive hormone produced by the ovaries, this fluctuation can lead to a variety of changes and uncomfortable symptoms.

what age women HRT

Many women begin to experience symptoms related to hormonal changes as early as their 30s or 40s.

The hormonal changes occurring during perimenopause may cause the following symptoms:

  • Changes to cholesterol levels
  • Bone loss
  • Changes in sexual desire or pleasure
  • Lower fertility
  • Trouble with bladder control
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Hot flashes
  • Irregular menstrual cycles

When a woman begins noticing some or all of these symptoms, it is likely that the hormonal changes leading up to menopause have already begun and will continue to get worse. However, you may be able to alleviate your symptoms with the appropriate hormone replacement therapy.

Hormonal Changes Even Before Perimenopause

Years before perimenopause, women may experience changes in  key hormones other than estrogen. Beginning as young as a women’s late 20s and early 30s, the hormones that they typically want high (testosterone, progesterone, thyroid, DHEA, etc.) begin to fall and the hormones they want low (insulin, cortisol, etc.) begin to rise. This is when women can begin to see and feel the effects of aging: skin changes, weight gain (especially around the hips and thighs), fatigue, loss of sex drive and sense of sexual pleasure, loss of muscle tone. If you are a woman experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be due to hormonal imbalance.

What Age Should Men Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy?

The primary sex hormone for men is testosterone. This hormone is produced in the adrenal glands and the testes, and it is responsible for a wide variety of important biological functions. Some of the functions of testosterone for men include regulating sex drive, managing fertility, contributing to muscle mass, improved cardiovascular health, and more.

Unfortunately, as a man ages, his testosterone levels typically decline. Studies have shown that this decline is beginning earlier and earlier for men, with testosterone levels falling by about 15% for each of the past two generations. Although low testosterone was once considered a problem that was reserved for men in their late 30s or 40s, men in their late 20s are now exhibiting the symptoms.

What age men HRT

Men in their late 20s are now exhibiting the symptoms of low testosterone.

Some of the symptoms of low testosterone may include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Changes in mood
  • Loss of bone mass
  • Decrease in muscle mass
  • Increase in body fat
  • Low energy levels
  • Hair loss
  • Decreased semen volume
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Decreased sex drive

 

If you are noticing any of these symptoms, it may be time to have your testosterone levels checked. Replacing falling testosterone can help restore your health.

Hormonal Changes in Men Other Than Testosterone

Men may experience changes in other key hormones other than testosterone.  Like women, beginning as young as a man’s late 20s and early 30s, the hormones that they typically want high (testosterone, thyroid, DHEA, etc.) begin to fall and the hormones they want low (insulin, cortisol, etc.) begin to rise. This is when men can begin to see and feel the effects of aging: skin changes, weight gain (especially around the midsection), fatigue, loss of sex drive and sense of sexual pleasure, loss of muscle tone.  If you are a man experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be due to hormonal imbalance.

When Should I Make an Appointment?

Hormone replacement is not reserved for the over-50 crowd and can be beneficial to younger people as well. Although you may feel like changes in hormone levels shouldn’t be noticeable until you are at least 40 or 50, symptoms begin much earlier for both men and women. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance, you should start thinking about hormone replacement therapy, even if you are in your late 20s or early 30s.

Pay attention to your body. If you believe your hormone levels may be off balance, make an appointment with who specializes in Age Management & Hormone Replacement Therapy specialist to discuss these issues and have your levels tested.

Free Quiz: Are You At Risk For Hormone Decline?

Want to find out if you’re at risk for hormone decline? First, take our scientifically based hormone decline risk assessment – completely free (takes no more than 5 minutes).

After completing it, you will find out your risk level for hormone decline and, most importantly, how to proceed with beating your symptoms. Click here to take the male version, and click here to take the female version.

Then, if you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive Age Management & Hormone Optimization program, contact us through this form to schedule your free consultation, or call us at 323-874-9355.

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Human Growth Hormone: Not Just Living Longer, But Living Better

Mike CarragherAnti-Aging, Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, Dr. Stocker, Dr.jill, HGH, Hormone Optimization, Hormone Replacement Therapy, UncategorizedLeave a Comment

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a hormone that has many critical physiologic functions in the human body. It has been the hormone associated with being the “fountain of youth” and sought out to provide “anti-aging” effects. While it does reduce the physical signs and symptoms of aging, it also reduces the risk of developing the most common diseases associated with aging.

As we age, many of your key hormone levels decline, and you start seeing and feeling the effects of this. This can happen as early as your late twenties or early thirties. Lack of adequate Growth Hormone in adults can result in a whole slew of symptoms, not just physical, but mental and emotional as well.

Many of the common complaints are:

  • Fatigue, lack of energy, lack of motivation
  • Weight gain
  • Declining results at the gym (despite eating “clean” and exercising regularly
  • Decreased stamina, strength, or exercise tolerance
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Emotional symptoms (moodiness, grumpiness, anxiety, depression)
  • Thin/crepey/dry/sagging skin
  • Loss of self-confidence
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Decreased vitality
  • Decreased sense of well being
  • Brain fog, difficulty concentrating, memory issues

What Exactly is Human Growth Hormone and What Does It Do?

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates cell reproduction and cell regeneration and has been seriously studied since the 1950s.

In children, it is necessary for normal growth and development. In adults, HGH is necessary to maintain many important physiologic functions, including cardiovascular function, the proper amounts of body fat, muscle, and bone, as well as maintain cognitive function.

Human Growth Hormone deficiency in children results in short stature and delayed physical development as well as other metabolic conditions, such as diabetes.

In adults, inadequate HGH production is called Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency (AGHD). AGHD is recognized as a metabolic syndrome. Some of its resulting problems are an unhealthy body composition and cholesterol profile, as well as decreased exercise capacity.

This results in an increase in the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease. Low bone density and decreased muscle strength are also seen in AGHD. This can result in osteoporosis and frailty. The Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism notes that when combined with lifestyle modifications, Growth Hormone replacement reduces weight and fat mass while preserving lean body mass.

There are several studies that have shown Human Growth Hormone plays a crucial role in a person’s mental and emotional well being. Adults with AGHD have higher rates of depression and treatment of this deficiency results in an improved energy level, sense of well being, vitality, and quality of life.

How Do I Know If I Have a Deficiency in Human Growth Hormone?

Human Growth Hormone can’t be measured directly, but when secreted, HGH travels through the blood to the liver where it is converted to its active form, a protein called IGF-1. IGF-1 can be measured and is a reliable marker of how much HGH our body is secreting. HGH deficiency can also be recognized as a subset of symptoms like those mentioned earlier.

Your numbers may be considered “normal” according to your local lab, but they may not be “optimal.” Optimal is when you feel and function the best. It’s important to see an Age Management and Hormonal Optimization physician to look at both of these markers (numbers and symptoms) together to see if replacement would be beneficial for you.

How Do I Raise My Human Growth Hormone Levels?

SLEEP. Nearly fifty percent of HGH secretion occurs during the third and fourth REM sleep stages. Sleep deprivation and not reaching these deeper levels of sleep suppresses HGH release.

GET MOVING. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT training) is a natural physiological stimulator of HGH release. Incorporating this into your exercise routine will help boost your levels naturally.

NUTRITION. Proper nutrition not only enhances your natural HGH production, but it also promotes a healthier metabolic profile. Protein (especially animal-derived protein) provides important essential amino acids known to increase natural Growth Hormone secretion. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates (white rice, white bread, sugary cereal, cookies, soda, potato chips), as these spike insulin levels, which results in decreasing your body’s ability to use HGH.

Proper TIMING of eating plays a key role in optimizing HGH levels. Avoid eating two hours before going to bed, as this will cause an untimely insulin spike during the time HGH should be maximally secreted. Instead of the traditional three meals a day, eat smaller meals throughout the day (approximately every three hours) to avoid insulin spikes. Avoid high sugar foods and drinks after exercise because it will interfere with the natural release on HGH that exercise causes.

SUPPLEMENTATION. Nutritional supplements such as Glycine (500 mg nightly), L-Arginine (2 grams three times a day), Glutamine (2,000 mg a day), Vitamin D3 (5,000 IU a day), Niacin (1,500-3,000 mg a day) have all shown to raise Human Growth Hormone levels. However, you cannot achieve optimal levels with these alone.

MEDICATIONS. The surest way to increase the amount of HGH in your body is by having a physician prescribe HGH and monitor your progress. There are a couple of different classes of medications that do this:

  1. HGH can be administered directly, with a nightly injection just under the skin using a tiny needle.
  2. Secretagogues/Growth Hormone Analogs are medications that stimulate your body’s own production of HGH and are also administered with a nightly injection or with a small tab that dissolves under the tongue.

If you think you would benefit from HGH or suspect a deficiency, get an evaluation with a physician who specializes in Age Management & Hormone Optimization. It can make a profound difference in your quality of life and help you regain your vitality and retain your youthfulness.

Free Quiz: Are You At Risk For Hormone Decline?

Want to find out if you’re at risk for hormone decline? First, take our scientifically based hormone decline risk assessment – completely free (takes no more than 5 minutes).

After completing it, you will find out your risk level for hormone decline and, most importantly, how to proceed with beating your symptoms. Click here to take the male version, and click here to take the female version.

Then, if you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive Age Management & Hormone Optimization program, contact us through this form to schedule your free consultation, or call us at 323-874-9355.

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Is It A Mid-life Crisis? Or Is It Male Hormonal Decline?

Mike CarragherHormone Replacement Therapy, Libido, loss of energy, low energy, low libido, low sex drive, TestosteroneLeave a Comment

When we talk about middle age as a society, it’s generally accepted that women hit menopause and that men might have a mid-life crisis. But what if men are not just having some kind of breakdown where they question their past choices and their future? What if these men are having their own form of menopause?

It’s time to talk more about male “menopause” and the symptoms men could experience from it, including difficult emotional symptoms. Men are often expected to bottle their emotions, so emotional changes could be particularly hard for them to navigate.

Plus, women are used to dealing with hormonal changes throughout their lives, but men may not be as equipped to do so. Let’s address male “menopause” – what it is, what the symptoms are and how to navigate it.

What Is Male “Menopause”?

Male “menopause” – or Andropause as it is more accurately called – is not quite the same as it is for women, aside from the obvious differences. That’s because all women with normal functioning go through a sudden and significant reduction of sex hormones, whereas not all men experience symptoms of andropause.

Also, women’s reproductive function ends with menopause, whereas men can continue to produce sperm. Some refer to andropause as testosterone deficiency syndrome, but this is not completely accurate since testosterone is not the only hormone that is deficient. It is often thyroid hormone, human growth hormone, DHEA, and other key hormones that contribute to the symptoms of andropause.

Nonetheless, andropause is similar to female menopause because they both affect sex hormones. In men, andropause can happen at any age, but generally beginning as early as a man’s early 30s, when the levels of testosterone, growth hormone, thyroid hormone or others decrease. Men have a more gradual reduction in hormone levels compared to women’s quick decline during menopause.

Andropause can begin in some men in their early 30s. Often called testosterone deficiency syndrome, the symptoms of Andropause include brain fog, fatigue, inability to lose weight, and difficulty getting or keeping an erection.

Mental Health Symptoms of Andropause

If you’ve heard of this problem, you’ve probably heard of the physical and sexual symptoms like reduced energy levels, increased body fat and reduced muscle mass, and erectile dysfunction. Of course, these are serious and difficult aspects of andropause. Yet there are other symptoms that men don’t generally want to talk about. These are the emotional symptoms of andropause.

First of all, it would be normal for a man to react emotionally to the physical and sexual changes he goes through. For instance, it can be difficult to have trouble getting and staying hard and to have a reduction in the quality and amount of ejaculate.

Yet at the same time, he could experience sadness, depression, and trouble concentrating. He might lose his mental edge, finding it hard to remember names and information. It might become harder for him to keep up with the younger men at work. On top of having trouble performing sexually, he might have less interest in sex, to begin with. He could feel less motivated and have less self-confidence.

How Can Andropause Be Treated?

Men are not usually encouraged to talk about their feelings and emotions they’re experiencing. Yet it doesn’t help to ignore them. When a man’s testosterone goes down, he can have trouble handling changing emotions. It’s worth addressing the problem when it’s getting in the way of your health, happiness, and productivity.

And doctors are used to hearing about it. While you might not want to say anything, it’s likely that some of your friends and colleagues are going through the same thing. After all, statistics show that it happens in 2-5% of men from 40 to 49, 6-30% from 50 to 59, and 20-45% from 60 to 69. After that it becomes extremely common, affecting as many as 70% from age 70 to 79 and up to 90% of men in their 80s.

And while andropause might not be quite the same as female menopause, there are still plenty of available ways to manage and treat it. Lifestyle changes like creating healthier sleep, exercise and diet help manage the symptoms of andropause. Finding ways to reduce stress can also have a positive impact. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is an excellent treatment option and should be overseen by a physician who specializes in Age Management & Hormone Optimization.

Andropause comes with many changes that can affect your virility, your health, and your productivity, which means it can impact your personal relationships, your work and how you feel. It’s worth talking to a specialist so you can minimize the negative emotional impact that these changes can bring. Optimizing your hormones can help you to continue to live life to the fullest with the highest quality of life possible for you.

Free Quiz: Are You At Risk For Hormone Decline?

Want to find out if you’re at risk for hormone decline? First, take our scientifically based hormone decline risk assessment – completely free (takes no more than 5 minutes).

After completing it, you will find out your risk level for hormone decline and, most importantly, how to proceed with beating your symptoms. Click here to take the male version, and click here to take the female version.

Then, if you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive Age Management & Hormone Optimization program, contact us through this form to schedule your free consultation, or call us at 323-874-9355.

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The Pros & Cons of Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women

Mike CarragherHormone Replacement Therapy, Hot Flashes, Libido, Perimenopause, SexLeave a Comment

The decision to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a big step for many women. Some wonder about the benefits of HRT, while others worry about possible effects from the treatment. Almost every woman who considers hormone replacement therapy appreciates information on the pros and cons of the therapy.

Approximately 80 percent of women who go through menopause experience symptoms and about one-fourth of these women experience severe symptoms of menopause. The symptoms of menopause can be more severe than many women anticipate, and symptoms can last longer than expected too. Night sweats and hot flashes can last for more than seven years in more than half of all women!

Doctors often prescribe hormone replacement therapy to treat moderate to severe menopause symptoms. Despite the benefits of HRT, only a small percentage of women in menopause use hormone replacement therapy.

Menopause is a time that marks the end of menstrual cycles. It means that a woman can no longer bear children because her ovaries, which produce eggs, no longer produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, and a woman stops ovulating.

Menopause generally begins when a woman is in her late 40s or early 50s. The average age of menopause is 51 in the United States.

Symptoms of menopause can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. These symptoms can often interfere with a woman’s daily life. Menopause symptoms primarily include hot flashes, sleep problems due to night sweats, and vaginal changes, primarily dryness. Symptoms vary according to the levels of estrogen and progesterone, which tend to fluctuate as the ovaries stop functioning.

Pros of Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women

Hormone replacement therapy provides a number of benefits for women, especially for women suffering from symptoms of menopause. First, hormone replacement therapy helps women feel better. HRT also protects against bone loss and many other health conditions.

Hormonal fluctuations during peri-menopause cause uncomfortable symptoms – HRT can alleviate those symptoms to help women feel more comfortable. Hormone replacement therapy is exceptionally good at relieving hot flashes, particularly at night.

HRT can improve vaginal health. Decreased moisture production can cause vaginal dryness. Loss of elasticity, coupled with vaginal dryness, can cause pain and even slight bleeding during intercourse. Reduced sensation may affect libido as well. Hormone therapy can help relieve dryness and increase moisture and sensation, making sex more pleasurable. Loss of tissue elasticity can affect the vagina and urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside world. Loss of elasticity here can cause sudden, frequent and strong urges to urinate. It can even cause urinary incontinence, which is the leaking of urine from the bladder. Women in menopause may even have urinary tract infections (UTIs) more frequently. Hormones help maintain elasticity and muscle tone in the bladder and urethra, helping resolve embarrassing symptoms.

HRT  protects bones. Estrogen, produced by the ovaries, helps keep bones strong. Estrogen decreases sharply when a woman reaches menopause and this leaves her vulnerable to osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak bones. Osteoporosis increases the risk of bone fractures of the hip and spine. In fact, one in every two women over the age of 50 will suffer a bone fracture due to osteoporosis, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Hormone replacement therapy restores estrogen to levels high enough to protect bones from osteoporosis and fractures. Maintaining estrogen levels after menopause essentially stops bone loss.

Hormone replacement therapy can protect women from other health problems too. Estrogen is important to heart health, for example, so when estrogen drops because of menopause, the risk of heart problems increases. HRT can even reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Hormone replacement therapy can even present unexpected benefits that everyone can love. These HRT benefits include boosted collagen production, increased skin thickness, and decreased wrinkles that defy the signs of aging. Hormone replacement therapy even lowers the percentage of body fat and decreases fat around hips and thighs.

Cons of Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women

As with all medications, hormone replacement therapy does present a risk of side effects. The main concern for women is an increased cancer risk. This is where the type of hormones used is key. Synthetic progesterone, marketed under the brand name Provera, for instance, increases breast cancer risk.  

However, bio-identical progesterone actually decreases breast cancer risk as well as an endometrial cancer risk. The use of estrogen therapy may cause the uterus to grow, which increases the risk of uterine cancer; but this is only if a woman does not take progesterone to counter the effects of estrogen on the uterus.

Because of the potential for side effects, the choice to undergo hormone replacement therapy should be done only with a physician trained in bioidentical hormones. Not synthetic hormones, which can be risky. Working with a professional who can provide a personal assessment of healthcare wants and needs is helpful. A doctor can prescribe a personalized hormone replacement therapy to fit a patient’s needs, reduce their symptoms, improve their quality of life, and decrease their risk for virtually every degenerative disease of aging.

Free Quiz: Are You At Risk For Hormone Decline?

Want to find out if you’re at risk for hormone decline? First, take our scientifically based hormone decline risk assessment – completely free (takes no more than 5 minutes).

After completing it, you will find out your risk level for hormone decline and, most importantly, how to proceed with beating your symptoms. Click here to take the male version, and click here to take the female version.

Then, if you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive Age Management & Hormone Optimization program, contact us through this form to schedule your free consultation, or call us at 323-874-9355.

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Understanding the Impact of Hormonal Changes on Your Mood During Perimenopause and Menopause — and How to Start Feeling Better Today

Mike CarragherAge Management, PerimenopauseLeave a Comment

If you are like most women, you became an expert on managing mood swings associated with hormonal changes throughout your menstrual cycle. Managing the hormonal changes during perimenopause and menopause can create an entirely new set of emotional symptoms, though, which catches many women by surprise. You’ll be happy to know that there are a number of ways to improve your mood and many of the other symptoms of menopause.

Menopause marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Menopause is usually defined as one year plus 1 day of having no menstrual cycle. Menopause does not happen overnight, though. Hormone production within your ovaries slows down in fits and spurts, which causes hormone levels in your body to fluctuate. Doctors refer to this as perimenopause. From start to finish, the entire process of perimenopause can take anywhere from 2 to 10 years to reach full menopause.

Most women go through menopause without developing a significant mood disorder, but almost all women notice some degree of moodiness. These mood changes are a very common symptom of fluctuating hormone levels.

Mood changes may also be a natural part of marking the end of your childbearing years. This can be bittersweet for some women and extremely painful for others. Body changes can prompt concerns about attractiveness and even lead to a distorted body image. As they approach menopause, many women feel emotional as they reflect upon their place and purpose in life. A few women celebrate menopause because it frees them from worries of pregnancy and inconveniences of menstrual periods. Such large changes in your life can cause mood shifts, even without the hormonal fluctuations associated with menopause.

The type of mood changes and their severity varies among women. For some women, the mood swings of menopause are like gently rolling hills. For other women, though, menopause is like a rollercoaster of emotions.

Mood Changes Associated with Menopause

Here are some of the more common mood changes associated with perimenopause and menopause:

Irritability: Up to 70 percent of women say that irritability is their biggest emotional problem during perimenopause. These women say they feel less tolerant and more easily annoyed as they go through.

Depression: Depression affects up to one in every five women going through menopause.

Anxiety: Menopause can bring about tension, worry, nervousness and even panic attacks. Many women who are prone to anxiety find that it worsens while going through menopause; others may develop anxiety for the first time.

Crying and weepiness: The tendency to cry or feel weepy may be more pronounced as you approach menopause. You might find yourself weeping about things that did not bother you before.

Insomnia: If you are like 40 to 50 percent of women in menopause, you experience insomnia. You might experience other symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats, which interrupt your sleep. Loss of sleep can leave you feeling tired and foggy, which can cause irritation and moodiness.

While hormonal changes in your mood are natural and normal, the mood changes associated with menopause can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Fortunately, there are ways you can start feeling better today.

How to Improve Mood Changes Associated with Menopause

Overcome the mood changes that make menopause uncomfortable and inconvenient through exercise, nutrition and modern medicine.

Get more exercise

Regular exercise is important to physical and mental health. Physical activity relieves stress, improves mood, releases endorphins (your body’s own morphine) and helps put problems into perspective. Tai chi, yoga, and meditation can help you reduce and manage stress, irritability, and other symptoms of menopause. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 2.5 hours of moderately intense activity each week, along with muscle strengthening exercises on two days a week for all adults.

Consume a nutritious diet

A healthy diet, especially one rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, can help reduce moodiness associated with menopause.

Hormone replacement therapy

Hormones are responsible for many of the symptoms of menopause, including mood swings. Ovaries produce important hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, which are important to regulate menstrual periods. As you approach menopause, your ovaries slow production of these hormones. The slowdown is not sudden, though, so hormones levels may drop one month and surge the next, which can lead to a rollercoaster of emotions.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) replaces diminishing hormones to stabilize moods. Using specific hormones can address specific symptoms. Progesterone is the hormone of choice to treat hot flashes and night sweats, while testosterone treats loss of libido, loss of sexual desire and diminished orgasms.

The more you know about the effects hormonal changes can have on your moods during menopause, the sooner you can start feeling better.  The best way to know what’s going on internally is to have an Age Management & Hormone Optimization Specialist evaluate you and test specific hormone levels so replacement dosages can be recommended that will alleviate your symptoms, ease this difficult transition and ensure your quality of life remain as high as possible as you enter this new phase of life.

Free Quiz: Are You At Risk For Hormone Decline?

Want to find out if you’re at risk for hormone decline? First, take our scientifically based hormone decline risk assessment – completely free (takes no more than 5 minutes).

After completing it, you will find out your risk level for hormone decline and, most importantly, how to proceed with beating your symptoms. Click here to take the male version, and click here to take the female version.

Then, if you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive Age Management & Hormone Optimization program, contact us through this form to schedule your free consultation, or call us at 323-874-9355.

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Answered: Men’s 10 Top Questions about Male Hormone Decline

Mike CarragherUncategorizedLeave a Comment

If you’re like most men, you don’t even know how much hormonal decline may be affecting your life.  Or if you do, you are frustrated with the problems it brings. Here are the top ten questions and answers men have about hormone decline.

1. What’s a hormone and why do they decline in males?

Hormones are the chemical messengers that affect the vast multitude of processes occurring in your body. They help control functions as simple as hunger and body temperature.  They profoundly affect sexual function, sleep, muscular growth, and heart function. They even affect more complex body systems like mood and emotions and brain function.

As we age, hormone levels typically decline (some key hormones tend to rise…but unfortunately they’re usually the ones we want to remain low).  And hormonal decline can begin at quite a young age – melatonin, for example, the “sleep” hormone, begins to decline at about 18 or 19 years old and continues to fall for the rest of our lives.

The reason you should care about hormones declining is that hormonal decline may be the most important contributor to the aging process.  We see and feel the effects of aging as our hormones decline: skin changes, sex drive, and sexual function declines, energy declines, we tend to gain weight in our midsection, become forgetful.  Basically so many of the things we just call “getting old” is a result of hormone decline.

Another reason you should care is that as your hormone levels decline, your risk of almost every chronic degenerative disease increases, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, cancer, and osteoporosis.   

2. Why would my hormones decline?

As we age, the cells in your body which produce hormones begin to die off. It’s called age-related hormonal decline. Some may say it’s a “natural” part of the aging process, but regardless, its effects on the body are profound.  

Other factors, like poor nutrition or lack of (or excessive) exercise, can speed this process up.

Other factors can hasten the decline as well. These include injury or infection, chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer, chronic illness, stress, alcoholism, and obesity. Your drop in hormones may also be due to the use of certain medications, especially corticosteroid drugs and hormone medications used in the treatment of prostate cancer.

3. What are the most common symptoms of hormone decline?

Symptoms vary, depending on the man and his hormone levels. The most common symptoms of hormone decline include:

  • Diminished sex drive
  • Difficulty achieving and maintaining an erection
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Decreased bone mass
  • Fatigue
  • Low semen volume
  • Increased body fat
  • Mood changes

4. When do symptoms of hormone decline in men usually start?

Decades ago, men used to start noticing symptoms of hormone decline typically when they were in their late 30s or early 40s. Now men are beginning to experience these symptoms as early as their late 20s. Researchers are still working to determine why men are experiencing hormone decline earlier than ever before.

5. Men typically think of testosterone when they think male hormones. Is it just low testosterone?

The human body relies on a complex blend of hormones that work in conjunction to keep your body running in top condition. This means it will take more than a mere testosterone replacement to correct hormone decline. Thyroid, DHEA, HGH, Pregnenolone, Cortisone, Vitamin D, are all key players and work in conjunction with one another. Testosterone is just one instrument in a symphony of hormones that result in a complex symphony of instruments that optimize health.  

6. Is there a treatment for male hormone decline?

Hormone replacement therapy can restore hormones to therapeutic levels, reduce the annoying symptoms of male hormone decline. Treatments can include skin patches, gels, tablets that dissolve in your mouth, pellets inserted under the surface of the skin, and injections.

7. When should I get started?

The best time to start hormone replacement therapy for men is when you notice symptoms – before the symptoms become a big problem. If you are feeling symptoms, the problem may have existed for a while and your hormone levels may already be low. Immediate treatment helps you feel better faster.

8. Will I need HRT for life?

You will only need HRT for as long as you want to maintain the benefits of the therapy.

9. Can I ramp up my HRT dosage as needed?

Not necessarily – more is not necessarily better in the world of hormones. Your healthcare provider will monitor your hormone levels and adjust your HRT dosage accordingly. You might be surprised to learn that the therapeutic range of your hormones is often not the “normal” range you might see listed on your lab report. Only an Age Management and Hormone Optimization specialist, who has received special training after medical school and residency in order to practice in this field, can prescribe and adjust your HRT dosage.

10. Who should I talk to for more information?

For more information about hormone decline and hormone replacement therapy for men, talk with a doctor who is an Age Management and Hormone Optimization specialist. An appointment does not take very long, and you should have your key hormone levels tested.  The more you know about hormone decline in males, the better you will feel and the more you will improve your quality of life and look and feel the best you possibly can.

Free Quiz: Are You At Risk For Hormone Decline?

Want to find out if you’re at risk for hormone decline? First, take our scientifically based hormone decline risk assessment – completely free (takes no more than 5 minutes).

After completing it, you will find out your risk level for hormone decline and, most importantly, how to proceed with beating your symptoms. Click here to take the male version, and click here to take the female version.

Then, if you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive Age Management & Hormone Optimization program, contact us through this form to schedule your free consultation, or call us at 323-874-9355.

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Am I Too Young for Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Mike CarragherAge Management, Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, Hormone Replacement TherapyLeave a Comment

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) has been an effective treatment for hormonal decline in men and women for decades.

As we age, our hormone production goes down, leading to a range of undesirable symptoms. Typically HRT has been used by older people, often in their 40s or 50s or older, to help correct the hormonal imbalances caused by aging. But in recent years HRT has been employed by younger people as well since hormonal decline is beginning at younger and younger ages.

No matter what your age, if you are experiencing symptoms of hormonal decline, HRT may be a good solution for you.

Am I Too  Young For Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Hormone production can be negatively affected by a range of issues, many of which can arise in adults of any age. More and more men and women are finding themselves struggling with hormonal imbalances in their 30s and 40s, sometimes even younger. Hormone production can begin to decline as early as 18 or 19 years old, so it is not surprising that some younger adults find themselves suffering from the symptoms of hormonal imbalances.

HRT for Younger Men

Testosterone levels in men typically begin to noticeably decline around age 30 and continue to decline over the following years. While a gradual decline in testosterone is normal, studies have determined that there has been a remarkable reduction in the level of testosterone in men across the board. A man at 40 today may have somewhere around 15% – 20% less testosterone than a man at age 40 just twenty years ago.

As testosterone declines, it is common to experience symptoms like lowered sex drive, decreased energy, difficulty building muscle or depression. Whatever your age, these symptoms are undesirable. They will make it difficult to make the most out of your life and can leave you feeling less happy and vital than you should.

Most men in their 20s, 30s and even possibly 40s are not likely to look to testosterone first when they experience these negative symptoms. Most think it is just a low period in their lives or attribute the symptoms to other medical issues they are dealing with. The same is true for most traditional doctors. Most doctor’s first assumption is that the symptoms are caused by other issues because they are not trained to consider hormonal decline as a cause of these problems.

Fortunately, low testosterone can often be treated effectively with HRT. Bioidentical testosterone cream or injections or other medications that increase the body’s own production of testosterone (like hCG or clomiphene)  can correct imbalances relatively quickly, which means you can get back to feeling the way you are supposed to feel.

HRT for Younger Women

The majority of women know to expect hormonal changes sometime in their 50s as menopause sets in. But women in their 30s and 40s may not think about hormonal imbalances when they start to experience symptoms like weight gain, loss of interest in sex and other issues related to hormonal decline. Instead, they may assume that something is “wrong” with them, which is unfortunate. If the symptoms are related to hormonal imbalances, they may be remedied by HRT.

Perimenopause is the medical term for the transition period into menopause. During perimenopause, the body starts to wildly varying amounts of estrogen, before the loss of production at menopause. It can start as early as the late 30s, and last from a few months to a full 10 years or more. During perimenopause, the symptoms of menopause may start to show up.

The symptoms of both overall hormonal decline and perimenopause can usually be managed with HRT. It is important for younger women to be aware of the possibility of hormonal imbalances. If you are not feeling like yourself, HRT may offer a way to correct the problem in a surprisingly short amount of time.

Maintaining Awareness of Your Body

The best judge of how you feel is you. Only you know what is normal for your body, and when things start to change to abnormal you are the one best equipped to recognize problems as they arise. When you do notice something is wrong, take action and seek help from a medical professional.

Testing for hormonal imbalances is not difficult to do. It requires a simple blood test. If the blood test shows you have hormonal imbalances, your doctor can advise you on what options you have to improve the way you feel and get you back to your best self.

Need Help With Your Hormones?

First, take our scientifically based hormone decline risk assessment – completely free (takes no more than 5 minutes). After completing it, you will find out your risk level for hormone decline and, most importantly, how to proceed with beating your symptoms.

Click here to take the male version, and click here to take the female version.

Then, if you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive Age Management & Hormone Optimization program, contact us through this form to schedule your free consultation, or call us at 323-874-9355.

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