Did you know that male hormone levels (like testosterone) decline significantly as we age? According to the journal Virulence, 2017, testosterone in men decreases at a rate of at least 1% each year after the age of 30. The same goes for DHEA and other significant hormones. But there are also key signs to look for which should prompt you to have your hormones evaluated.
What are Hormones and Why Do They Matter?
Hormones are chemical messengers. And your body produces lots of them. They are key components in critical body functions like metabolic rate, energy production, fat burning, sleep, digestion and even sex.
Testosterone is the hormone that gives men defining characteristics like body hair, increased muscle mass and sperm production. When testosterone levels start to drop, men notice this decline. It is often referred to as male menopause, or “Manopause.”
Why Do Men Suffer From Their Own Version of Menopause?
When a woman goes through menopause, it is a very specific event which happens over a relatively short period of time. She no longer has menstrual cycles and is no longer able to bear children. For men, the change in hormone production is less dramatic and happens over a longer period of time.
Baseline levels of testosterone vary from one man to the next. For men that have naturally high levels of testosterone in their blood, that yearly decline of one percent may not be very noticeable. For most men, though, by the time they are 35 or 40, they begin to notice a change in how they feel. Additionally, baseline levels of testosterone have fallen by 15% over each of the past two generations, and there are likely environmental contributors that are affecting testosterone levels in men.
So men today are feeling the effects of low testosterone at younger and younger ages. I am seeing more and more men in my practice who have low testosterone levels as young as their late 20s and early 30s.
What are the Five Warning Signs of Hormone Decline in Men?
Since testosterone levels are different from man to man, and there are other hormones at play, the exact symptoms will vary. Some men experience pronounced changes while others may feel a less dramatic decline. But remember, hormonal decline is associated with increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, stroke, and cancer.
Here are five of the warning signs of hormonal decline in men:
- Low libido and Erectile Dysfunction – The desire to have sex that drives so many when they are young is based largely on hormone production. According to a 2017 study by Current Opinion In Urology, when testosterone levels drop, so does a man’s desire for sex. This would also include the loss of spontaneous morning erections. It may become difficult to achieve or maintain erections even when aroused.
- Sleep disturbances— Changes in the way you sleep that might include insomnia or feeling like you want to sleep during the day (Asian J Androl, 2014).
- Changes in Your Body Shape— Often the way fat is distributed changes as testosterone levels drop, so men develop belly fat and even breasts. You may also notice you have less muscle definition (Asian J Androl, 2014).
- Digestive Problems and Body Aches— You may have sugar cravings and there can be a change in your bowel habits (World J Gastroenterol, 2014) as well, and you may notice achy joints (Aging Male, 2019).
- Mood Changes— Low testosterone can make you feel irritable and grumpy. Or lazy and less motivated. The changes in other aspects of your life like the inability to get an erection have an emotional impact, too, like feeling depressed or anxious. (Ann Clin Psychiatry, 2014)
What is the Treatment for Hormone Decline in Men?
It’s important to get the right kind of treatment and not give in to the appeal of low-quality “hormone” products or substitutes. Stay away from over the counter brands that promise to boost testosterone or cure erectile dysfunction. Men produce hormones at different levels so that one-size-fits-all solution won’t work. Plus, there are many poor quality products on the market that can potentially make your problem worse.
Customized and specific hormone replacement therapy with a trained Age Management physician will help you look and feel better. Once your hormones are replaced, you can get back to the way you are supposed to feel and enjoying life again.
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.