Did you know that there are more than 3.9 million men worldwide? Men get most of their physical characteristics from steady levels of testosterone, and when those levels go off, a man could start to experience the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. But what are the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance in men in the first place?
Is there an easy way to tell whether or not you have a male hormone imbalance or not? And if you do have an imbalance, what can you do to fix it? Keep reading and learn more about the signs of a hormonal imbalance in men, why this problem can be harmful to a man’s health, and what you can do about it to fix the problem.
Erectile dysfunction is a very common problem among men, especially older men. Many people believe that erectile dysfunction (ED) is a normal part of getting older, but this is not necessarily the case. More often than not, ED may be caused by an underlying health issue.
Sometimes, this issue has something to do with a lack of blood flow that may be caused by heart disease or diabetes. However, in other cases, it may be caused by an imbalance in different types of male hormones. This, of course, can be hard to differentiate, especially if you are unsure what kind of health conditions you might be suffering from.
Erectile dysfunction happens when not enough blood is able to flow into the penis. An erection is only possible when the two types of tissue within the penis, the corpus spongiosum and the corpus cavernosum, become engorged with blood as a result of sexual arousal. When blood flows into these two tissues, the tissues will then trap the blood inside the penis.
This is important because if the tissues did not do this, the blood would flow right out of the penis and it would be impossible to maintain an erection that would last long enough for sex. However, if a man is unable to become sexually aroused in the first place, this may be a sign that he is suffering from a hormonal imbalance.
The Role of Testosterone for Sex
If a man does not have enough testosterone, he may have a lower sex drive than usual. This will obviously make him less likely to seek out sex. More than that, if a man with a hormonal imbalance does decide to engage in sex, he may find it difficult to get aroused even if he wants to be aroused.
As mentioned before, this problem often happens in older men. This is because, as men get older, they have a tendency to lose a certain percentage of their testosterone. This happens very slowly over the course of several years, but most men will experience the symptoms of this loss of testosterone once they hit a certain age, usually some time during middle age.
This can disrupt men’s health in several ways, and for some men, the drop in testosterone may be more dramatic than for other men.
Loss of Muscle Mass
Testosterone plays a big role when it comes to muscle mass. For example, men have larger, denser, and stronger muscles compared to women. This is because men have higher levels of testosterone.
Another example is when bodybuilders use steroids which boost their testosterone levels. This excess testosterone allows a person to build muscles that are larger than what is usually possible to achieve. Throughout a man’s life, especially in his youth, his body should have relatively stable levels of testosterone.
This testosterone will keep his muscles strong throughout his life until he grows old. Once a man starts to age, his testosterone levels will slowly start to drop, as mentioned before. Many men don’t even realize that it’s happening at first because it happens very slowly.
This is known as andropause and it usually happens in middle age. Many people think that only women go through hormonal changes in the middle of their lives (menopause) but this is not quite true. While men don’t quite go through such dramatic changes as women do, they do indeed go through andropause, which is similar in some regards.
For example, if a man’s testosterone levels drop all of a sudden, he may experience more severe symptoms such as hot flashes. This is not common, but it can happen. More often than not, men experiencing andropause start to notice that their muscles are not as strong or dense as they used to be.
Instead, their muscles will start to become weak and thin.
What You Need to Know
Of course, this does not happen overnight. More than that, many men can keep this from happening if they stay in shape and take care of their overall health.
But even so, an older man that is in good shape still won’t have muscles that are quite as strong as those of a young man. After the age of 40, men will start to lose around 1% of their testosterone every year. Because this is such a slow process, many men won’t notice any changes in their muscle mass until they are in their 60s or 70s.
Even so, this loss of muscle mass can be damaging to a man’s overall health. For example, an elderly man might have trouble completing simple tasks such as standing up out of a chair on his own because his leg muscles have become so weak. In a similar vein, man may not be able to open a jar, a door, or lift a gallon of milk.
The loss of muscle mass as a result of andropause (or any other cause for low testosterone) is usually at its worst in elderly men. Men still in their middle years should still have enough testosterone to do most basic tasks without experiencing too much weakness or trouble with their muscles.
Breast Swelling, Tenderness, or Growth
If a man starts to experience problems with his chest such as unusual growth, pain, or tenderness, this is a key sign that he is suffering from a hormonal imbalance. This is not a very common problem, even in men with hormonal imbalances. However, if a man has had a hormonal imbalance for a very long time, since puberty, for example, this problem, known as gynecomastia, may be more common.
The growth of breasts is triggered usually by the presence of estrogen. This is why women grow breasts during puberty. During that time, girls will experience a surge in estrogen which will cause their bodies to change and become more feminine.
Something similar can happen to a man who has low testosterone levels and unusually high levels of estrogen. Many people don’t know that men have estrogen just like women do. Of course, men naturally have very low levels of estrogen while women have much higher levels.
In contrast, men have high levels of testosterone while women have very low levels of this hormone. When a man experiences a surge in estrogen, he may start to see changes in his breasts. These changes are quite slow, but over the course of weeks or months, the results will become more noticeable.
Before a man sees any physical difference, he may start to feel pain, swelling, or tenderness in the area, especially around the nipples. This discomfort is the result of male breast tissue expanding due to the hormonal imbalance. This condition is especially common in men over the age of 50 due to the decrease in testosterone.
However, gynecomastia can actually happen to men of any age. Even boys can experience this problem or the problem may arise during puberty.
Causes of Gynecomastia
Once the breast tissue starts to enlarge, a man’s chest will start to resemble a woman’s breasts.
Usually, gynecomastia does not produce large breasts. However, the enlarged breast tissue is very noticeable and the breasts are overall softer and more rounded in shape. If this problem does not arise over the age of 50, it may be the result of a more serious health condition.
For example, in young men, this problem may result from a tumor on one of the adrenal glands, kidney disease, thyroid disease, and certain genetic disorders. In this case, it is important to get the underlying health problem treated as soon as possible. In the case of tumors and diseases of certain organs, these issues can get worse and affect your overall health quite severely.
For genetic conditions such as Klinefelter syndrome, there are not many treatment options available since this is an inherited and permanent condition. Whatever the case, gynecomastia is almost always the result of a hormonal imbalance in men. This condition can take a large toll on a man’s self-esteem, and he may not feel that he is as much of a man as he used to be.
Fortunately, there are a few ways in which you can fix this problem, along with the other problems that result from a male hormonal imbalance. One of the best treatment options has to do with testosterone replacement therapy.
Understanding Treatment Options for Male Hormonal Imbalances
No matter what might be causing your hormonal imbalance, hormone therapy for men should fix the problem. The cause of a hormonal imbalance, of course, almost always has to do with low testosterone levels. It would only make sense to solve the issue by supplying a man with more testosterone.
But how does one go about doing this exactly, you might ask? There are many ways in which you can receive testosterone supplements. For example, some men may opt for a skin patch that delivers the hormone through their skin throughout the day.
This will not give you a large boost of testosterone, but it is a good choice if your testosterone levels are only slightly low. There are also certain testosterone gels that your doctor may prescribe for you. Again, you apply these gels onto your skin where it will absorb through the skin barrier and into your blood.
These gels come in different strengths so that you can get the right amount of testosterone depending on the severity of your hormonal imbalance. Some gels even need to be applied to the inside of your nose where it will absorb into your body through your nasal membranes.
There are also testosterone injections and implants. Injections have become more popular in recent years because they allow you to inject testosterone directly into your blood stream. Implants, on the other hand, sit within your skin or muscle where they will continuously release testosterone over a certain period of time.
Injections give you more control over the dosage compared to implants. There is also oral testosterone in the form of pills. However, these pills are not very popular because they may come with serious side effects. Some doctors believe that digesting testosterone in this way could damage certain organs in your body, such as the liver or kidneys.
Whatever the case, once you find the right kind of testosterone treatment for you, you should see big improvements in your body’s health. Your muscle mass should increase, you should have a better sex drive, and you should no longer deal with any breast swelling or tenderness.
All About Hormonal Imbalance in Men
A hormonal imbalance in men is no joke. This problem may result from andropause or it may occur due to adrenal tumors, thyroid disease, or other health concerns. The most common symptoms include erectile dysfunction, loss of muscle mass, and gynecomastia.
Fortunately, hormone replacement therapy can help and ensure that these problems become issues of the past. To learn more, check out the other blogs on our website.