There are some biological changes that come with age, especially in women. In our early years we go through a quite rapid pattern of development. This sees us endure many changes in our bodies, both for men and women. Then, as we go through our adult years, we experience even more in the way of changes.
For women, the menopause is a time of life when things can get surprisingly difficult. A woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs at an average age of around 45. This sees her no longer having a regular period. It also means she will start to undergo quite strong hormonal changes. This can affect her mood, well-being, and health.
As we will see later on some men also experience a similar change. In this article we look at why hormones are so important, what they do, and the amazing development of bioidentical hormones. Let’s begin by looking at the function and purpose of hormones in the human body.
What do Hormones Do?
Hormones are chemical messengers. They are created in a series of glands within the body. Carried by the bloodstream, they take messages from the brain and nervous system to organs and other parts of the body. These messages are instructions for us to react.
For example, take the male hormone testosterone, one that is well-known. When we mention testosterone, we think of sex. As we will see later on, that is not the sole purpose or use of the hormone. The same is true of the female hormone estrogen. But let’s stick with sex for the moment.
When a man becomes aroused the testosterone – produced by the testes – messages the blood to flow to the penis. This is what causes an erection. That’s just one reaction from the hormonal messages.
- Now, as a man grows older his testes may stop producing testosterone in the required quantities to do its job, as with the women and estrogen during the menopause. The result is not just loss of sexual appetite and performance, but also that of many other aspects of general health and well-being that the hormones inspire. Here are some of the symptoms that are often experienced when men start to be affected by loss of testosterone, also referred to as the male menopause or andropause:Low energy levels
- Depression or feeling very low
- Lack of motivation
- Poor self-confidence
- Difficulty concentrating on anything
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Putting on weight
- Reduced muscle mass and feelings of physical weakness
- gynecomastia, or development of breasts
- Decreased bone density
- Erectile dysfunction
- Reduced libido
No, look at the symptoms experience by women during menopause and note the similarities:
- Hot Flushes
- Night sweats
- Dryness and thinning of the skin and particularly the vaginal area
- Diminished sex drive and loss of sensitivity to stimulation
- Hair Loss
- Forgetfulness that may include an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Depression and other mood changes
It is notable that both these conditions come with changes to our cognitive performance and also depression and mood changes. So, what are bioidentical hormones, and how do they play a part in these situations?
Table of Contents
What Are Bioidentical Hormones?
The use of bioidentical hormones in hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is fast becoming the preferred method for many clinics operating in this specialised area of treatment. HRT involves replacing the lost hormone – either by way of patches or, often more successfully, by inserting pellets under the skin. These pellets and patches gradually release the bioidentical hormones into the bloodstream.
Until the development of bioidentical hormones – which are created in a laboratory to be biologically identical to those in the body – HRT used entirely synthetic hormones. The advantage of bioidentical is that they match the existing hormone as closely as possible. This means greater efficiency and a much more successful replacement rate.
As the hormones can be manufactured quickly and easily once they have been sequenced it is now recognised as one of the best ways of providing successful HRT for both men and women. Now let’s talk about why one might need to undergo HRT.
Why Might I Need Hormone Replacement Therapy?
If you want the menopause explained there are plenty resources online or you could talk to a doctor who will be more than happy to through things in detail with you. However, it is not just the menopause – and the male equivalent – for which bioidentical hormones can be of use.
Some other hormones can lead to medical problems and conditions. The thyroid, for example, produces many hormones that are essential for the growth of every cell that makes up our body. When thyroid levels reduce a man or a woman can experience symptoms such as fatigue, hair loss and many more effects including weight gain. Thyroid hormones can be replaced by HRT.
In men, the problems of Erectile Dysfunction can be one that comes about thanks to hormone deficiency. There are many treatments for erectile dysfunction but also many causes, so it is important that a sufferer has a medical diagnosis to discover the correct treatment for their individual case.
The world of medicine has brought us many wonders, and among them is the ability to recreate the likes of hormones for use in HRT routines. These simple procedures make life a lot more bearable than without them. Let’s finish by looking at what we have learned.
We’ve learned about the male menopause or andropause, a little-mentioned problem that can be extremely distressing for a man. It’s important to remember that while this – and associated problems such as ED – are usually seen only in men over 50, that is not always the case.
For women, the inevitable onset of the menopause can be helped greatly by bioidentical hormones, and while some will suffer considerable upset, others may barely notice the change. We are each individual, and for this reason the availability of carefully created bioidentical hormones for use in HRT is one that we should welcome.