Although scientists are still studying the exact causes of hormonal imbalance in men, they have concluded that hormones can become unbalanced as we age. According to Dr. Jag Desai, men can expect a steady decrease of their growth hormones after age 20 and falls approximately 14% every 10 years. Then, around 40, the majority of men retain about half of their original growth hormones.
It’s important to remember that other factors contribute to causes of a hormone imbalance like stress, staying sedentary for the majority of the day, certain medications, your genetics, and your diet. If a hormone level is unbalanced within your endocrine system - the part of our body that regulates hormones - it can cause dysregulation and issues in some of these areas:
It is easy to miss some of the symptoms of a hormone imbalance like poor sleep and fatigue because we may be stressed out, work too much, or aren’t eating as well as we should be. But, over time, if the root cause of the symptoms are not treated, the symptoms get worse and they can severely impact your life. The most common symptom reported of men’s hormonal imbalance is a low sex drive. However, there are some other symptoms that are often misdiagnosed or ignored, like:
The primary male hormone is testosterone but there are other hormones that it interacts with like cortisol, thyroid hormones, and insulin. An imbalance in any of those hormones could result in one of the four types of hormone imbalance in men:
Adrenal Fatigue: While categorized as one type of hormone imbalance, it’s not an accepted medical diagnosis because it’s often used to explain a cluster of symptoms people with long-term stress (mental, emotional, or physical) experience. It often occurs because the stresses of life become too much for the body to handle and the adrenal glands can’t keep up with the body’s demand for more cortisol production. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include anxiety, mid-day fatigue, depression, weight gain, erectile dysfunction, and reduced stress tolerance.
Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) may be more common in women but it’s still something men can experience - especially when they have an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. However, hypothyroidism can be caused by damage to the thyroid, a thyroid removal, and treatment of an overactive thyroid. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include goiter swelling, weight gain, sore muscles, feeling cold, dry skin, brittle nails, and trouble concentrating.
Hyperthyroidism: Also known as an overactive thyroid, hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormones than your body needs and it can harm your muscles, heart, and semen quality if it’s not treated. It can be caused by a number of things including inflammation of the thyroid gland, too much iodine intake within your diet or from medication, and abnormal clusters of thyroid cells within the gland called nodules. Symptoms to watch out for include heart palpitations, tremors, muscle weakness, unexpected weight loss, and frequent sweating.
If you dig into the sources of various male hormone imbalances, you see a common thread in most of the literature: low testosterone can wreak havoc on your body. Not every hormone imbalance for men is caused by low testosterone but we’re seeing an increase in men who have low testosterone - or Low T - and aren’t being diagnosed with testosterone deficiency syndrome, any of the various hypogonadism syndromes, or andropause.
While a slight drop in testosterone is a common sign of aging for men it doesn’t typically cause the same noticeable problems that a testosterone imbalance causes like contributing to fatigue, irritability, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and depression. If you’re experiencing any of the common symptoms listed and you’re not sure if the symptoms are normal or part of low testosterone, take our hormone health self-assessment and schedule a consultation to speak with one of our board-certified providers. They can help answer questions you have and guide you on next steps.
At Thrivelab, we aim to be as transparent as possible when it comes to helping people optimize their hormones. We understand how challenging it can be to connect the dots between your symptoms. And, it can be awkward to speak with your physician about what you’re experiencing. All too often, symptoms are brushed off as part of the normal aging process – but you know your body better than anyone. There are treatments available that can alleviate your symptoms and balance your hormones.
Understand that not every hormone therapy option is individualized for your specific needs. Some clinics and physicians will try one medication after another without touching base with you to see how everything is going.
That’s why Thrivelab was created. Here’s how it works:
We test and optimize routinely and you have easy, on-demand access to your medical team when you need it. It can take as little as seven days from the time you take the self-assessment until you start receiving your medications instead of the industry average of 24 days. And no two plans are ever the same because what you’re experiencing is as unique as you are - so why would we give you a cookie-cutter solution?
You know your body better than anyone and you have options for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Book your consult with a board-certified provider today to get clarity and guidance.