When people hear the word “hormones” they immediately think of women’s issues, but men are affected by hormones as well. Hormones are essential chemicals that influence every system and process in your body. Too much or too little can have a huge effect on how you feel and what happens inside your body.
Hormones are secreted by cells and glands and they communicate to keep your body running smoothly, but sometimes things go wrong. One particularly important group of hormones are produced by the glands that make up the endocrine system. They include your reproductive glands, your thyroid, and your adrenal glands.
Hormonal imbalance in women
Most women begin experiencing hormonal imbalances in their 40s and 50s, but it can happen earlier due to lifestyle and environmental factors. We are exposed to a laundry list of toxins and chemicals every day which can have similar effects to estrogen in the body.
Men are affected just as strongly as women, and keeping male hormones in balance is equally important. Issues such as low-T can affect everything from energy levels to mood. They suffer from the same changes common to women:
Some of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalances are:
- Weight gain. While diet and lack of physical activity are usually blamed for weight gain, it’s not always that simple. Insulin resistance is common, and a small change in thyroid hormone levels can result in weight changes.
- Increase in belly fat and decrease in muscle mass. Changes to the endocrine system can trigger excess fat storage. At the same time, you can start to lose muscle mass. Increasing belly fat can be a symptom of adrenal fatigue.
- Low libido. Loss of interest in sex can indicate a hormonal imbalance. Loss of sleep usually goes hand in hand with lower production of sex hormones.
- Exhaustion. If fatigue makes it hard to get through the day and you’re considering hooking up a coffee IV or installing a nap mat under your desk, hormones may be to blame.
- Irritability, depression and anxiety. Stress takes a toll on your body and on hormone production…and vice versa.
- Loss of sleep. You may find yourself tossing and turning at night, waking frequently, or having trouble getting to sleep. All of these symptoms are connected. Changes to diet, exercise, and sleep habits may help you address the changing needs of your body.
- Skin changes. Rough, dry skin is common to women and men.
- Hair loss. Thyroid imbalances result in dramatic hair loss in both men and women.
- Memory loss. Declining memory function is often associated with aging, but driving factors include hormonal changes that affect the brain.
- Hot flashes (women). One of the most distinctive side effects of menopause, night sweats and hot flashes can cause havoc in your life.
- Aggression and anger (men). Too much testosterone can have a catastrophic effect on mood and a man’s ability to control angry impulses.
- Low-T (men). Low testosterone can have devastating changes to a man’s health and even shorten his life.
A simple hormone test can help you monitor your critical systems and keep your hormones in balance….which can impact the quality of your life. You may need medications or hormone replacement, or you may find that changes to diet and lifestyle have significant impact on your life. Your doctor can help you evaluate your results and decide on the best way to address the changes taking place in your body.