As we grow older, the production of vital hormones, such as estrogen for women and testosterone for men, gradually reduces. Estrogen plays a crucial role in the sexual and reproductive development in women. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and is responsible for the development of secondary sexual characteristics and reproductive tissues in men. When the level of primary sex hormones drops, several physical and mental functions are negatively affected. To offer relief from testosterone and estrogen deficiency, World Wellness Health Institute in Bala Cynwyd, PA offers hormone replacement therapy.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Also known as hormone therapy, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) replaces primary female and male sex hormones that are at a lower level as you age or because of an underlying medical condition. It treats the symptoms associated with menopause and andropause.
When Should You Consider Getting Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Hormone therapy is ideal for women and men who experience the adverse effects of estrogen and testosterone deficiency, respectively. While you should visit a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis for hormone deficiency, here are some signs you should consider HRT:
Signs of Low Estrogen
Irregular or Absent Periods
Typically, the menstrual lasts between 21 and 35 days. However, around 25% of all women experience irregular periods. Women’s health experts define irregular periods as periods that shorter or longer than usual or periods that are lighter or heavier than usual. Irregular periods are known to prevent ovulation or cause abdominal cramping. Low estrogen can cause:
- Menorrhagia – Prolonged or abnormally heavy bleeding
- Amenorrhea – Absence of menstruation for at least 3 consecutive menstrual periods
- Oligomenorrhea – Infrequent periods or a routine of going more than 35 days without menstrual periods
- Dysmenorrhea – pain, and cramping during menstruation
Additionally, hormonal imbalance is sometimes responsible for prolonged periods that last more than 7 days.
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
When a hot flash hits you, you feel sudden warmth on your face and neck. Hot flashes can also cause flushing and reddening of the skin around the face, neck, arms, chest, and back. An intense hot flash episode is sometimes accompanied by sweating and chills. When a hot flash occurs at night, it is known as a night sweat. A hot flash episode can last between 30 seconds to 10 minutes. Untreated hot flashes can last up to a decade. However, the vast majority of women stop experiencing hot flashes after 5 years. Since night sweats interfere with your sleep, they can negatively affect your overall wellbeing.
Frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
For a wide variety of reasons, some women are more vulnerable to UTIs than others. However, low estrogen levels make the lining of the urethra thinner, increasing your risk of developing urinary tract infections. Besides allowing unhealthy bacteria into the urinary tract, low estrogen can also cause other complications in the urinary tract, such as urinary incontinence.
Low estrogen levels can lead to vaginal dryness during perimenopause and after menopause. Vaginal dryness causes discomfort during sex. Additionally, when estrogen levels drop, the walls of the vagina become thinner, causing pain and discomfort during sex.
Women are more prone to headaches than men. Although the reason behind this difference is not well known, some health experts believe low estrogen is the cause. Reports show that many women experience regular headaches or severe migraines right before their periods start. Perhaps not coincidentally, this is when estrogen drops to the lowest level during the entire menstruation cycle.
Many other factors can affect your concentration. However, it is common for women in perimenopause and menopause to experience brain fog. At these stages, women are more likely to complain of memory problems and trouble concentrating on complex and involving tasks. Additionally, concentration and memory problems can be caused by other symptoms of low estrogen, such as depression, hot flashes, and sleep problems.
Exacerbation of Mental Disorders
Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy brain. Besides improving the brain’s ability to withstand stress, estrogen also has a positive effect on neurotransmitters and cognitive abilities. Scientific research shows that women with low estrogen levels are more vulnerable to psychotic disorders, such as the second peak of schizophrenia. Additionally, studies show HRT reduces the frequency of manic episodes in women with bipolar disorder.
Trouble Getting Pregnant
Women with low estrogen levels might experience some difficulties getting pregnant because their uterine lining is not thick enough. Additionally, as we have mentioned above, low estrogen can also prevent ovulation, making it more challenging to get pregnant because there is no egg for sperm to fertilize.
Estrogen is vital in the production of tears. Therefore, when levels drop, you are likely to have dry eyes.
Signs of Low Testosterone
Testosterone stimulates the sex drive and also regulates your erection. Men with low testosterone levels have a problem achieving and maintaining an erection firm enough for satisfactory sex. Many of them experience fewer if any spontaneous erections, especially those that occur while one is asleep or early in the morning.
Although balding comes naturally with age, low testosterone can speed up the process. Since testosterone regulates hair production and growth, lower-than-normal levels can lead to body and facial hair loss.
Reduced Muscle Mass
Testosterone plays a crucial role in muscle development. Therefore, low testosterone levels can reduce muscle mass in men. Fortunately, although low testosterone affects muscle mass, there is no evidence that it affects strength and function.
Smaller Testicle Size
Testosterone influences the growth and development of the penis and testicles. While other factors can contribute to a smaller-than-normal penis and testicle size, men with low testosterone levels are more likely to be affected. They are also more likely to notice that their scrotum feels and appears softer than usual.
Increased Body Fat
While low testosterone causes the muscle mass to reduce, on the one hand, it causes an increase in body fat on the other. When testosterone levels drop, men become more vulnerable to gynecomastia, a condition where the male breast tissue enlarges or swells because of hormonal imbalance.
Low Semen Volume
During ejaculation, semen transports sperms from the testicles to the tip of the penis. Semen makes up a huge part of the male ejaculate. When testosterone levels drop, the volume of semen can reduce drastically. In severe cases, the volume of semen reduces so much that it causes fertility problems.
Low Blood Count
Research shows that low testosterone levels increase the risk of developing anemia in men. According to other medical reports, the blood count of men suffering from anemia significantly increased when treated with hormone therapy compared to the blood count of anemic men with low testosterone who were only treated with placebo gel. Low blood count can cause:
- Concentration problems
- Abnormal rapid heart rate
- Sleeping problems
Low Sex Drive
It is normal for men to experience a drop in libido as they get older. However, when testosterone reduces in the body, men experience a more drastic dip in their sex drive.
Common Signs of Hormone Deficiency in Both Men and Women
A drop in testosterone and estrogen levels may be accompanied by a drop in energy levels. People who suffer from hormone deficiency often feel fatigued despite having enough sleep and rest. They always feel tired and might have a constant urge to lie down. They might also lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed, such as cycling, swimming or jogging.
Reduced Bone Mass
Testosterone and estrogen are crucial in the development of bone tissue and the maintenance of bone volume in men and women, respectively. Therefore, people with hormone deficiency are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that affects the bones, making them weak and brittle. It is more common in women, with statistics showing that about 50% of women aged 50 and above will likely experience a fractured bone because of osteoporosis. Caucasian and Asian women are more vulnerable to osteoporosis compared to women from other ethnic groups.
Mood Swings and Changes
Testosterone and estrogen play a crucial role in several mental functions. They help boost the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that enhances moods. A drop in testosterone or estrogen levels decreases the production of serotonin in the brain, leading to mood swings and mental disorders, such as depression. Mood swings and changes make you easily irritable and can affect your relationships with others
Hormone deficiency interferes with your sleeping pattern making it difficult for you to fall and remain asleep. It also makes you more vulnerable to other sleeping conditions, such as sleep apnea. When sleep apnea occurs, you repeatedly stop breathing while asleep. Sleep apnea is also known to cause a snoring problem. Besides lowering the quality of your sleep and affecting your overall wellbeing, sleep apnea can lead to further complications when left untreated.
Causes of Low Estrogen
Ovaries are the primary producers of estrogen. Therefore, any condition that affects them affects the production of estrogen. Causes of low estrogen in young women include:
- Anorexia and other eating disorders
- Excessive exercise
- A low-functioning pituitary gland
- Turner syndrome
- Chronic kidney disease
- Premature ovarian failure caused by toxins, genetic disorder or an autoimmune condition
Production of estrogen decreases gradually during perimenopause and stops when you reach menopause.
Causes of Low Testosterone
- Klinefelter syndrome
- Noonan syndrome
- Removal of testicles because of cancer
- Radiation or Chemotherapy
- Damage to testicles in an accident
- Pituitary gland disease
- Metabolic syndrome
- Certain medications, such as antidepressants and narcotic pain medications
Diagnosis of Testosterone and Estrogen Deficiency
It is easy to confuse the signs of hormonal deficiency with symptoms associated with other health conditions. Therefore, you should visit a doctor to avoid misdiagnosis. The doctor will ask you about your symptoms, then carry out a physical exam and review your medical history. They may order additional tests, such as a blood test or a bone density test. Further tests may be carried out depending on the results of the initial tests.
Administering Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is administered through
- Oral medication
A consultation with the doctor will help you decided the best option for you, depending on your unique experiences and lifestyle. HRT treatments can be adjusted in length and dosages to match the specific needs of every patient.
We Can Help
If you experience the symptoms we have mentioned above, you should schedule a consultation with a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further complications associated with hormonal deficiency. Suffering in silence can also prevent you from living a fulfilling and happy life. Fortunately, we can help you without interfering without your daily routine. To enjoy the life-changing benefits of hormone replacement therapy, contact World Wellness Health Institute in Bala Cynwyd, PA!