Hormones are important in the development of the human body, and they contribute to the daily life of everyone. Therefore, low hormones can cause a person to experience unpleasant feelings and is a medical condition that must be treated immediately. There are two major types of hormones responsible for most biological development in both sexes; testosterone (for males) and estrogen (for females).
The two types of hormones are present in both males and females but testosterone is more dominant in males, while females have more estrogen. Due to their functions in the human body, an imbalance in the amount of these hormones in a person’s body will affect the person’s daily life. The solution is to seek hormone therapy after consulting your doctor. These are some of the signs that you might need hormone therapy.
Signs that You Need Hormone Therapy
These signs are explained as they pertain to either sexes. Some symptoms exhibit themselves similarly in both males and females while others appear the same, no matter the sex of the person.
Hormones such as testosterone and estrogen are responsible for growth, especially in the reproductive system. These hormones start working at puberty and help maintain steady growth throughout adulthood. However, once a person starts to age, their functionalities reduce, and people notice changes in their bodies. For women, the most obvious change is menopause.
During menopause, women stop menstruating and experience gradual changes that signify aging. These symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, irregular periods, memory problems, etc.
The symptoms are slightly different for men, but they also experience changes in their bodies as they age. As a result, there is a higher chance of having low testosterone and its attendant symptoms such as fatigue, mood swings, low sex drive, among others.
Surgical Removal of Ovaries/Testes
When a woman has her ovaries or a man has his testes removed as a treatment for an illness, such a person often experiences low hormone development. For women, the ovaries are important for the secretion of estrogen, and the absence may cause some health issues such as stroke, dementia, heart disease, weak bones, and some types of cancer. To prevent these problems, patients are often advised to get hormone therapy.
For men, testosterone aids the development and functionality of the testes. Consequently, the testes secrete testosterone. Thus, when the testes are removed, it will reduce the level of testosterone in the body below healthy limits. The solution is hormone therapy to prevent developing complications in the future.
Ovarian Insufficiency/Low Semen Secretion
This condition is also called primary ovarian insufficiency, and it essentially means that the ovary is not functioning properly. This condition is alarming when it happens to people under the age of 45, and they do not have as much estrogen as they need for their body to work well. An untrained person may not notice ovarian insufficiency, but doctors often discover it during a routine checkup, especially for infertility.
For males, the condition is specifically low semen secretion. When this happens, a person fails to produce enough semen to push the sperm during ejaculation. An observant person can notice it as the semen is responsible for the sperm’s mobility. Doctors can provide a definite diagnosis after performing a series of tests, mostly in the morning when the testosterone level is highest.
A definite diagnosis of primary ovarian insufficiency or low semen secretion is a major sign that you should get hormone therapy. Then, you can discuss the best plan suitable to your body’s requirements with your doctor.
Other Hormone Conditions
Apart from the usual low testosterone or low estrogen/progestin level situation, there are other times when hormone therapy is used as a treatment. These conditions are always hormone-related and may result from illnesses such as breast cancer, endometrial hyperplasia (an overgrowth of the lining in the uterus), or infertility.
Several reasons can cause infertility. Depending on the issue, it can be treated in different ways. Some common options are IVF, using donor eggs, and hormone therapy. It’s essential to seek professionals to get an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment. If hormone therapy is recommended, the treatment will depend on who is infertile. Males usually get testosterone replacement therapy or supplements, while females get estrogen or progestin therapy.
The best thing you can do is consult an anti-aging clinic near you to help you determine what your levels are and whether you need therapy.
Unnatural Physical Changes
When hormones such as testosterone or estrogen are low in the body, the body reacts. This is because these hormones are important for the development of the human body, and when they do not work as they should, the body does not develop as it should. This is especially so during puberty as the hormones work at their peaks then.
There is a noticeable lack of growth in the reproductive system for males, such as small testes and scrotum, erectile dysfunction, growth of breast tissue (gynecomastia), decreased body hair growth, loss of muscle mass, loss of bone mass, and many others.
Females may experience similar symptoms such as irregular periods/spotting, vaginal dryness, excessive hair on the face (hirsutism), hot flashes, night sweats, etc.
For both sexes, common symptoms include sleeping problems, fatigue, acne, weight gain, sudden weight loss, weak muscles, unstable heart rate, low sex drive, hair loss, and many others.
Causes of Hormone Imbalance
As explained above, the signs of hormone imbalance are most obvious to the person experiencing it. Contrarily, the causes may not be as obvious. Some of them exist solely due to the reaction against the person’s makeup or in conjunction with other factors such as aging. Some of the causes of hormone imbalance are:
Some medications that people take casually may cause hormone imbalance. These include steroids, opiates, and some others. However, taking these drugs for a long time without a prescription or a physician’s guidance can cause hormone imbalance. When diagnosing hormone imbalance such as low testosterone, doctors will ask about medications the patient has been taking for a long time and check their medical history for other possible causes.
One of those other possible causes is cancer treatments. People who undergo intensive treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation sometimes experience hormone imbalance. When fighting cancerous cells, these treatment options often affect other body functions, such as the production of hormones.
After chemotherapy or radiation, you can discuss the best way to treat the hormone imbalance without triggering cancer back with your doctor.
People who cannot avoid stress in their daily lives often find themselves with several symptoms of low hormones, such as fatigue, depression, mood swings, and weakness. While these symptoms may be present for some other ailments, they can cause hormone imbalance. Therefore, a lifestyle change may improve the situation, or the person may examine treatment options such as hormone therapy.
Illnesses such as diabetics, cancer, HIV/AIDS can also cause hormone imbalance. Sometimes, it comes due to the havoc these illnesses are wrecking in the body. Other times, it is a consequence of the treatments received to cure the primary illness. If a person experiences hormone imbalance due to an illness, the doctors will have to consider the best ways to treat both without compromising the patient’s health.
As antithetical as it seems, hormone therapy can cause hormone imbalance. While the treatment option exists to treat hormone therapy, it may also cause the hormone level in an individual to fluctuate. This is the reason hormone therapy comes with different options. There is no one-size-fits-all, so doctors diagnose each patient individually to determine the best type of hormone therapy for them. Using the wrong one may backfire as the hormone level in the person continues to fluctuate.
Types of Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy is the go-to treatment for hormonal imbalance. There are different hormone therapy types, so you should discuss with your doctor the best course option to go for. In addition, since the hormones required for growth in men and women are different, different treatment plans are required.
Hormone treatment for women usually comes in the form of estrogen or progestin. Each can be taken individually in what is known as cyclic therapy or together as a combined therapy. Separately, estrogen comes in:
- Nasal spray
- Vaginal creams
- Vaginal ring
Progestin, on the other hand, comes in:
- Skin patches
- Vaginal suppositories
- Vaginal creams
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
Hormone treatment for men is usually targeted towards low testosterone. Therefore, the treatment is in a specialized form called testosterone therapy. Testosterone therapy can be administered in various forms such as:
- Skin patches
- Intravascular injections
- Pellet implants
There are various options for people who want to get hormone therapy, but before you go for it, you should speak with your doctor if you have any of the following:
- A history of blood clots
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
Hormone therapy has become more popular over the years due to media exposure. However, hormone imbalance is not as common as is sometimes believed. The American Urological Association (AUA) states that only about 2 out of 100 men have low testosterone. The situation is more prevalent among older people since the body produces fewer hormones. Aging people may not need hormone therapy to alleviate some worries, but young people who have low hormones should get it done to live healthier lives.