When it comes to hormones, most people think about women. But the truth is that hormones affect men just as much! In fact, men go through an age-related hormonal shift called andropause, or “the male menopause.”1
This decline is slow and gradual, unlike the female menopause. Hormonal changes can also happen from underlying illnesses, stress, or unhealthy lifestyle habits. But when hormones aren’t balanced, men will notice a couple symptoms. Here are seven of the common signs:
1. Weight Gain
Testosterone, the male sex hormone, is responsible for muscle mass and the masculine look. But when the testosterone levels are low, body fat and weight increase.2
High stress levels can also elevate cortisol, a stress hormone that accumulates fat cells and packs on the pounds.3
2. Poor Libido
A low sex drive might be caused by imbalanced testosterone, the follicle-stimulating hormone, and the luteinizing hormone. Normally, these work together to help the reproductive system thrive.
Sperm production and mobility may also decrease, leading to infertility.4 This can even happen when cortisol levels increase due to chronic stress or poor health.5
3. Erectile Dysfunction
Along with low testosterone, an abnormal level of thyroid hormones can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED). Testosterone controls how well the body performs important functions.
High prolactin, the hormone that makes breast milk, is another cause. Both men and women make prolactin in the pituitary gland, but men obviously don’t make enough to produce milk. Problems with the pituitary gland can boost prolactin production, causing ED.6
Do you feel tired even after a full night’s rest? If so, your testosterone levels might be low, causing grogginess and insomnia.[ ref]Men’s health, mayoclinic.org[/ref]
Prolonged stress can also increase cortisol, which regulates your sleep cycle. High levels can lead to tiredness and weakness, but low levels may also have a similar effect.7
Low testosterone equals a low mood. An under-active thyroid gland, or hypothyroidism, might also be the culprit. This condition is marked by a lack of the thyroid hormone, leading to mood swings, sadness, or a lack of motivation.
However, depression can also stem from dealing with the other symptoms listed here.
6. Hair Loss
Any testosterone that is produced may convert into other molecules. In the hair, an enzyme turns it into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This super potent and is the main cause of age-related balding. Hair growth is also blunted, while existing hair becomes thin and weak.8
7. Breast Enlargement
Normally, a man’s body produces more testosterone than estrogen, the female sex hormone. This is why men have flatter chests and more masculine features. But when hormonal imbalance causes estrogen to increase (and testosterone to decrease), breast enlargement occurs.9
When a man has a hormonal imbalance, a combination of any of these symptoms can occur. The imbalance can be caused by the normal aging process or some underlying conditions. If any of these sound familiar, talk to your doctor for treatment options.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Matsumoto, Alvin M. “Andropause: Clinical Implications of the Decline in Serum Testosterone Levels With Aging in Men.” The Journals of Gerontology 57.2 (2002): M76-M99.|
|2.||↑||Traish, Abdulaged M. “Testosterone and weight loss: the evidence.” Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity 21.5 (2014): 313-322.|
|3.||↑||Ottosson, M., Peter Lönnroth, Per Björntorp, and Staffan Edén. “Effects of Cortisol and Grwoth Hormone on Lipolysis in Human Adipose Tissue.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 85.2 (1999): 799-803.|
|4.||↑||Age and Fertility: A Guide for Patients, asrm.org|
|5.||↑||Male Infertility, hormone.org|
|6.||↑||Erectile Dysfunction, hormone.org|
|7.||↑||Stress Management, mayoclinic.org|
|8.||↑||Sanke, Sarita, Ram Chander, Taru Garg, and Anju Jain. “Free Androgen Index (FAI): Marker of Premature Androgenetic Alopecia in Men.” Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology 8.2 (2016): 97-99.|
|9.||↑||Breast enlargement in males, medlineplus.gov|