Bioidentical Hormones for Men: A Guide
Bioidentical Hormones for men are becoming more popular. Yet, the idea that hormonal issues can affect men as much as they affect women is still not widely known or accepted in the general public. In most circles, natural hormone replacement is something that is associated with women who are aging and not men. Yet as men age certain hormonal imbalances can occur, and when they do the symptoms can be just as disrupting, so we wanted to emphasize here that bioidentical hormones for men deserve attention.
Most of what we cover here are the types of hormonal imbalances more typically seen in women, such as the lowering of estrogen as women age. And it is likely that women will remain the primary group that looks into natural hormone treatments given that these issues are a little more prevalent in women, and women are more likely to recognize them and decide to pursue treatment. That said, there are bioidentical hormones for men that can prove to be extremely valuable in helping correct certain issues as men age, or reduce symptoms in some younger men who have a predisposition toward problems. Bottom line: we want to be sure that we cover bioidentical hormones for men carefully and diligently in this blog, and this post is a start.
Male hormonal needs
The most common reason why men need BHRT is something that is often called Andropause, or male menopause. As its name would suggest, Andropause is similar to menopause in women, where certain hormones naturally decline with age to a degree that creates symptoms in some men. While menopause involves estrogen, andropause involves testosterone. Not only does testosterone decrease, but often estrogen, called estradiol in the form that it is in, increases. Thus the symptoms of andropause, and the need for bioidentical hormones for men, can have to do with either testosterone decreases or estrodiol increases or both. We discuss the actual symptoms below, but as you may imagine it is hard for many men to admit to and talk about experiencing something akin to male menopause. A related factor that has made the subject of male hormonal needs something that nis not brought up is the fact that the progression of andropause symptoms can be extremely slow, and this opens the door to symptoms being blamed on normal aging, or being thought of as transient.
Bioidentical Hormones for men: Assessment
It may be a little harder to assess whether men need hormone replacement therapy since the changes that they experience may appear more gradually. In addition, since so few men are actually aware of hormone change possibilities as they age – most of the focus historically has been on women’s hormones. But an occurance called andropause, also know as male menopause, is quite real and can produce problematic symptoms. Every man is different when it comes to the symptoms they may feel as they age if hormone levels become too low and/or imbalances occur, but a combination f the following often occurs:
- Muscle loss despite little change in exercise or activity
- Lower libido
- Weight gain (often normal as we age but in this case it is beyond what naturally occurs when hormones are in balance)
- Fatigue and low energy
- Sleep problems that may include trouble falling asleep, restless sleep, or even night sweats
- Irritability and even depression
This is not a complete listing since hormone imbalances can actually cause a wide range of problems in men, and again their onset can be so slow that people may not think to wonder about a medical problem and may instead just blame them on natural aging. Then again, if you experience any of these issues you should not automatically assume they are from hormonal issues and instead have your regular doctor check you out first.
Bioidentical Hormones for men: The choices
Of course the best known hormonal issue for men is low testosterone, and this is likely the number one reason why bioidentical hormones for men are getting increased press and notice lately. Low T usually strikes men at middle age, but for some it can come earlier and there can also be a delay. Like many hormonal issues, low T can be missed because it comes on so gradually and many men may just think that the symptoms can just be explained by the natural aging process. As BHRT gets more attention, however, it may be that men will be more likely to realize that in some cases these problems can be corrected. Bioidentical hormones for men are a great way to approach a guy who does not want to take prescription meds but would rather approach things more naturally.
But bioidentical hormones for men do not start and stop with testosterone. Men have a balance of hormones that can change in many ways as they age, or even earlier due to other factors. Thus there may be more complicated mixes of BHRT that men can benefit from even if testosterone is one of the ingredients. You need to make sure you go to a BHRT practitioner who does not merely specialize in treating low T, but rather has the ability to treat with a wide range of bioidentical hormones for men.
Bioidentical Hormones for men: The Treatment
Of course there are many doctors who are doing BHRT, but there are a few who truly specialize in bioidentical hormones for men. For simple cases of low T it may not be necessary to see one of these specialists, but for more complex issues it is good to look into that option. In addition, you can consider a practitioner who mostly sees women if they are well-trained and experienced with men as well – you may not find too many practitioners who only see men.
The treatment itself will likely be quite easy, similar to treatments for women Bioidentical Hormones for men involves the use of creams or supplements made from natural ingredients that are designed to create a hormone balance and the correct levels of hormones. Depending on exactly which hormone is being targeted there will likely be an optimal method of administration. Your provider may start with a relatively low dose and work upwards, especially if this is your first treatment course. The ways you may be given the natural ingredients include:
- Transdermal application of bioidentical hormones for men, meaning that you get a cream of gel that transfers through the skin
- Sublingual bioidentical testosterone lozenges that get through the glands in the mouth and are also ingested through dissolving in the mouth
- Pellet therapy, where slow release pellets are placed under the skin are a common way to get BHRT
- Supplements taken the more traditional way, by mouth, also work well
- Injections remain a common way to get testosterone in particular
- BHRT skin patches give a sustained dose of bioidentical hormones for men
We welcome comments and feedback from any man out there who has had BHRT, whether for low T or anything else – did you find it helpful, what were the side effects, and what was tried. There is no better way to get information about BHRT than from others who have entered treatment with similar symptoms and issues. We will also update this post or add a new one when new treatments come out or new there are new ideas regarding these approaches, or when there are side effects or other aspects of the treatment you should know about. Thanks for your interest in Bioidentical Hormones for men!