Many people are familiar with hormone replacement therapy, or HRT because it is a common treatment used to manage menopause symptoms in women. But HRT is not just for women. Men with hormonal imbalances can also benefit from hormone replacement.
Male Hormonal Imbalance
Men with hormonal imbalances are candidates for HRT. The most common type of hormone imbalance in men is low testosterone (low-T). The condition is also known as testosterone deficiency syndrome (TD) or testosterone insufficiency.
As men age, their levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone, naturally decline. However, when low testosterone is unrelated to age, it is due to hypogonadism, in which the testicles do not produce enough testosterone. Men with low hypogonadism may experience symptoms such as:
- Low sex-drive
- Lack of energy
- Depression and irritability
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of lean muscle mass
- Mental fog
Hormone testing performed by an experienced hormone therapy consultant is the only way to confirm that testosterone insufficiency is causing your symptoms. If testing confirms the diagnosis, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you. Testosterone replacement therapy is the most effective treatment for hormonal imbalances like low-T.
Male Hormone Therapy Options
Injections were once the standard in hormone replacement, but medical science has advanced and more reliable methods are now available. The most natural and consistent type of male hormone therapy is bio-identical hormone replacement therapy given using a pellet that is given subcutaneously (inserted under the skin). Testosterone pellets have more longevity and provide a more sustained level of hormones than injections.
Benefits of Male HRT
While it is not a cure, the goal of HRT is to counteract symptoms and improve the quality of life. Individuals who are prescribed male hormone replacement therapy may experience the following benefits:
- More Energy: Fatigue is a standard symptom of low testosterone. Men who get hormone replacement therapy often report that their energy levels increase during treatment. Therapy may also increase the drive to participate in the physical activities the patient stopped due to hormone-related fatigue.
- Better Moods: Men with low testosterone often report feelings of depression, anxiety, and irritability. These feelings are more common among men with hypogonadism rather than an age-related decrease in testosterone. Men with hypogonadism who receive HRT report that they have improved mood and a decrease in anxiety and irritability.
- Stronger Bones: Testosterone has a big part in keeping your bones strong and healthy. Bone density decreases when testosterone levels drop. Therefore, osteoporosis becomes more prevalent among men as they age and testosterone levels naturally decrease. However, if you have low T for another reason, hormone replacement therapy can help rebuild bone mineral density. Maintaining bone strength can help contribute to an active lifestyle, which in turn contributes to good overall health.
- More Muscle: Testosterone helps with the development of muscles, so men with low T often have difficulty building muscle and losing fat. Testosterone replacement therapy can help your body rebuild lean muscles that burn fat and increase energy levels. To build strength along with muscle mass, doctors recommend pairing hormone therapy with strength training and other exercises.
- Mental Clarity: Men who have hormonal imbalances often report that they experience a sort of brain fog. Individuals with low testosterone have difficulty with spatial reasoning, memory, mathematical reasoning, and focus. HRT can help restore those abilities and make you feel more like your old self.
- Improved Libido: A common symptom of male hormone imbalance is a decrease in libido, especially in cases of hypogonadism. In these cases, HRT may improve sexual desire and treat erectile dysfunction. However, there are other conditions that cause erectile dysfunction. So, before you seek hormone replacement therapy, your doctor should confirm low T is the cause.
Make an appointment
Dr. Karen Clark of Chapel Hill Gynecology is an expert in hormone replacement therapy for managing hormonal imbalances in both men and women. Using bio-identical hormone replacement therapy in pellet form, men can get up to 6 months of symptom relief. To get more information or to schedule an appointment, call (919) 960-2720.