After turning 20, a man’s growth hormone count falls by 14% every ten years; by 40, men only have 50% of the growth hormones of their 20-year old self and by 80, they only have 5%.
Common hormonal imbalances
Most men think of low testosterone when they hear the phrase “hormonal imbalance” but that is not the only type of hormonal problem. There are four common hormonal imbalances in men:
The thyroid gland is overactive, producing excessive levels of thyroid hormones and causing increased metabolism.
Prolonged periods of elevated stress cause the adrenal gland to not be able to produce enough cortisol (the stress hormone).
An underactive thyroid gland results in inadequate thyroid hormone production.
Testosterone levels decline as a man ages. It is also known as “male menopause.”
Symptoms of male hormone imbalance
Signs and symptoms of a male hormone imbalance include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Changes in bowel movements, such as an increase in bowel activity or constipation.
- Erectile dysfunction, a condition in which there is difficulty forming or maintaining an erection, or producing an erection hard enough for successful intercourse. This is perhaps one of the signs men notice first and because erectile dysfunction can be a symptom of more severe medical conditions, repeated problems with ED warrant a trip to the doctor.
- Gynecomastia, the development of breasts in men, which is caused by either a decrease in testosterone or an increase in estrogen, or possibly both.
- Hair loss
- Heart palpitations
- Increase in body fat
- Infertility is a common problem, as there are several hormones that are responsible for sperm production.
- Insomnia, a difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep.
- Low libido, which often occurs alongside erectile dysfunction and is caused by low levels of testosterone and high levels of prolactin (the hormone responsible for the production of breast milk)
- Memory loss
- Mood swings and irritability are common and often manifest along with depression and anxiety. Increased anger may also occur.
- Muscle loss or muscle weakness
- Night sweats and hot flashes—they are not just for ladies, gentlemen.
- Sleep apnea, a condition that causes an individual to stop breathing in their sleep.
If you find that you are experiencing several of these symptoms, seeking a doctor’s advice is always a good first step, as there are a number of treatment options.
Some simple lifestyle changes may help as well, such as following a healthier diet, partaking in daily exercise, stopping smoking, and lowering alcohol consumption.
Bodylogicmd.com. Male Hormone Imbalance. Available from: https://www.bodylogicmd.com/for-men/hormone-imbalance-in-men.
Ogueijiofo, Ngozi (2013) What Are the Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Men? Available from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/220790-what-are-the-symptoms-of-hormonal-imbalance-in-men/.