Hormones and Your Health: Testosterone-Men Need Hormones, Too

Hormones and Your Health is new column about health and youthful vitality by Christine Farrell, a renowned specialist in men and women’s hormones. 

by Christine Farrell, MSN, FNP-C

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Christine Farrell, MSN, FNP-C

There are many commercials these days about “low T” and a lot of buzz about testosterone as the great sex enhancer for men.  It is true that testosterone is vital in keeping that part of a man’s life healthy and happy, but there is far more to the story.

Men actually have testosterone, estradiol and progesterone just like women do, but obviously in different amounts with very different outcomes. As a man enters his late 40s and early 50s, there is an inevitable decline in his most dominant hormone–testosterone. This causes the other hormones to take a larger role and men are often said to “mellow.” This is because as testosterone drops, a man’s estradiol can become more dominant causing fatigue, joint and muscle pain, depression, weight gain and low libido.  This is especially true if a man is overweight as fat produces an increased amount of estradiol. Stress can actually cause the testosterone levels to drop earlier than they would normally, and men may find they are having “low T” symptoms even in their early 40’s.

The truth is that most men are actually aware that there are subtle changes to their energy, focus, motivation, strength and even libido, but they attribute it to normal aging. While this is partially accurate, it doesn’t have to be the end of youth and well-being. Studies are showing that keeping a man’s testosterone levels in a youthful range will actually help to prevent several disease states, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, heart disease and arthritis/osteoporosis. So, while libido and muscle building is important, nothing is as important as our overall health.

Relationships may also suffer when a man is suffering from lower testosterone levels.  Irritability is a common effect of low testosterone as a man is often not sleeping well, and therefore tired and lacking focus. Low libido and erectile dysfunction hampers intimacy as well as a man’s feelings of self-esteem.

The current generation is caring for aging parents, paying for college and trying to fund a retirement account all at the same time. Many men are working longer hours, traveling more, managing family and this takes a physical toll (as well as an emotional one). While Testosterone can’t cure our crazy lives, it can at least give back some of the quality and excitement that many are missing and more importantly, keep men healthy and happier.

Farrell is regular columnist for Conejo Valley Happening. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in our “comments” section.

Christine Farrell MSN, FNP-C is a specialist in the area of hormonal imbalances in men and women and has been in practice in the area for over 17 years.  She is an Associate Clinical Professor at University of California, Los Angeles and is also an alumnus of the University.  Farrell belongs to the North American Menopause Society, The International Menopause Society, and the International Hormone Society. Her practice, Bio-Identical Wellness in Westlake Village, incorporates the use of bio-identical hormones, nutrition, supplements and lifestyle changes to promote wellness of both the physical and emotional aspects of health.

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