Do hormones rule men? Of course. And although we are reluctant to admit it, we are all dependent on them, regardless of gender. Some predominate in one sex, others are universal for both. When there is a hormonal balance, we deal with homeostasis; however, for various reasons this balance is unstable, and men’s hormonal disorders cause a series of more or less visible changes.
Male hormones – what is worth knowing about them?
Thinking about male hormones, we naturally associate testosterone as the one that shapes masculinity, takes part in muscle building, is responsible for sex drive, courage, and a tendency to compete. And it is indeed the most important male hormone, but no less important are: thyroxine, melatonin, ghrelin, cortisol, insulin, estrogen, lutein, prolactin or progesterone and many others.
Hormonal disorders give a variety of symptoms and affect the functioning of the whole body. Due to a shortage or excess of any substance, it may turn out that the cascading effects affect many organs, disrupt the endocrine system, and cause serious diseases. Therefore, all hormonal irregularities require treatment.
Hormonal disorders in men – symptoms
Because each hormone is responsible for different processes, the symptoms may be more or less characteristic. Here are some examples of hormones that have a significant impact on the functioning of the body:
Testosterone – A male sex hormone responsible for sex drive, fertility, a tendency to compete, etc. Its level affects many aspects of the body’s functioning, including the development of muscles, genitals, and reproductive systems. Excess testosterone caused, for example, by adrenal tumors or congenital adrenal hyperplasia not only causes aggressive behavior but also weakens the body’s immunity – this is because the immune cells die under the influence of testosterone.
Too low level is manifested by a decrease in libido and problems with potency, which is a factor in the development of metabolic disorders, especially diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Deficiency can be caused by feminizing testicular syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, hypopituitarism, testicular failure, or testicular resection.
If a man experiences a lack of energy, a decrease in sex drive, erection problems, and observes an alarming weight gain, he should do tests for hormonal disorders including an analysis of testosterone levels.
Thyroxine – is one of the hormones produced by the thyroid gland (others are: triiodothyronine and calcitonin). It affects metabolic processes, especially glucose absorption and fat breakdown. Thyroxine deficiency leads to hypothyroidism, reduced psychomotor activity, lowers mood, causes daytime sleepiness, and problems with concentration.
An excess of this hormone occurs in hyperthyroidism, which is manifested by hyperactivity, nervousness, increased muscle fatigue, weight loss, and tachyarrhythmia.
Melatonin – is responsible for healthy, restful sleep and for regulating the daily cycle. It is made by the pineal gland under the influence of darkness. Men hormonal disorders involving melatonin deficiency cause dysregulation of sleep and wakefulness. Melatonin deficiency causes sleep disturbance, insomnia, problems with concentration, headaches, irritability, and malaise, as well as typically male ailments are caused by sleep deficiency: decreased libido, erection problems, lack of interest in sex. Excess melatonin is rare, especially after an overdose of synthetic melatonin, and can lead to excessive drowsiness and memory retention problems.
Cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline – these hormones are released under the influence of emotions. They allow you to survive unpleasant situations in the short run. They occur in both sexes, but in men, in combination with testosterone, their effect is strongly visible. They increase blood glucose levels, mediate the transmission of impulses from the sympathetic nervous system to tissues, accelerate heart rate, improve muscle function, and reaction speed.
The effects of stress hormones are only positive for a short period. Their excess during prolonged stress causes the body to constantly be in the mode of “fight and escape”, neurosis, cardiovascular diseases, heart rate disorders, and metabolic disorders develop.
Andropause and hypogonadism – diseases caused by a deficiency of male hormones
With age, the level of male hormones decreases, and certain hormonal disorders typical of old age develop. Andropause is sometimes compared to female menopause. The basic male hormone is testosterone produced by the testicles, and its secretion is stimulated by pituitary gland hormones. With age, testosterone levels decrease by about 1% per year from 40-60. age. The activity of the pituitary gland also decreases and the level of androgen binding proteins increases, which limits their activity.
Hypogonadism, in turn, is a hormonal disorder in men that results from hormone deficiency due to diseases, especially the testicles, pituitary gland or other brain structures, or genetic disorders. To detect this hormonal disorder, tests for testosterone levels, pituitary hormone levels (LH and FSH), and prolactin determination are required.
Symptoms of hormonal disorders – andropause and hypogonadism are: sexual dysfunction, male infertility, increase in body fat, decrease in muscle and bone mass, fatigue, sleep disturbance, and depressive symptoms.
Hormonal disorders in men – treatment
Treatment depends on the specific disorder and symptoms. In the case of hypogonadism, the management consists primarily of administering testosterone or its derivatives in the form of injections, oral or transdermal preparations. Regardless of the type of disorder, it is important to ensure a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and regular physical activity. No hormonal changes should not be underestimated or treated on your own without consulting your doctor.