Male Hormone Imbalance – How do you know if you’re out of balance!

male hormone imbalance

Male hormone imbalance is a growing problem, I am testing more and more men with less than optimal testosterone results, often combined with high estrogen.

This is not just affecting older men, but men in the 20's, 30's and 40's are experiencing low testosterone.

From experiencing unusual weight gain to facing mood changes and energy dips, the symptoms of hormone imbalance in men are varied and often misunderstood. This article delves into the world of male hormones, offering a clear understanding of signs, causes, and, crucially, actionable solutions.

We explore simple yet effective lifestyle, dietary, and supplemental strategies to optimize hormonal health. Moreover, we emphasize the importance of hormone testing as a fundamental step in addressing these imbalances, this should be the first step.

Key Take-Aways

  • Rising Prevalence of Hormone Imbalance in Men: An increasing number of men are being diagnosed with hormone imbalances, characterized by low testosterone levels and elevated estrogen, which can significantly affect their health and quality of life.
  • Symptoms Are Varied and Often Overlapping: Men with hormone imbalances may experience a range of symptoms such as weight gain (especially around the abdomen), low libido, mood changes, and fatigue. These symptoms can result from either low testosterone or high estrogen levels, making accurate diagnosis crucial.
  • Lifestyle and Diet Are Key Factors: Factors such as stress, diet high in refined carbohydrates, and environmental elements like EMFs and xenoestrogens play significant roles in disrupting hormone balance, suggesting that lifestyle adjustments can be effective in managing these imbalances.
  • Importance of Comprehensive Hormone Testing: Effective management of hormone imbalances begins with accurate testing, such as the DUTCH hormone test, which provides detailed insights into hormone levels and metabolism, facilitating personalized treatment plans.

Signs and Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Low testosterone has many similar symptoms to excess estrogen, with more muscle weakness and fatigue being the main difference, whenever you think of male hormone imbalance you usually think low testosterone is the cause.

  • Similar to excess estrogen, low testosterone can cause low libido and erectile dysfunction.
  • Muscle weakness, loss of muscle mass and poor recovery from exercise.
  • Fatigue and lack of energy, this can be caused by many things and low testosterone is one of them.
  • Mood changes and depression.
  • It can lead to weak bones and osteoporosis as you age, even men should have a bone density test once they are 50-55 years of age to assess bone health.

Signs and Symptoms of Excess Estrogen

You do not need to have all of these symptoms if you have excess estrogen, these are the most common symptoms that men experience with male hormone imbalance.

  • Low testosterone and excess estrogen can cause similar symptoms in men
  • Excess estrogen can cause excess weight, especially around the breasts, hips and abdomen and is the most common male hormone imbalance in overweight men.
  • Excess estrogen can lead to low libido, infertility and erectile dysfunction
  • Increased risk of stroke and heart attack because of an increased risk of clotting
  • Increased risk of prostate cancer

What Causes Low Testosterone and Excess Estrogen

There are many different causes of male hormone imbalance and here is a list of the most common ones.

  • Stress can cause many different health problems and hormone problems are no different, adrenal fatigue will up-regulate an enzyme called aromatase leading to low testosterone and high estrogen.
  • Diets high in refined carbohydrates will lead to insulin resistance and problems with the sex hormones.
  • Excess weight leads to excess estrogen, many men with excess abdominal weight will be high in estrogen.
  • Personal care products can be high in chemicals which contain xenoestrogens.
  • Other chemicals in the environment and plastic containers also contain xenoestrogens leading to higher estrogen levels and lower testosterone levels.
  • Excessive amounts of cardio/ endurance exercise will lead to a drop in testosterone and higher estrogen, strength and high intensity interval training is a better option.
  • Excess alcohol will lead to lower testosterone.
  • EMF's in the environment, this does not mean you have to give up your smart phone but there are steps that you can take to mitigate the risks, this article on testosterone and EMF's gives a lot more details or check out the Faraday Boxer Shorts which can protect your balls from EMF exposure.

How To Test Your Hormones

Noteworthy:  Urine testing is also an easy option to do at home, it is more expensive but goes into more detail about the hormones and the hormone metabolites and this is my preferred option for testing hormones.

This extra information tells us about the precursors to the hormones which can help to identify the cause of the hormone imbalance.

This test is called the DUTCH hormone test and it stands for Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones.

It gives us your levels of free testosterone, and also the metabolites of testosterone which show if your metabolizing testosterone down the 5b-DHT pathway or the more potent 5a-DHT pathway.

It also tells us how the estrogen is being metabolized, there are 3 different pathways estrogen can be metabolized down and they are the 2, 4 or 16 hydroxyestrone pathways ..... the 2 hydroxyestrone pathway is the healthy pathway while the 4 and 16 pathways are associated with cancer and other health problems.

Noteworthy:  The saliva and urine tests are both available throughout the world and a test kit can be posted to your home, the kit is then sent back to the lab for analysis.

Hormonal Imbalances In Men - What Else To Test

Thyroid hormones - a thyroid hormonal imbalance usually affects women more than men but hypothyroid, or hyperthyroid can be an issue in men too, especially if you are stressed. You need to check TSH, Free T4, Free  T3, reverst T3 and the thyroid antibodies to rule out thyroid disease.

Insulin - high insulin is a sign of insulin resistance and can lead to diabetes, you need to check glucose and insulin levels, ideally insulin will be in the 2-6 range. Metabolic syndrome which involves insulin resistance, weight gain, high triglycerides and high blood pressure will affect testosterone levels.

Blood Pressure - high blood pressure can cause endothelial damage and can be a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction, and of course heart disease and kidney disease.

Sleep apnea - this can be a major cause of low testosterone, even if you don't have sleep apnea and you simply have a lack of sleep this can be a factor.

Top 10 Ways To Improve Testosterone Levels Naturally

Before trying testosterone replacement therapy it is important to focus on diet and lifestyle factors that can improve testosterone levels.

  1. Balanced Diet Rich in Zinc and Vitamin D: Foods high in zinc, like oysters, red meat, and poultry, are crucial for testosterone production. Vitamin D, obtained from sunlight exposure and foods like fatty fish and egg yolks, also plays a vital role.

  2. Healthy Fats Intake: Incorporating healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, olive oil, and fatty fish can support hormone production, including testosterone.

  3. Regular Exercise, Especially Strength Training: Engaging in regular physical activity, particularly strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), can naturally boost testosterone levels. Be careful of excess endurance training, people who over exercise and don't get enough calories often have hormonal imbalances.

  4. Adequate Sleep: Ensuring 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night is essential for maintaining hormonal balance, including testosterone levels.

  5. Stress Reduction: Chronic stress raises cortisol levels, which can inversely affect testosterone. Practices like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can help manage stress.

  6. Maintaining a Healthy Weight: Excess fat, especially around the abdomen, can convert testosterone into estrogen. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for hormonal balance.

  7. Reducing Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol can negatively impact liver function and hormone regulation, including testosterone production.

  8. Limiting Processed Foods and Refined Carbohydrates: These can lead to insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances. Opting for whole foods with low glycemic index is beneficial, or put simply "just eat real food".

  9. Consumption of Cruciferous Vegetables: Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts contain compounds that can help regulate estrogen and potentially boost testosterone. Eating a broad range of fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy lifestyle and will improve all aspects of health.

  10. Herbal Supplements: Certain herbs like ashwagandha, fenugreek, and ginger have been linked to improved testosterone levels, you can't just take supplements, they can help but the diet and lifestyle factors are the key.

    These strategies not only contribute to improving testosterone levels but also promote overall health and well-being.

Supplements

These are some of the supplements that I recommend and that I have seen client get good results with, the supplements that you need will depend on whether you have high estrogen levels or low testosterone. There are also different causes of the hormones going out of balance which is why I recommend the DUTCH hormone test to help identify exactly what is going wrong.

Supplements to increase testosterone

Male Hormone Imbalance – How do you know if you’re out of balance! 1

Test Worx this helps to boost testosterone and lower SHBG which leads to a boost in free testosterone

Vaso Worx

Nitric Oxide booster the nitric oxide boost can help with muscle growth, and for guys with performance problems can help to increase blood flow to improve erections.

Male Hormone Imbalance – How do you know if you’re out of balance! 2

DHT Block to improve the metabolism of testosterone, this can help prevent acne, hair loss, prostate cancer and mood swings

Supplements to increase testosterone

Male Hormone Imbalance – How do you know if you’re out of balance! 3

Estroblock Triple Strength using DIM and Indole-3-carbinol to help estrogen metabolism in the liver

Male Hormone Imbalance – How do you know if you’re out of balance! 4

Thorne Research Calcium d glucarate to help decrease beta-glucuronidase and improve estrogen metabolism through the intestines

Male Hormone Imbalance – How do you know if you’re out of balance! 5

Thorne Research Double Strength Zinc Zinc is important for so many functions in the body and can help to inhibit the aromatase enzyme as well as improve testosterone production.

What About Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)

When lifestyle and dietary changes aren't enough to correct low testosterone levels in men, especially as they age, Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) can be considered. Below is an overview of the different types of TRT, along with their benefits and potential risks:

Types of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT):

  1. Gels and Creams: Applied daily to the skin, these are absorbed into the body to increase testosterone levels. They must be used with care to avoid transferring testosterone to others through skin contact. Not everyone absorbs them very well

  2. Injections: Testosterone can be injected directly into the muscles or subcutaneously, typically every 1-4 weeks but ideally this would be a lower dose twice a week. This method allows for control over dosage and quick adjustments, preventing fluctuations in hormone levels 

  3. Patches: Worn on the skin, these patches release testosterone into the body over time and need to be applied daily.

  4. Pellets: Implanted under the skin, these slowly release testosterone over 3-6 months. This method provides a more consistent delivery of testosterone but requires minor surgery for implantation. Also not ideal to maintain constant testosterone levels

  5. Oral Therapy: Available in tablet form, this method is less commonly used due to potential liver toxicity and is not advised

Benefits of TRT:

  1. Improved Energy Levels: TRT can help alleviate the fatigue associated with low testosterone.

  2. Enhanced Mood and Cognition: Many men report improved mood, reduced depression, and clearer thinking on TRT.

  3. Increased Muscle Mass and Strength: Testosterone plays a key role in muscle development.

  4. Improved Libido and Sexual Function: TRT can help restore a healthy sex drive and address erectile dysfunction.

  5. Better Bone Density: Testosterone is important for bone health, and TRT can help prevent osteoporosis.

Risks and Considerations:

  1. Cardiovascular Risks: There is ongoing debate and research regarding the association of TRT with heart disease and stroke. The general consensus is that testosterone can decrease heart disease risk.

  2. Prostate Health: TRT can stimulate prostate growth, so it's important to monitor prostate health regularly.

  3. Skin Reactions: Gels and patches can sometimes cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.

  4. Infertility: TRT can lower sperm count, which is a crucial consideration for men wishing to have children. This is a big reason for younger men to avoid TRT and focus on the underlying cause of testosterone deficiency.

  5. Sleep Apnea: TRT may worsen this condition in some men. Though many men report high-quality sleep and feeling better overall

  6. Polycythemia: An increase in red blood cell count, which can raise the risk of blood clots. Needs to be monitored with a CBC every few months to start with.

  7. Increased estrogen levels - this can address with a aromatase inhibitor, but if you have a lower dose of testosterone more frequently this should not occur.

It's essential for men considering TRT to have a thorough discussion with their healthcare provider to understand the potential benefits and risks, and to determine the most suitable form of therapy based on their health history and current condition. Regular monitoring and follow-up are vital to ensure the therapy's efficacy and safety.

Male Hormone Imbalance - Summary

The key to healthy hormones is diet and lifestyle optimization, this will also improve overall health and decrease the risk of chronic diseases.

You can't just rely on supplements, or expect to just lift heavy weights at the gym and have great testosterone levels -  if your sleep is terrible and you are eating a highly processed food diet this can lead to hormonal imbalances and a range of health conditions.

If you need help with comprehensive pathology and hormone testing you can schedule a consultation and we can help work out the best options for you. 

If you have already done a range of tests you can schedule a consultation and I can help with interpretation and the next best steps for you.

 

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