1. What is important for men to understand about male hormone problems?
Males show progressive, age-related changes including:
. Decreased muscle mass and strength
. Low energy
. Decreased libido
. Nervousness and depression
. Hair loss
These changes usually begin in the fourth and fifth decades and point toward hormone imbalances and deficiencies which may be considered the male equivalent of menopause...the Andropause.
2. What can you do about male hormone imbalance?
Optimal health is dependent on the balance of hormones, not just a single hormone. Men with low androgen (male hormone) levels can benefit from hormone replacement therapy. Also, men with imbalances in their androgen to estrogen and progesterone can be hormone supplemented to achieve balance.
Supplemental male hormones can be given by mouth, by injection, by skin patch, by skin cream, or even by implant. (Remember that progesterone, especially, when applied to the skin of women, dissolves in and stores in the fat, only to later be erratically and sporadically released in huge amounts into the cells, overdosing the cells.) Testosterone is not fat soluble, so it can be evenly distributed from skin to the target cells.
3. Why measure male hormones?
. To estimate the body's own production = baseline test
. To measure levels of hormones after supplementation = therapeutic monitoring.
Symptoms alone are not a substitute for measuring hormone levels because many symptoms may involve non-hormonal factors.
Using appropriate tests for monitoring hormone therapy is crucial in establishing the appropriate dosing regimen. This reduces the chance of undesirable side effects and maximizes beneficial effects. For example, excessive use of androgens (testosterone, androstenedione, DHEA, and testosterone derivatives) can activate subclinical prostatic tumors which are androgen dependent. Monitoring is especially important in older males. By the age of 70, at least 50% of men have subclinical prostate cancer. These are especially susceptible to growth stimulation by androgens.
Very important are the roles of the six tested hormones in the salivary male hormone panel: DHEA, androstenedione, testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), progesterone, and estrone.
4. What does the test tell you?
The hormone levels in saliva reflect the active tissue concentrations, while blood contains mostly protein-bound, inactive hormones, whose active levels can only be estimates at best. Urine contains both the active hormones and numerous metabolites and can only be used to gain a gross estimate of hormone production over time. Active fractions of hormones from saliva are superior to blood and urine total hormone levels in diagnosis and treatment, where precision allows for safety. Guesswork is minimized!
5. Who should have this test done?
Middle-aged men having:
. impaired libido (sex drive)
. erectile dysfunction
. fat accumulation around the waist
. lack of enthusiasm for life
. urinary symptoms like pain and/or frequency, urgency, and interrupted stream
. change in sleeping habits
. baldness and/or extremity hair thinning
. increase in bad cholesterol, decrease in good cholesterol
. your doctor tells you that you have osteoporosis
Young men having:
. impaired libido
. erectile dysfunction
. early baldness
. inability to lose weight