In middle age, men are subject to changes in their hormonal levels. This is primarily due to the aging of the body: the organs responsible for the production of hormones do not work as intensively as before. Cases of hormonal failure are also rare at a young age. Such failures occur for various reasons, usually due to diseases that lead to a decrease in the synthesis of androgens or poor lifestyle choices.
Testosterone - the king of hormones, the hormone of kings
Testosterone is the main male sex hormone responsible for sexual function and sexual desire. The peak of its secretion falls on puberty and by the age of 25-30 begins to decline gradually (by 1-1.5% per year). To achieve middle and older age in varying degrees in men there is a lack of sex hormone. In addition to testosterone, the body also contains hormones that perform certain functions of testosterone and affect its level.
Hormones that affect testosterone levels:
LH ( luteinizing hormone ). It starts the synthesis of androgens by Leydig cells located in the testicles. LH levels increase with insufficient androgen levels and decrease with high testosterone levels through negative feedback. It is this feature that provokes the inhibition of the own production of androgens by the testes during hormone replacement therapy.
FSH ( follicle-stimulating hormone ). Increases the synthesis of androgens in the blood by increasing LH receptors, but its main function is to stimulate spermatogenesis. The FSH level is controlled by feedback with the inhibin secreted by Sertoli cells.
CG, HCG ( chorionic gonadotropin ). Normally, CG is not found in men or is found in a small number of (0-5 IU / l). High concentrations of this hormone may indicate a hormone-producing tumor. CG has the properties of LH and FSH, but the luteinizing activity of CG significantly exceeds the follicle-stimulating effect, which makes it possible to use CG injection as a stimulating hormone therapy.
Prolactin is produced by the anterior pituitary gland. It enhances the function of gonadotropic hormones, protects sperm, and is responsible for their mobility. Increased prolactin in men may occur during sleep, exercise, stress, and may also indicate various abnormalities and diseases. Persistently elevated prolactin may indicate hyperprolactinemia in a man , and be the cause of low androgen levels, since has inhibitory properties against them.
Estradiol is a female sex hormone, the strongest of estrogens. Estrogens in men are synthesized in the testicles and adrenal cortex in small quantities, but most of the hormone is produced by converting a testosterone molecule into an estradiol molecule. Being in physiological (not exceeding the norm) concentrations of estradiol in the male body is responsible for enhancing libido and sexual activity, male fertility. Estradiol is a testosterone antagonist hormone, i.e. it suppresses the production of androgens. Therefore, high estradiol levels can cause low testosterone levels.
HSPG (sex hormone binding globulin) is a plasma protein that binds testosterone molecules, limiting the amount of the bioactive form of the hormone. With age, the level of SHBG begins to increase, gradually reducing the level of free testosterone and testosterone associated with albumin. It is the decrease in the bioactive form of testosterone that causes age-related androgenic deficiency .
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in men:
- decrease in muscle mass and strength;
- decrease in sexual desire and sexual function;
- weight gain;
- hair reduction;
- weakening of immunity;
- depressed mood, depression, stress;
- breast enlargement, female-type breast growth - gynecomastia.
Treatment of hormonal imbalance
Treatment is carried out on the basis of test results and causes of deviations. In case of insufficient level of sex hormones, replacement or stimulation therapy is carried out as prescribed by a doctor. The treatment contributes to a healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition, exercise.