Signs of Two Forms of Male Hormone Imbalances
Both men’s and women’s bodies rely upon producing hormones for healthy functioning. The result of hormone imbalances, too little or too much, in the blood, produces a range of adverse side effects in one’s body, physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Hormones are produced in the endocrine system and are distributed throughout the body through glands. These glands are the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal, gonads (ovaries or testis), pancreas, thymus, and pineal. The production of hormones helps to regulate growth, mood, stress and cognitive function, metabolism, hunger, body temperature, sexual development, and reproduction.
According to MedicalNewsToday, some males can experience hormonal imbalances during puberty, aging, and increased times of stress. While the condition can be found during fetal development and puberty, aging, injury, or infection in later life can also cause a condition known as hypogonadism.
Signs of Hypogonadism
According to the MayoClinic, early signs of primary hypogonadism may include:
- Decreased sex drive
- Decreased energy
- Erectile dysfunction
- Decrease in hair growth on face and body
- Development of breast tissue
- Loss of bone mass
- Pot Belly
- Weight gain
- Muscle weakness or loss of muscle mass
- Enlarged breasts
Understanding this condition means understanding how the male reproductive system works. Testosterone, found and produced in the testes (testicles), is necessary for the healthy functioning of the male reproductive system. This hormone is necessary for maintaining male muscle mass, fat distribution, bone mass, sex drive, and production of sperm. Hormones, which are chemicals, stimulate or regulate healthy activity in cells and organs.
Causes of Hypogonadism
Possible causes of primary hypogonadism include mumps involving the testicles, hemochromatosis (too much iron in the blood causing testicular and pituitary gland dysfunction), injury to the testicles, and cancer treatments.
Secondary hypogonadism can be caused by disorders in the pituitary and hypothalamus, inflammatory diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, medications such as opiate pain relief, obesity, and aging.
As a result of these and other conditions, the sex glands (gonads) produce little to no sex hormones. This deficiency is also known as Gonadal deficiency or testicular failure. Additionally, this secondary form of hypogonadism is caused by disrupted or altered brain signals in the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus releases a hormone that signals the pituitary gland to make other hormones responsible for signaling the testes to produce testosterone.
There are reportedly over 200,000 cases in the United States yearly. As blood and lab tests are needed for a diagnosis, one should not try to self-diagnose. Proper diagnosis, provided by a treating physician, can reveal the underlying cause of the hormone imbalance and provide the appropriate path of treatment. If left untreated, the condition can lead to depression, anxiety, changes in sex drive and sex characteristics, difficulty concentrating, etc.
Male hormone imbalances may also cause an enlargement of the breast tissue. This enlargement is a swelling of the breast tissue in boys and men that most commonly occurs in newborns, boys in puberty, and older men. According to the Cleveland Clinic, this disorder is found in 50-65% of boys and men worldwide. In the case of older men (over 50), the body starts producing less testosterone, accompanied by increased body fat. The increased body fat can stimulate estrogen production and therefore breast tissue growth. It is considered a benign enlargement of the male breast in many cases. However, as with many conditions, proper diagnosis is required to rule out male breast cancer.
- Adrenal tumors
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Thyroid disease
- Medication for anxiety and depression
- Bacterial and fungal infections
- High blood pressure
- Substance Abuse (including amphetamines, marijuana, opioids, anabolic steroids, alcohol)
- Lavender oils and tea tree oils that are found in supplements and skincare products
- Testicular cancer
Estrogen is a hormone related to breast growth. All men produce some levels of estrogen, but higher levels of testosterone stop the estrogen from stimulating more breast tissue growth.
The condition can occur in one or both breasts, but it is usually bilateral. This condition stimulates changes in both the female hormone (estrogen) and the male hormone (testosterone).
The Cleveland Clinic recommends treatment for gynecomastia, as male breast enlargement can cause a slight increase in breast cancer among men with this condition. However, a condition known as pseudo gynecomastia or lipmastia acts like gynecomastia with a proliferation of tissue or fat nodule. Actual gynecomastia starts as a lump beneath the nipple. At first, the lump may be tender, but it will grow harder over time. In the case of lipmastia, the actual growth is fat and not part of the glandular tissue in the male breast.
According to a research study concerning the physiology, evaluation, and management of gynecomastia published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings (2009, Nov; 84 (11): 1010-1015), several drugs may cause this bodily response. They include certain antibiotics, anti-ulcer medications, cardiovascular medications including calcium channel blockers, psychoactive agents such as diazepam, and other miscellaneous drugs such as antiretroviral therapy for HIV.
According to medlineplus.gov, gynecomastia has also been linked to exposure to endocrine disrupters. These can be chemicals that interfere with the endocrine system. Some plastics, like plastic bottles, liners of metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, and pesticides, contain chemicals that are endocrine disrupters.
As with any condition, a thorough examination by your physician may be required. One should always be honest in answering questions to help obtain a proper diagnosis. The team at Androgenix is determined to provide quality diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care. We work closely with our clients to ensure they receive personalized service that’s second to none. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation.
*Unless otherwise stated, individual results may vary depending on many factors not all patients “feel” or achieve the same results.