When most people think of hormone imbalances they think of the raging, chocolate craving, moody PMSing still ovulating woman or the hot flashing menopausal woman but hormone imbalances can occur in men as well. And they can be just as devastating as a woman’s imbalance and are, unfortunately most often undetected. Andropause which is the male form of hormonal imbalance is the imbalance of estrogen (too high) and testosterone( too low) in men and can hit as early as age 30 to age 70. It is usually precipitated by stress, bad diet, and lifestyle which can also causes elevated cortisol levels which influence hormone production. There can also be a genetic component that can predisposed a man to an imbalance.
In men, both testosterone levels and estrogen levels need to be measured but estrogen levels are often overlooked and not measured. Many doctors have not realized the delicate necessity of testosterone and estrogen to be in balance. If there is too little estrogen then men are predisposed to osteoporosis and bone fracture. If there is too much then there is a bigger predisposition to prostate cancer and colon cancer.
Low testosterone and elevated estrogen levels are associated with moodiness, low libido, Heart disease, osteoporosis, muscle wasting, chronic inflammation, depression, reduced sexual desire and a loss of sense of well-being. Excess abdominal fat, low energy, loss of insulin sensitivity, atherosclerosis, prostate and colorectal cancers, elevated cholesterol levels are all signs of a possible hormonal imbalance as well. It would be an understatement to say that these little chemicals have a far reaching influence on how we feel and our overall general health as well. Some doctors feel that as many as 50-70% of adult Americans could benefit from hormone testing
There is some disagreement amongst the health care profession as to the best way to test hormones-salivary vs blood. I feel that the best way to test cortisol levels and sex hormones is by salivary testing. Salivary testing is measuring the amount of hormone in the tissue while blood measures the amount circulating in the blood. And since our hormone levels fluctuate throughout day, the salivary collection allows for that fluctuation as it is taken at 4 different times throughout the day. The diurnal rhythm of cortisol levels, which is very important, can easily be measure with the saliva collection where collection of blood four times a day would be very difficult. The salivary test is kit made easy to do at home/office and is easy to pop in the mail in the self addressed and prepaid envelope.
Just a note here, I have found that it is very important to test cortisol levels whenever testing sex hormones as the health of the adrenal glands influences the output of progesterone, estrogen, testosterone and DHEA.