Aging in Boca is difficult enough for women without having to deal with declining hormones. Women in Boca often complain of a diminished sense of well being, chronic fatigue, and a loss of libido just to mention a few symptoms of hormone imbalance.
For many women there is a tremendous void in treatment of menopausal symptoms. Hot flashes, mood swings and low or no sex drive are just the tip of the iceberg. Some earlier hormone imbalance symptoms of estrogen deficiency are frequent waking at night. Many others are present, including “mental fogginess.” A woman’s short-term memory retention may be dwindling and her concentration and focus isn’t as good as it used to be. Frequently, women may experience some loss of energy to the point that they actually slide into symptoms of chronic fatigue. In addition, women may experience some mood swings and irritability, and at the extreme may actually develop feelings of depression. With the loss of energy and chronic fatigue, females find themselves unable to exercise as much as in the past, or to recover as quickly when exercising. Women often find themselves increasing weight gain in spite of attempts at exercising. One hormone imbalance symptom that is not frequently discussed is the loss of sex drive and diminished libido. Not only is energy level and sense of well being diminished, but anticipation and enjoyment of sexual activity is waning as well.
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What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a very important hormone, primarily produced in males via their testicles, and in smaller quantities from their adrenal glands. Females produce much smaller amounts of this hormone than men do, via the ovaries as well as adrenal glands. The importance of testosterone in the male body lies in how it controls the expression of sexual characteristics at different stages in the body's development, regulates sexual functions later in life, and assists in the generation of bone and muscle mass, among other functions it governs.
In healthy human males, testosterone levels peak in young adulthood, and naturally decrease over time, happening gradually and without sharp drop offs. However, some men's testosterone levels drop off suddenly, with significant and noticeable effects to their physical and mental well-being. This condition is known as "Andropause" (male menopause) or Low T. Judging by reports, it certainly seems to be on the increase.
Effects of Low Testosterone
Among the more severe and disturbing effects that low testosterone levels have on the male body, we find a decreased interest in sexual activity, erectile dysfunction, decreased muscle mass, osteoporosis (weak bones) and a diminished sense of well-being. One or more of the above can easily threaten a man's sense of identity, opening the door to even more issues. Several at once can be devastating. These symptoms develop over time, so there won't necessarily be a clear before and after to refer to.
What Should I Do?
If you suspect that you are suffering from a decrease in testosterone levels, the first thing you should do is get a check up by a medical professional. There are several reliable lab tests that your physician can run to verify that you are suffering from low testosterone levels, as well as rule out other conditions that may present with similar symptoms.
You need to be candid with your doctor! We realize this can be an embarrassing subject, but your doctor will only be able to help if you give them a full picture of what's going on. The sooner you check up on this, and the more straightforward you are, the higher the chances of being helped.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
One of the ways to treat low testosterone levels is to introduce more testosterone into the body. Testosterone can now be manufactured commercially, and is available in different forms that, once applied in the proper manner, will go into the body increasing levels temporarily. Some of the more common forms that commercially produced testosterone comes in are gels, patches and injections.
The key part of this therapy is that it is temporary. Your body will not begin to produce testosterone in greater quantity on its own, but will instead now rely on obtaining it from the outside world. There are also some side effects involved (which are beyond the scope of this article), depending on the treatment and the dose, which should be discussed with your physician prior to selecting a product.
A better alternative, and one well worth trying, is to use a testosterone booster. Unlike testosterone replacement therapy, testosterone boosters do not introduce testosterone into the body. What they do is increase the body's ability to produce this hormone at higher levels, sometimes even at levels similar to before the condition started. Additionally, many of these boosters are made of all natural ingredients with proven ability to naturally raise testosterone production, and without many of the side effects that come with replacement therapies.
Since they work to recover the body's ability to produce testosterone, they also do not shock the body by introducing large amounts at any given time, as happens with an injection. There are many products on the market, though, and you will want to look at online reviews and other information to separate the wheat from the chaff.
More importantly, this does not relieve you of the need to talk to your physician. Remember there are other conditions which can cause similar, or identical, symptoms. You definitely do not want to be treating the wrong condition. A doctor's professional opinion, along with good lab work, is essential.
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Marijuana attacks your precious testosterone in almost every negative way possible. One study after another has shown that cannabis lowers testosterone. For example one research team found that "a reanalysis of existing data established that testosterone levels are depressed both after smoking one marijuana cigarette and after intravenous infusion of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, a pharmacologically active component of marijuana". The same study concluded that it would take at least 24 hours for testosterone levels to normalize after marijuana use. (NOTE: It's not just the smoke - an IV will do it.)
Another study found that not only was testosterone decreased after short term marijuana use, but leutenizing and follicle stimulating hormone were lowered as well. And just to add to the endocrinological misery, the arch-villain and stress hormone cortisol was raised as well. There are also studies in animals and humans that strongly indicate that marijuana blunts growth hormone response as well. And so it is no wonder that animal studies show that marijuana use shrinks the testes. So, if you're not happy with lowered testosterone, infertility and elevated cortisol, you can sit around enjoying the fact that you've got a little more air flow through your boxers.
You should also know that there are many reports that chronic marijuana use leads to gynecomastia, i.e. "enlarged male breasts", due to its abundant amounts of phytoestrogens. One journal writer pointed out that "given the effects of marijuana on the HPG axis in males and the possibility that noncannabinoid components of marijuana smoke have affinity to the estrogen receptor, an association with gynecomastia is plausible but has not been convincingly demonstrated". Remember that estrogen fights against testeosterone in the body as well.
Marijuana has also recently been flagged as particularly dangerous for young people because it decreases seratonin and increases norepineprine. While these are not sex hormones like testosterone, these can alter mood negatively and, through prolonged use, may permanently alter anxiety levels and reaction to stress. Again, the researchers are suggesting this may have long term, possibly lifetime anxiety and mood repercussions. I would also add that any increase in stress will also likely lower testosterone as well.
So we ask the question, "Could someone please explain again why anyone in their right mind would smoke marijuana?" The only thing we can think of is the extra hydrogen cyanide. That's right - marijuana tobaco is much higher in hydrogen cyanide - probably five times higher - than cigarette tobacco. Maybe that partially explains why habitual pot smoking is so hard on the lungs and why cannabis use has also now been linked to the most aggressive form of testicular cancer.
Not to make the bad news even worse, but there is also considerable reported evidence of erectile dysfunction among chronic marijuana users. This is undoubtedly partially due to the lowered testosterone. However, the other reason was discovered by one study that showed marijauna effected Nitric Oxide and summarized by saying, "We conclude that early endothelial damage may be induced by chronic cannabis use (and endocannabinoid system activation". Let me translate that: it may take your sex life with it. If so, decreased sexual activity is also associated with lowered testosterone levels as well.
The tragedy with marijuana is that many cultures and youth are embracing marijuana as more "natural", but this is far from being the case. One recent study found that marijuana induces just as much cell toxicity and DNA damage as cigarette smoke. The researchers were very clear that marijuana displayed just as much cancer causing power as the cigarette smoke: "In addition, when corrected for total particulate matter yield, little difference was observed in the mutagenic activity of samples smoked under the extreme vs the standard regime for both tobacco and marijuana condensates".
In summary, there is significant evidence that marijuana lowers testosterone, nitric oxide, leutinizing hormone, growth hormone and raises cortisol at the same time. Hormonally, there is no justifiable reason for cannabis use.