Aging is difficult enough for women without having to deal with declining hormones. Women of Broward often complain of a diminished sense of wellbeing, 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 wellbeing diminished, but anticipation and enjoyment of sexual activity is waning as well.
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Convincing Your Husband to Check His Testosterone Level
From the time they are little boys playing cowboys and Indians in the backyard, men are taught that they should be "manly." The macho image saturates the media in movies, television, and books. Even the romance novels aimed at women feature manly men with unbuttoned shirts on the cover.
It has become almost an unspoken rule that for a man to be respected, he should be strong, unemotional, and independent. With this in mind, think about what you may be doing to your husband if you question his manhood?
As the concerned wife, you may not think apprehension about testosterone levels have anything to do with questioning his manhood, but to your husband, you are doing just that. The very word testosterone has become synonymous with manliness. There are many jokes made about the "testosterone in the room" when men try to show up each other.
It is no wonder that the phrase "Honey, maybe you have low testosterone" is almost guaranteed to evoke an unsavory response. If the hormone is a concern, you cannot put your husband on the defensive by seemingly implying that he is not enough of a man.
Before even bringing up the subject, consider the symptoms of low t. He may not be even suffering from the problem, so do not put undue stress on him unless he is exhibiting the symptoms.
Generally, when men suffer low testosterone levels, he will show some of the following symptoms: decreased energy and strength, lower libido or sex drive, weakness of the bones, depression or anger, erectile dysfunction, an increase in fat on the body, and decrease in muscle mass.
Generally, 'low t' is caused by a signal mix-up between the brain and the testicles. For some reason, the brain may be signaling to lower testosterone creation or to halt production completely. Testosterone levels are low if they are under 300.
Although these symptoms are not definitively low testosterone, if a man is suffering from more than one, there is definitely a cause for concern. If you believe that your husband may be suffering from the hormone deficiency, then tread lightly.
It really does not matter how long you have been married, how close you are to your husband, or how well you know him. You could face a negative response if you blatantly tell him you are not happy with his sex drive or his energy level.
Remember, the problem is in no way about you. Do not make the situation about you, because if you do, he will see that as self-centeredness since he is the one suffering. His decreased sex drive does not mean he is no longer attracted to you. He is going through a difficult time, and implying that it is hard on you will only create bad feelings.
The low testosterone test is simply a blood test. No invasive procedures are required, and no embarrassing exams have to happen. Since finding out is fairly simple, you can make sure your husband knows this.
If you feel that your husband is exhibiting the symptoms of low testosterone levels, then you definitely need to broach the subject. Even if the condition is not low testosterone, there could be other underlying medical problems. Any time someone is exhibiting symptoms, it is best that they see a doctor.
However, in this case, a man may very well feel that his manhood is being called into question. There are three keys to talking with your husband about the problem: honesty, selflessness, and patience.
The first thing you need to remember is that you have to be honest, while being tactful at the same time. Instead of jumping at the big subject, like intimacy, choose something a little less inflammatory.
Begin with a phrase, like "You have been kind of tired lately, haven't you?" This way, you are opening the door to a discussion without even bringing up the idea of a testosterone problem.
Once he begins to talk and confirm his problem with fatigue, then you can delve deeper. Remember to go at his pace, not yours. Suggest that you read an article and found it interesting, or that you were concerned since he did not seem to be getting enough sleep.
When you feel ready, bring up testosterone. Make sure he knows you are bringing it up because of the many negative effects it can have on him and you are simply concerned with his health.
This is when selflessness comes in. At no point should you imply that it is a hardship for you at all. Do not bring up that you are under any stress or that you feel you are missing out on anything. Doing so is almost a guarantee of anger or defensiveness on his part.
Remember that if he is suffering low-t, it is nothing he can repair on his own, and it is unfair of you to blame him for a medical condition.
Finally, you must practice patience. If you bring up the subject and he gets angry, then put it on a back burner for a while. Give him some time to calm down and think more clearly. You may even want to email him an article on the subject so that he can think about it without feeling under pressure by talking face to face.
Thankfully, low testosterone levels in men can easily be treated with testosterone replacement therapy. There are a number of treatment options, including gels that are applied to the skin daily, patches similar to nicotine patches, injections, and tablets.
Not all treatments are right for each person, so a physician will have to evaluate your husband's overall health to determine the right course of action. Generally, with treatment, a man's quality of life immediately increases.
In order to successfully speak with your husband about the possibility of low testosterone, remember to be patient, to make it about him, not you, and be honest. Odds are, your husband has already noticed the problem, but he does not know how to bring it up himself.
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It might be tempting to get a quick fix for hot flashes, but consider a different perimenopause treatment besides hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT may be inexpensive and easy, but its long-term risks outweigh the benefits - not to mention that it will likely further aggravate the symptoms of menopause! This outcome occurs because HRT causes estrogen dominance, a condition where there is far more estrogen than progesterone in the body. On the other hand, products that are natural for menopause-related symptoms will provide relief from your symptoms without causing estrogen dominance.
How is estrogen dominance related to traditional perimenopause treatments?
Estrogen dominance was a term coined by Dr. John Lee, the first doctor who published shocking findings on the dangers of HRT. His research was premised on the fact that a woman can experience serious health problems if she has normal or excessive estrogen, but little or no progesterone to balance out estrogen's effects on the body. Progesterone inhibits estrogen's effects on the body, e.g. when estrogen increases fat accumulation and weight gain, progesterone burns fat for energy. For these reasons, Dr. Lee suggested that giving progesterone supplements would benefit menopausal women more than estrogen-only HRT. However, his work was shunned by the medical community despite mounting evidence against HRT and the damage it causes. It's easy to see why - when Dr. Lee's research first came out in the 1980s, everyone was still caught up in the hype of estrogen HRT pushed by pharmaceutical companies.
Despite what you might be led to believe, HRT promotes unopposed estrogen. Women these days are very susceptible to becoming estrogen dominant, even when they are menopausal. The beauty products and cosmetics we use are laden with xenoestrogenic preservatives - manmade chemicals that behave like estrogen when they enter the body. Cows and chickens are also fed estrogen so they can grow and fatten up faster. On the other hand, we aren't exposed to the same levels of progesterone. Taking HRT will only skew the balance of estrogen and progesterone, causing estrogen dominance and increasing the risks of various health problems.
Risks of estrogen dominance caused by medications for perimenopause
Below are just some of the risks faced by menopausal women when they take HRT.
Increased menopause symptoms
While restoring your estrogen levels might reduce hot flashes initially, it may also cause increased weight gain, poor sleep patterns, headache, anxiety, and depression if left unopposed.
Fibrocystic breasts and breast cancer
Researchers from Harvard University discovered that the longer your exposure to estrogens, the greater your risk of fibrocystic breasts (breast cysts) and breast cancer. In their Nurses' Health Study, a study that tracked the health of 70,000 women for almost 20 years, they discovered that menopausal women who used estrogen had a 30% increased risk for breast cancer than women who didn't take HRT. The risk for breast cancer was 40% more among women who took estrogen and progestin (a manmade progesterone). Those who were taking HRT for over five years had an elevated risk that increased with their age. The Nurses' Health Study supports early evidence that HRT plays a significant role in the onset of breast cancer, even if progestin is added to balance out the estrogen.
Studies show that an increased risk of blood clots among menopausal women is triggered by two things: cigarette smoking and the use of synthetic estrogens.
Gallstones and liver problems
If you have a liver disorder, then you should definitely avoid HRT; estrogen affects the function of the liver enzymes. Research shows that women taking HRT have twice the risk of developing gallstones that require surgical removal.
Four to eight out of every one thousand menopausal women will develop uterine cancer because of HRT. Although the risk of uterine cancer is decreased when progestin is added, research shows that progestin will place you at risk for breast cancer. Other risk factors like cigarette smoking, a family history of uterine cancer, and abnormal uterine bleeding will also increase the likelihood of HRT-related uterine cancer despite the presence of progestin.
Unlike the symptoms of menopause, which are temporary, the side effects of HRT may last a lifetime. Avoid these risks and consider making lifestyle changes or using natural progesterone or phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) for perimenopause and menopause relief.
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Testosterone replacement can offer great assistance to the male reproductive cycle, from boosting the sex drive to help treating erectile dysfunction, but one of the most common misconceptions about it is that it can boost sperm production. Introducing testosterone into the body by artificial means causes the body to stop producing its own, and there is a possibility that infertility can result, especially if the treatment is not done professionally. A lot of men are able to treat other testosterone-related problems with hormone replacement therapy and have great success, and only find out later that the process may have caused infertility. Being aware of the side effects and ensuring you understand what the long term consequences for your body are, is essential for you to have a positive testosterone replacement experience. What it really comes down to is why you need testosterone replacement therapy. Do you need it because your T levels are low and have a negative effective on your body's ability to produce sperm, or is it solely due to other reasons?
One of the biggest reasons that testosterone replacement is so popular with older men is that most of them have already had children, and they do not have plans to conceive again. In younger men who need help boosting their testosterone levels, they need to weigh up the benefits or relief from low testosterone side effects against the chances of them not being able to have a family.
One of the most obvious areas we see the effects of long term anabolic steroid use is in the bodybuilding world. Men who have been supplementing testosterone, and often in cases where they have been supplementing it without the right kind of medical assistance, for an extended period of time, experience fertility problems. The problems may only show up a few years later, or they may be immediate. In some cases, infertility may be temporary and stop when the person stops taking the supplements, and in other cases the effects may be permanent and irreversible.
When you start bringing testosterone into the body, you send a message to your body that it does not need to make its own, or it should be making substantially less of its own. Your body is hardwired to maintain homeostasis, or constant levels throughout each system and cell, and to conserve energy and supplementing with testosterone sends it the message that the body does not need as much. Artificial testosterone signals the pituitary gland to stop producing the hormones that stimulate the testicles to generate sperm. In some people, it can reduce sperm production substantially, while in others it can stop it completely. In some cases the testes actually shrink in size, because of their reduced functionality in the body.
In older men who experience hypogonadism as a natural response to ageing, this is not cause for concern, but in younger men whose conditions may be hereditary or caused by a trauma to the body, this is not always the best option. If you are thinking of having a family and need to have testosterone replacement, you should approach it in an informed manner and find out as much as possible about the treatment procedure and what it means for you.
Some men can take reverse hormones and other forms of treatment to encourage sperm production later on, but the process is not always successful for all men. Other men may decide to wait a little longer before having testosterone supplements and have their family first.
While testosterone therapy can improve your quality of life and relieve uncomfortable symptoms, it is a powerful process that will have effects on your body, which need to be discussed with your doctor. It can help your sex life in terms of boosting your libido and even helping with premature ejaculation, but if you want to conceive a child, you might need to investigate it further before making a decision.
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