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.
Prolactin Levels In Men - How They Can Affect Your Sex Life And What You Can Do About It
Are you one of those guys who are burning the candle at both ends and maybe only getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night? Are you also one of those guys having problems with his sex drive and feeling out of sorts? Well, recent studies done in the last 3 years show that these symptoms could all be due to the effect of sleep on testosterone - just how, though, may be a chicken and egg question!
While it's true that lower testosterone levels can be the cause of a sluggish sex drive and irritability it seems to be a matter of research opinion whether low sleep levels cause low testosterone or low testosterone causes lack of sleep.
Here's what we know about sleep, and testosterone to date as it relates to men:
After age 30, men's testosterone levels drop between 1 and 2% a year! By the time they reach 40 they start experiencing trouble sleeping. They complain of less deep sleep time, the period of sleep where the body repairs itself.
In fact, as a man gets older, the most recent studies assert, he can lose deep sleep time altogether! That means the older a man gets, the more his testosterone levels continue to decline, the less deep sleep he gets, the more his body's repair mechanisms decline and the higher his risk climbs for disease!
The reason for this decline in deep sleep time is thought to be due to a loss of neuron activity, which synchronizes brain activity. These neurons are responsible for about 20% of achieving deep sleep. They are intact in young men and get further scrambled as a man ages.
To further complicate things, low testosterone levels are thought to contribute to this loss of neuron activity in the brain. The take away of these studies, then, whichever perspective you come from, seem to say that restoring testosterone to healthy, youthful levels would likely help a man not only achieve deep, restorative sleep again, but also keep him healthier, re-invigorate his sluggish sex drive and keep him in a happier frame of mind.
Do You Have Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
One of the most frequent complaints I hear from my over-40 patients is that their sex drive has diminished significantly from when they were younger. One of the first things I do is to check a testosterone level and most often find that it is decreased. Interestingly, as well, is that they also often complain of not sleeping very much and are depressed!
Now whether their lack of sleep is from a too hectic lifestyle, stress, or from their decreased testosterone level, is not clear. However, when I recommend that they try to get between 6-8 hours of sleep a night their testosterone levels seem to naturally increase and their mood is brighter!
But decreased testosterone levels don't just affect men over 50, it can start as young as the 30-40's! Many men don't seek treatment because they think it's just a part of getting older and they're embarrassed to talk about it! Like menopause in women, low testosterone is not something men have to suffer through just because it's associated with getting older. Here are some other symptoms you may not associate with low testosterone levels:
•Emotional changes, like depression, irritability, "grumpy old man" syndrome
•Decreased muscle strength
•Loss of height
•Weight gain, especially belly fat
What Does Cause Low Testosterone?
Low testosterone levels can be caused or aggravated by a number of things both nutritional and environmental. For my patients who have lower than optimal testosterone levels, here are some other things I tell them to pay attention to in their diet and lifestyle:
•Xenoestrogens - in food and water supplies. These are "environmental estrogens" from soy products and plastics that get into our food and can decrease testosterone levels. Stay away from foods containing soy, most notably protein bars and soymilk. If you buy frozen foods, transfer them from their plastic container into a glass dish before heating.
•Lack of Protein - men need between 0.5 to 1 gram of high quality protein per pound of body weight per day to both build muscle strength and testosterone. Sources include pork, beef, and chicken, which also have higher levels of zinc, which is testosterone friendly.
•Lack of Cholesterol - many men over 40 are watching cholesterol intake for the sake of their arteries, but too little cholesterol will stop testosterone production. Aim for about 30% fat, mostly monounsaturated (nuts, olive oil) and some saturated (red meat, eggs) to build testosterone. Go very light, or leave out, polyunsaturated fats (fish, vegetable oils) as studies have shown they can decrease testosterone perhaps because they may contain xenoestrogens.
•Lack of Nutrition - zinc is a major building mineral for testosterone. The B vitamins, especially B1, B6, and B12 are helpful in keeping testosterone levels healthy. Be sure that your vitamin/mineral supplement includes these.
•Too Much Alcohol - alcohol increases blood sugar levels, which decreases testosterone. Limit to a few drinks per week.
•Lack of Sleep - as mentioned earlier, less than 6 hours of sleep a night can seriously rob your body of its repairing mechanisms and this includes the re-manufacturing of hormones like testosterone. See that you get at least 6-8 hours of sleep at night, more if you have been ill or under a lot of stress. Try some natural sleep aids like Valerian, calcium/magnesium supplements with some warm milk before bed. Cut back caffeine to not past 4 pm, and limit heavy meals to 2-3 hours before bedtime.
Researchers may finally decide which comes first; low testosterone then poor sleep, or poor sleep then low testosterone. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to counsel my patients that adequate sleep is at least a significant factor in low testosterone levels. However, before you start thinking dangerous steroids or prescription testosterone replacements, try the natural suggestions offered here. I believe your T-levels will be up to optimal levels and your sex drive and pleasant mood back on track in no time!
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Institute For Healthy Aging
How to Lose Weight by Eating Fruit
Many people have found that one of the easiest ways to lose weight is with the Medifast weight loss program. The program is set up so easy that anyone can lose weight by following the steps. Unlike other weight loss plans, medifast has meal plans and delivered meals so you do not let your diet fall by the way side. One aspect of this meal plan is the Medifast shakes. If you want to change up your shakes, though, you have to get a little creative. There are different medifast recipes you can use to alter the taste of your shakes without compromising the nutrients.
The Medifast shakes are a great addition to your diet plan because they can take the place of your high calorie snack foods. Snacking is one of the most common diet killers, so it is important to be able to prevent the urge. If you have been getting bored with your shakes, you can try different medifast recipes to alter the taste. One way to do this is by making a milkshake out of them. Instead of mixing the recipe in the plastic bottle, add a little ice and pop it into a blender. Your shake will have the same quality to it, but it will taste like a rich treat.
Other medifast recipes include adding their flavor infusers, which are sugar free. These are meant to be drunk with water but could be added for flavor to your medifast shakes. You should try adding them to the vanilla shakes for the best results. This also is a great way to change up the flavor infusers if you get bored with them from time to time. There only are so many flavors Medifast can create for your shakes that sometimes you have to leave it to yourself to create your own.
Another great way to change the taste of your medifast shakes includes using sugar free syrups that you can buy at the supermarket. These are syrups that you would add to your coffee for different flavors. With these, your Medifast recipes are virtually endless. All you have to do is make sure the syrup you are using is sugar free otherwise it is defeating the purpose of drinking the shakes. You have the option of using fruity flavors such as raspberry or you can stick with the nutty flavors of hazelnut. By changing the flavors, you are making it easier to stick with your diet plan.
Weight Loss for Women - Free Tips
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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