Hormones are chemical messengers that transport a signal from one cell to another, playing a vital role in your overall well being. Men and women each produce estrogen, progesterone and androgen hormones (testosterone as the primary androgen) but in vastly different amounts. Since these hormones have a specific effect on the activities of other organs in the body, hormonal balance is essential for optimal health and happiness. However, as we age and are exposed to harmful, hormone disrupting xenoestrogens, the body's natural production of hormones changes dramatically, creating imbalances that can have a profound mental, emotional and physical impact on your life.
Women and Men Both Experience Estrogen Dominance
For women in perimenopause, dropping levels of progesterone caused by anovulatory cycles, results in an excess of estrogen. "Estrogen dominance" not only contributes to mood swings, irritability, weight gain and depression in women, it is directly linked with breast and endometrial cancers, endometriosis, infertility, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts and more. Estrogen levels fall as menopause approaches, potentially leading to the symptoms and health risks associated with estrogen deficiency such as insomnia, hot flashes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Men experience a similar midlife phenomenon known as Andropause. Sometimes called "Male Menopause", Andropause was first described in medical literature in the 1940's and refers to the natural decline in the androgen hormone testosterone. This happens gradually over time beginning as early as the mid-30's and can lead to an excess of estrogen. An elevated estrogen to testosterone ratio is a risk factor for both BPH and prostate cancer. Estrogen dominance is hastened by exposure to estrogens in our food (soy products, dairy and meat) and xenoestrogens prevalent in the environment, personal care and household cleaning products.
The Symptoms of Andropause
It is estimated that up to 50% of men in their 50's will have testosterone levels low enough to cause the bothersome symptoms of Andropause. Much like menopause for women, some men will glide through this midlife transition symptom free, while others will experience a variety of Andropause symptoms including:
Testosterone and Progesterone Cream
Testosterone helps build protein and is essential for normal sexual behavior. It also affects many metabolic activities such as the production of blood cells in bone marrow, bone formation, lipid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, liver function and prostate gland growth. When there is less testosterone available to perform its important functions, the symptoms of Andropause begin to manifest. In addition to the symptoms listed above, studies show that a decline in testosterone increases a man's risk of heart disease and bone loss. In fact, approximately one in eight men over age 50 already have osteoporosis.
Since a man's midlife transition isn't marked by something as obvious as the cessation of menstruation, and many men (and medical doctors) don't recognize the symptoms of the hormonal imbalances associated with Andropause, men are often diagnosed with age related health conditions and prescribed medications that may address some of the symptoms, but certainly not their cause; an hormonal imbalance. Fortunately, that is changing with an enhanced awareness of Andropause among men and within the medical community.
Progesterone has the amazing ability to regulate the production and release of other hormones and is in fact the precursor for the production of testosterone. Therefore, the topical application of bio-identical progesterone cream will increase testosterone levels and help regulate the production of estrogen in the male body.
In his book, "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Prostate Health and Natural Hormone Supplementation", Dr. John Lee writes that in the prostate (and in the hair follicles) is an enzyme (5-alpha-reductase) that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Higher DHT levels in hair follicles is a primary cause of male pattern baldness. He states that DHT stimulates proliferation of prostate cells enlarging the prostate gland and narrowing the urethral channel, leading to urination problems, and speculation that elevated DHT is the cause of prostate cancer.
Since progesterone is a potent inhibitor of 5-alpha-reductase, the decline of progesterone in aging males plays a role in increasing the conversion rate of testosterone to DHT. Supplementing with progesterone cream helps restore normal inhibition of 5-alpha-reductase, thus preventing testosterone from changing into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which stimulates proliferation of prostate cells. Dr. Lee suggests that men over the age of 40 use 8 - 12 mg of natural progesterone applied directly to their scrotum twice daily every day of the week to protect against prostate cancer.
Medical Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of a licensed medical doctor. Organic Excellence does not diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect a mental or physical health condition, please see your healthcare provider.