Hormones are chemicals naturally produced by your body. Each hormone has a different function, but they all work together to regulate the various systems in your body. Some people may not make enough of certain hormones, which can lead to unwanted side effects.
Men and women both produce different quantities of certain gender-specific hormones. Men usually have a higher concentration of testosterone in their bodies. A lack of testosterone can lead to a depressed mood, decreased sex drive, muscle weakness, and more. Fortunately, hormone replacement therapy is available to combat the effects of hormone imbalances. Here are three things you'll need to do if you think you're a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy:
1. Visit a specialist.
If you're experiencing unwanted physical symptoms, your primary care physician's office should be your first stop. If your doctor agrees that your issue is probably hormonal, they can refer you to a specialist called an endocrinologist. Endocrinologists focus on the endocrine system, which includes the various glands that produce hormones. An endocrinologist can test your hormone levels using a simple blood test. If your hormone levels fall outside the normal range for a person your age, your doctor may want to perform some additional tests.
2. Submit to additional testing.
A blood test can show a snapshot of your hormone levels at one moment in time. Your doctor may want to see how your hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day. They can do this in an easy, non-invasive way using urine tests. Your doctor may instruct you to collect all your urine over the course of one day. By testing your urine for hormones, your endocrinologist can get a clearer picture of your testosterone levels at any given time. Some additional tests may be used as well. For instance, a bone density scan can allow your endocrinologist to determine the severity of your hormone imbalance.
3. Discuss appropriate treatment.
If you don't produce enough testosterone naturally, you can find relief for your symptoms through hormone replacement therapy. During hormone replacement therapy, bioidentical male hormones are introduced into your body. Injections, subcutaneous pellets, and transdermal patches are all commonly used to treat testosterone deficits. Based on your level of hormone deficiency, your endocrinologist will prescribe the treatment they feel will be most beneficial. Subcutaneous pellets must be introduced into your body by a doctor in-office, but other treatments may be self-administered at home.