Everyone knows hormones play a central role in sexual development early in life. But hormones are also deeply involved in the aging process, affecting not only your sexual health and libido, but many other aspects of your health and wellness, too.
At The Riegel Center, Christopher Riegel, MD offers bioidentical hormone replacement therapy as part of a comprehensive anti-aging treatment plan to help women and men in Plano, Texas, manage many of the hormone-related issues associated with aging. Here’s what he wants you to know about how age affects some of the primary hormones necessary for good health.
Estrogen and progesterone
Menopause is one of the most well-known and dramatic interactions between aging and hormones. In the years leading up to menopause, the ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone. Perhaps the most profound effect of this change is a complete cessation of periods. But it’s not the only change that happens.
Estrogen decline also leads to a slower metabolism, making it harder for women to burn calories and leading to middle-age weight gain. It can also cause feelings of fatigue, irritability, and problems focusing — a side effect so common, it has its own nickname: menopause brain fog.
Along with collagen, estrogen also plays a role in maintaining healthy skin and keeping mucous membranes lubricated. That’s why many women experience an increase in dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles, along with vaginal dryness and discomfort.
Progesterone plays a key role in mood balance and sleep. When levels decline, you may find yourself feeling depressed, anxious, and stressed, while restful sleep doesn’t come as easily as it once did.
Testosterone is the hormone most frequently associated with “manhood” and sexual performance. Produced by the testicles, testosterone does have a direct bearing on a man’s libido and erectile function. But it affects much more than that.
Like estrogen, testosterone has an effect on metabolism. As a man’s testosterone levels decline, weight gain becomes much more common — and keeping extra weight off becomes much more difficult.
Decreasing testosterone can lead to fatigue, irritability, loss of muscle mass, and problems with memory and concentration. As with estrogen, decreasing testosterone can also make wrinkles and loose, sagging skin more common, too.
The thyroid gland is a two-lobed gland that “hugs” the front of your neck. This gland produces several hormones involved in a variety of processes, most notably metabolism.
As you get older, your thyroid gland typically produces fewer hormones, resulting in a lower metabolism. As your metabolism slows down, it gets harder to maintain a healthy weight, and you can also feel more fatigued.
Sometimes, the thyroid gland produces too few hormones (underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism) or too many (overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism). Either of these extremes can cause serious health problems, and both need appropriate medical treatment to avoid complications and improve overall health.
Age comfortably — and with confidence
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy uses chemicals identical to the hormones your body naturally produces to supplement or replace hormones that your body is no longer producing. During your therapy, your hormone levels are carefully monitored on a regular basis, allowing Dr. Riegel to adjust your dosing for maximum benefits.
Aging ushers in a lot of changes — some exciting, some worrisome. With a custom anti-aging treatment plan based on your specific needs, you can continue to enjoy optimal health and wellness at every age. To learn more about hormone replacement therapy and other anti-aging therapies, call 972-525-5959 or book an appointment online at The Riegel Center today.