What is the Best Type of Hormone Replacement Therapy?
While andropause is generally not treated as a definite phenomenon in men’s lifecycles, menopause is identified by doctors as a definitive change in women’s physiology that is characterized by a reduction in the secretion of particular hormones. Women are likely to begin experiencing menopause, post the age of fifty. Some women experience pre-menopause as early as in their late 30’s.
For men, the main hormone in question is testosterone. Hormone replacement therapy typically involves a combination of testosterone and other hormones. However, in some cases, HRT for men is conducted with a few hormones like DHEA, HGH, thyroid hormones, progesterone and melatonin along with testosterone.
These hormones are not only essential, in the act of reproduction, but are extremely vital in the maintenance of bone density, muscle mass, keeping fatty tissue in balance, improving immunity and countering other conditions like erectile dysfunction.
Testosterone Replacement Therapy
New studies have shown that testosterone replacement therapy may actually contribute in increasing the life span of men. It is shown to increase cardiovascular activity, reduce the risk of diabetes, and increase the retention of High Density Lipoproteins (good cholesterol).
Andropause, the male menopause, is often associated with the medical condition known as hypogonadism. Hypogonadism has the potential to affect several organs. Its effects range from reduced muscle mass and reduced sex drive to extreme tiredness and in some cases even osteoporosis. Low levels of testosterone essentially cause the body to age faster, by making it harder for the body to heal itself. Increased body fat both subcutaneous and visceral is also experienced.
An increase in visceral body fat i.e. collection of fat around the linings of important organs, may translate into heart disease or abdominal complications. Hypogonadism has also been known to affect the brain causing anxiety, depression, etc.
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a process of inducing testosterone into the body to combat the effects of hypogonadism. With regard to risk, TRT is often regarded as taboo due to its relation with prostate cancer and heart disease. However, studies have shown that there exists no negative correlation between increased testosterone levels and prostate cancer. In fact, increased testosterone is shown to reduce the likelihood of heart conditions due to its management of cholesterol and how testosterone may strengthen the heart which is one big muscle!
HGH Replacement Therapy
HGH injections are used for treating various medical conditions in children and adults alike. Human Growth Hormone is also popular as a performance enhancer and anti-aging drug, however, this type of use is not FDA approved.
HGH is responsible for critical functions like muscle growth, brain function, aiding metabolism, regulating energy and tissue repair. HGH levels are at their maximum levels during teenage years and decline as age increases.
HGH injections can be obtained from doctors who specialize in treating adult with an Adult Onset Growth Hormone Deficiency. HGH supplements can be purchased over-the-counter in the form of pills, powders, and sprays. However, only injectable rDNA HGH, prescribed by a doctor, has been shown to work.
DHEA or dehyroepiandrosterone is another common hormone present in men and women. As people grow older, the level of DHEA in the blood reduces, causing complications of the heart and in the worst cases, prostate or breast cancer. Studies have shown that hormone replacement therapy conducted using this hormone can lead to increased lean muscle mass, decrease in fatty tissue, and general increase in quality of life, especially in men.
Moreover, a study into the effect of DHEA on the immune system showed a marked increase in white blood cell count, indicating an increased resistance towards the development of tumors. DHEA is deemed to be so risk-free that it no longer requires a prescription to be administered. The only definitive side-effects of this hormone are increased acne, to those genetically prone to it, and an increase in hair growth for women.
Thyroid Hormone Therapy
This form of hormone replacement therapy is primarily associated with the maintenance and balance of proteins and fatty acids in tissues. Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is commonly used to counter fatigue, thickness of skin, slowing reflexes, or an increased rate of weight gain.
This therapy is mostly used in patients suffering from Hashimoto’s disease – an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland causing it to malfunction. This is a common disease affecting those above the age of sixty. Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is said to have no side-effects and is a popular reparative treatment.