What Are the Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Men?
Testosterone, prolactin and estrogen are some of the many hormones produced in the male body. Of all of these hormones, testosterone is responsible for maintaining and expressing male features such as facial hair, body hair, sperm production and maintenance of muscles and bones. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in men are often easily identifiable.
Low Sex Drive
Libido is a term used to describe sexual desire in both men and women. Low sex drive occurs when an individual loses all desire to be sexually active. Low levels of testosterone and high levels of prolactin--a hormone responsible for breast milk production--may cause this problem. The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library explains that about two-thirds of men who have high levels of prolactin in the bodies lose interest in sex and develop erectile dysfunction as well.
A condition in which a man is unable to maintain an erection long enough to have satisfactory sexual intercourse is referred to as erectile dysfunction. MedlinePlus explains that in this condition, an erection may not be attained or once established, the erection is lost during intercourse. High levels of prolactin, low levels of testosterone and an imbalance in thyroid hormone levels--hormones that determine how fast processes occur in the body--may lead to erectile dysfunction.
Men produce both testosterone and estrogen. Estrogen is responsible for the expression of female characteristics such as breast enlargement. A hormonal imbalance that involves an increase in estrogen and a decrease in testosterone causes breast enlargement in men. The medical term for this disorder is gynecomastia.
Breast Milk Production
The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library describes galactorrhea as a condition in which a woman who is not breast-feeding starts producing breast milk. This condition can also affect men who suffer from certain hormonal imbalances. It is caused by high blood levels of prolactin and low levels of testosterone in the body. Prolactin is produced in the pituitary gland of both men and women.
A man is said to be infertile when he cannot have children after engaging in regular, unprotected sexual intercourse for about a year. This condition may be caused by low sperm counts or low sperm quality. Infertility may be a symptom of hormonal imbalance in men because several hormones are involved in sperm production.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the process of fertility begins with the production of gonadotropin-releasing hormone in the hypothalamus. This hormone then stimulates the pituitary gland to release two other hormones known as the follicle-stimulating hormone and the luteinizing hormone. These two hormones are directly involved in sperm production because follicle-stimulating hormone is responsible for maintaining sperm production while the luteinizing hormone ensures testosterone production.
A deficiency in gonadotropin-releasing hormone may result in low follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone levels which can in turn lead to low or no sperm production.
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