Androgen Replacement Therapy in San Francisco, CA
What is an Androgen?
An androgen is a hormone or group of hormones which regulate the development and function of the male reproductive system. Androgen is largely produced in the adrenal cortex. Testosterone is one of the most well-known androgens. Testosterone plays a key role in directing the onset of changes during puberty. These may include the development of hair on the face, chest and armpits, deepening of the voice and increased libido. Later in life, androgens – including testosterone – are responsible for the development of sperm and the frequency, strength, and duration of erections.
Androgen deficiency can cause a number of side effects, including:
- Low libido
- Hot flashes
- Excessive sweating
- Male breast development (gynecomastia)
- Weight gain
Androgen levels typically decrease after age 30 or so. Symptoms of androgen deficiency – particularly fatigue, low libido, and weight gain – are often thought to be natural components of the aging process. Many men don’t identify these symptoms as being a hormone imbalance or deficiency. However, those who consult with hormone specialists may balance their androgen deficiency and even match the hormone levels of their younger selves.
Hormone Replacement Therapy for Androgen Deficiency
Deficiencies or imbalances in androgen levels are typically diagnosed using a blood sample. CT scans, semen analysis, and physical examinations are also used to support the diagnosis. Once diagnosed, there are a number of treatment options available. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can be administered via pills, patches, creams, gels, and injections.
Traditional hormone replacement therapy typically involves cultivating synthetic hormones and introducing them into the blood stream in the hopes of the body accepting these hormones as its own. However, these synthetics are rarely close enough of a match to the body’s natural hormones. As a result, only a fraction of the synthetic hormones are used for their intended purpose. Not only does this reduce the effectiveness of the treatment as a whole, the remaining synthetics can cause damage to the body and increase the risk of heart attacks or certain cancers.
Hormone Replacement Therapy Alternatives
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is a promising new alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapy which has gained increasing popularity in recent years. The hormones used in BHRT are technically synthetic, they are often referred to as “natural” hormones as they are specially designed to mimic naturally-produced “organic” hormones. The “natural” hormones also commonly come from plants (typically fruits and vegetables).
Because the body is unable to distinguish between the bioidentical hormones used in BHRT and its own, much more of the bioidentical hormones are accepted and used. This is why BHRT is believed to be much more effective than traditional alternatives. It may also be why BHRT is thought to be much safer than standard HRT in terms of its side effects.
A popular delivery method for BHRT is through the use of hormone pellets. A pellet the size of a grain of rice is injected into the muscle. The pellet dissolves over the course of weeks or months as it distributes hormones throughout the body. Because of this extended release, fewer treatments are needed over the course of the year. In all forms of BHRT, the dosage and medication schedule is uniquely designed to meet the needs of each patient. It is largely because the treatment is tailored to each individual patient that BHRT has not yet been approved by the FDA. BHRT is a fantastic way to treat androgen deficiency as well as imbalances in a wide variety of other hormones. Talk to a specialist about diagnosing and treating your androgen deficiency today. Call (209) 221-4987 or contact Dr. Kevin Wallace online.