For those not as familiar with the endocrine system, the endocrine glands are responsible for secreting numerous hormones into the bloodstream. When those hormones enter the bloodstream, they then make a beeline to various tissues and organs in the body. This complex process helps regulate several life-sustaining functions, such as growth and development, metabolism, mood, sexual function, reproduction, and much more. As we get older, however, this complex process becomes far less efficient. Studies show that from around age 30, the body produces less of the hormones it needs to function optimally, some of which include human growth hormone (HGH), testosterone, and estrogen.
The Truth About Low Hormone Levels and Aging
When we are young, the glands in the endocrine system produce hormones that contribute to strong bones and muscles, not to mention healthy, radiant skin. These things, and many others, are the hallmarks of youth. While many hormones play a part in allowing us to look and feel young, testosterone, HGH, and estrogen are among the primary contributors. To appreciate why this is the case, it helps to look at each of these three hormones individually:
Although often thought of as a male hormone, testosterone is a hormone that female and male bodies both need to function optimally. In men, the testes are responsible for secreting testosterone. In women, the ovaries and the adrenal glands handle this task. While the degree to which this is the case varies in men and women, testosterone regulates fertility, muscle mass, fat distribution, and the production of red blood cells. Low testosterone levels in women can trigger fatigue, low libido, weight gain, and fertility issues. Thinning hair, dry skin, and a decline in muscle mass and overall strength are also common signs of low testosterone levels in women. All of these things can make women look and feel older. As far as men are concerned, low testosterone can contribute to the following:
- A decline in muscle mass
- Erectile dysfunction
- Hot flashes
- Loss of body hair
- Low sperm count
- Reduced sex drive
- Shrunken testicles
Like women, the ill effects of low testosterone can cause men to look and feel much older. And it does not end there; the associated low sperm count, erectile dysfunction, and decline in sex drive can each rob them of the ability to father children.
Human Growth Hormones
In men and women, the pituitary gland is the endocrine gland primarily responsible for secreting HGH. Too little of this hormone can cause both genders to look and feel considerably older. Several studies have linked low HGH levels to dry, thin, and wrinkled skin. The same studies also found low HGH levels in a man’s or woman’s bloodstream can trigger a decline in lean muscle mass, bone density, and overall strength.
In men, the testes and adrenal glands are the endocrine glands that secrete estrogen. In women, the ovaries and the adrenal glands are responsible for secreting these all-important hormones. According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, low estrogen following menopause, among many other things, results in atrophic skin changes and the acceleration of skin aging. The study found that low estrogen in men contributed to low libido, osteoporosis, and above-average testosterone levels. In both genders, low estrogen can open the door to dry eyes, dry skin, and the development of fine lines, especially around the mouth and on the forehead.
Is There a Hormone Therapy That Helps With Aging?
Several forms of hormone replacement therapy can help with aging. That said, the nature of one’s hormone imbalance will inform what kind of therapy will work best. In short, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) entails artificially supplying the body with hormones that it can no longer produce enough of naturally. And this generally involves the use of prescription-based hormone replacement drugs. For example, many endocrinologists will prescribe Sogroya, Humatrope, Genotropin, or Saizen to individuals with low HGH levels. Similarly, they may prescribe Androgel or Androgerm to someone with low testosterone levels. For those struggling with low estrogen levels, HRT might be in the form of Premarin or some other synthetic estrogen drug.
In summary, multiple hormonal imbalances can cause premature aging. And that premature aging can be in the form of weight gain, sexual dysfunction, loss of bone or lean muscle mass, or dry, less radiant skin. But hormone replacement therapy with a licensed physician can help undo some of the damage caused by most hormonal imbalances. To learn more, consider speaking with one of our friendly associates today at 205-352-9141.