The Two Hormones Men & Women Run On
The difference between men and women boils down to two key hormones:
Both men and women need both, but in different amounts. How men and women age is controlled by the balance between these two important hormones. Let’s break down what they do.
It’s not a stretch to say men run on testosterone. Their bodies and brains are designed to operate best in a high-testosterone environment.
Testosterone is responsible for men’s higher sex drive and is critical to promote healthy sperm production. Testosterone affects male sexual development and secondary sexual characteristics like body hair, facial hair, and the deepening of the voice. Testosterone is androgenic, meaning it supports muscle growth, which determines where men store body fat, and even strengthens the immune system.
A man’s mood, energy level and general sense of well-being are all strongly impacted by testosterone levels.
It may surprise you, but testosterone is not just for men. Women need it too!
A woman’s ovaries produce a much smaller amount of testosterone than a man’s testes (about one-tenth as much). As with men, testosterone strengthens a woman’s libido and supports muscle growth. Testosterone also helps maintain reproductive tissues and healthy bone density.
Men’s testosterone levels typically begin to decline in their late early to mid-30’s. Women usually experience a drop in testosterone levels during perimenopause; but in many women it can happen earlier. In both men and women, a decline in testosterone is usually accompanied by a drop in libido, reduced muscle mass, and diminished energy levels.
If men run on testosterone, women run on estrogen.
Estrogen is produced by the ovaries in women, estrogen regulates a woman’s sexual development and reproductive system much like testosterone does in men. Estrogen is critically important for proper bone growth and maintenance, as well as cardiovascular health and proper brain function. Estrogen also strongly impacts women’s moods.
But what about men? Much like women and testosterone, men need just a little estrogen.
In men, estrogen is produced from the breakdown of testosterone, called aromatization, this is a process regulated by enzymes that convert testosterone into estrogen. In other words, some of a man’s testosterone is converted to estrogen. Men need estrogen for optimal brain function, healthy bones, cardiovascular function, as well as to regulate libido.
Hormone Balance is Key
Both essential hormones play important roles for both men and women.
However, the relationship between them drives many of the changes men and women experience as they get older. These changes can have major effects on both physical and mental health and well-being.
Both sexes lose testosterone with age, resulting in a declining libido, loss of muscle mass, loss of bone bone mass, and reduced energy levels.
Women lose estrogen leading up to and during menopause. This causes a host of problems including weight gain, bone loss, hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, and dry painful sex.
Men do not typically lose estrogen as they age, but their loss of testosterone during andropause (sometimes called male menopause) can result in estrogen having a larger influence in comparison to the diminished testosterone. Coupled with the loss of testosterone, this lowers sex drive, contributes to erectile dysfunction, causes fatigue, and can result in increased body fat that is harder to lose.
What Should You Do?
Whether you are a man or women, you will experience changes in the balance between estrogen, and testosterone as you get older. No one escapes it, and symptoms can begin to appear as early as your 30’s.
Properly supervised hormone replacement therapy using bio-identical hormones can help you restore and maintain proper hormone balance.
Are you ready to discover, or rediscover, a new, youthful you?
Seattle Regenerative Medicine Center is here to help.