Hormones and Men

The role of male hormones is at the same time extremely important and baffling

We are bombarded by continuous reinforcement of how different men and women are. Not only do we think differently, many would have us functioning differently on a physiologic level as well. Yet we have the same internal organs and mechanisms to make our hearts beat, to breathe air in the lungs, to digest the food we eat, and to excrete the waste we create. Why would men and women be different when it comes to the hormone depletion we unequivocally have established is associated with aging?

When I became involved with the study of hormones, I never thought in terms of men. My involvement was mostly based on personal experience and need. I wanted a safe solution for my personal symptoms of hormone deficiency and by association found solutions for my female patients. I did not address men, but was an error of omission. No sooner did I focus my clinical practice on natural hormone supplementation for women, that the women started to discuss and include their men.

Without any doubts, testosterone was the hormone that differentiates men from women. It is made in the testicles and is responsible for the production and multiplication of healthy sperm. Secondary sexual characteristics occur as a direct result of testosterone flooding the boy’s system in early puberty. Testosterone makes his voice change, it makes body and pubic hair grow, perspiration develop its typical pungent male odor, makes the penis and the testicles grow to adult size, makes men stronger than women, and enables them to develop beautifully sculptured bodies shortly after starting a regular work-out program. And yes, testosterone is probably responsible for the way men think and process problems. That is where my basic education on testosterone ended.

What followed in my medical school course about male endocrinology, was a series of syndromes and illnesses associated mostly with testosterone deficiency. Oddly enough, they all seem to occur in young men, unlike the later timing of the appearance of hormone problems in women.

Once you made it through puberty and adolescence, you brought down undescended testicles, treated the rare case of testicular cancer, an occasional inflammation or infection of the foreskin, or addressed poor sperm motility in infertile men, testosterone very much disappeared from the medical vocabulary. And even more oddly, it never returned.

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