15th Jun 2017

How hormones in men and women change as they age

FONT SIZE: A+ A-
older woman with hormone replacement therapy medicine
Amelia Theodorakis

As you move through the stages of life you experience a number of physical and mental changes that can be attributed to your hormones. Ageing is marked by fluctuations in hormones, meaning some hormones increase in production while others decrease (mostly the latter). To help you better understand what is happening in your body, we discuss some of the changes men and women are likely to experience as they grow older.

For women
Menopause is the most common consequence of ageing-related hormonal changes in a woman’s body. Around the age of 50, ovaries begin to decrease the production of the female sex hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. As a result, the pituitary gland, which controls several glands in the body including the ovaries, overcompensates by producing more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

Menopause happens to every woman at one stage or another but symptoms can vary in discomfort and severity.

Some symptoms include:

  • hot flushes
  • vaginal dryness
  • decreased libido
  • irritability and depression
  • decrease on bone density
  • insomnia.



Getting help with symptoms: Traditionally, it was common for doctors to prescribe the long-term use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – an oral oestrogen/progesterone combination – to ease menopause symptoms. However, in early 2000, some studies showed that women who took HRT were at a greater risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and blood clots. Health experts indicate that taking oestrogen and progesterone is fine to assist with the transition to menopause, but only for a short time.

In the meantime, there are a number of menopause treatments, including natural alternatives, which may help alleviate symptoms.

From the age of 65 it is important for women to begin having regular bone density screenings to detect osteoporosis early.

For men
Andropause is not exactly male menopause, since not all men will experience it. However, it does happen to about 20 per cent of men over the age of 60 and 30-50 per cent of men over the age of 80. Andropause is marked by a significant decline in testosterone production. As hormone levels fall away, the pituitary gland, which controls the testes, produces more follicle-stimulating hormone.

Some symptoms include:

  • decrease in muscle mass and overall strength
  • decrease in bone density (increased risk of osteoporosis)
  • low libido and erectile dysfunction
  • decreased energy
  • increased depression
  • cognitive impairment.

 

Getting help with symptoms: Men experiencing any of these symptoms should have their testosterone levels tested. Testosterone replacement can sometimes be an option, though this does carry associated risks. Testosterone therapy may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, worsen sleep apnoea and cause an overproduction of red blood calls, leading to a corresponding risk of blood clots. Testosterone therapy can also cause existing prostate cancer to develop faster.

Ultimately, maintaining a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet, along with regular prostate checks and monitoring of your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and blood cell levels can be the best ways to manage andropause.

It is also important from the age of 70 for men to begin having regular bone density screenings to test for osteoporosis.

Related articles:
Get to know your menopause
Are your hormones keeping you awake?
How your thyroid affects your health





COMMENTS

To make a comment, please register or login
Rosret
19th Jun 2017
4:06pm
Good luck with finding a doctor that will prescribe any hormone treatments.
buby
21st Jun 2017
1:33pm
Me thinks they are sticking so many hormones into our food already perhaps we that is why we don't need to ask for any extra's lol?


Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

  • Receive our daily enewsletter
  • Enter competitions
  • Comment on articles

you might also be interested in...

Why you should drink only water

A case for why you should forgo the coffee and switch to water.

How to get rid of hayfever fast

The sneezy season is almost upon us, and hayfever sufferers are beginning to seek hayfever relief.

Ten early signs of dementia

How do you know if memory loss and confusion are just signs of getting older or are the first indicators that something more sinister is wrong?

How long will you live

David Williams shares how to measure your longevity, and how it shapes your retirement.

Early signs of heart trouble

Early signs and strange symptoms that may potentially indicate heart disease.