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Five Important Questions about Men's Health

The level of testosterone, one of the main male hormones responsible not only for sexual function but also many other things is gradually decreasing starting from the age of 30. - Roman Rozhivanov, andrologist, chief researcher at the Institute of Reproductive Medicine at the Research Center for Endocrinology of Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, professor at the Institute for Higher and Further Education, at the Research Center for Endocrinology, told the Rossiyskaya Gazeta how to maintain male health longer.
Five Important Questions about Men's Health

Not everyone knows that our whole life, not only sexual functions, but also general well-being and the work of all body systems are directly dependent on hormones; there are lots of them. They are different and responsible for different things. There are necessary male hormones in female body, and male hormones cannot exist without female. It is imperative, however, for this diversity to be balanced.

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“A number of male hormones associated with sexual function are known; they are LH, FSH, inhibin, which few non-specialists know about. These hormones are necessary for spermatogenesis. And the well-known classics are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, - says Professor Rozhivanov. - They are “responsible” for sex drive, sexual behavior, and not only. Muscle growth, bone strength, the general body condition and even intellectual characteristics and vitality also depend on the level of these hormones."

What impairs hormone production?

Trouble sleeping: circadian rhythms influence hormone production. Therefore, when sleep is disturbed, circadian rhythms go wrong, and hormone production is disrupted.

Stress is a classic negative factor. “Sexual function is evolutionally needed to produce offspring. A favorable environment is necessary for its survival, - Roman Rozhivanov explains. - But if we live in constant stress, our body perceives the environment as unfavorable. Children are not a priority, and the sexual function is suppressed.”

Obesity is also a huge drawback. Endocrinologists eloquently proved long time ago that adipose tissue acted as a separate hormonal organ. There is a pathological synthesis of steroid hormones in it; they push out the production of necessary testosterone.

Taking steroid drugs: it is a well-known fact that bodybuilders who “build” powerful muscles with steroid supplements are often not able to perform basic male functions. “The anabolic steroids used by athletes are very similar to natural steroid hormones, - says Roman Rozhivanov. – Thus, our pituitary gland mistakenly takes them for own sex hormones. Since there is an excess, the production of own testosterone is inhibited.”

Hormonal balance is as important for male body as it is for female.

Intoxication of any origin: “endocrine profile is negatively affected by any harmful chemicals that get into organism,” says the professor.

Hypodynamia: a long fixed seat is especially harmful, circulation stagnation in pelvic organs takes place, and this is bad for sexual function.

Regular genital organ overheating: "testicles are not accidentally located in the scrotum outside and not inside the body, - says the doctor. - For their normal operation, the temperature should be 2-3 degrees below body temperature. Therefore, tight underwear as well as a heated seat may have a negative effect.”

Age: this is not a disease but a natural physiological process, testosterone level of all men older 30 years begins to decline. Total testosterone is 0.4-1.2 percent per year in average.

What determines the age at which a man begins to have problems?

“Firstly, it is the maximum testosterone level at the end of puberty, at the peak. Secondly, it is testosterone level decline rate, - Roman Rozhivanov explains. “If we cannot influence the first reason, then we can successfully fight the second (all above mentioned factors affect it).”

The main way to preserve male power as long as possible is to remove all negative factors.

“As cliché as it may sound but in most cases (if there are no irreversible changes, for example, testicular injury), the main method of treatment is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Among middle-aged men without concurrent diseases about 6 percent have testosterone deficiency. If we separate a group with obesity or diabetes, every second will have a problem. In a combination of several negative factors, stress plus physical inactivity, and bad habits, dysfunction can occur as early as at the age of 30 ".

Half of patients with a potentially reversible testosterone deficiency manage to normalize its level and restore sexual function only thanks to weight loss, increased physical activity and giving up bad habits. “Why is it only a half of patients? Because it is not enough to choose a program, some people just were not motivated for healthy lifestyle or simply could not lose weight,” Roman Rozhivanov explains.

What symptoms indicate male hormone deficiency?

The main symptoms are as follows:

Decreased libido;

Erectile dysfunction.

Additionally – vascular and autonomic dysfunction:

Hot flushes;


Heart rate, cardiodynia.

Psycho-emotional disorders:

Rapid fatigability;

Versatile disposition, tendency to depression;

Decrease in creative productivity;

Sleeping disorders.

Endocrine disorders:

Obesity, breast enlargement;

Reduction in facial hair.

Musculoskeletal disorders:

Decrease or, conversely, inadequate to physical activity muscle mass increase;

Bone ache.

Trophic disorders:

Dry skin, wrinkles.

Genitourinary Disorders:

Frequent urination;


Is medication possible?

“Pharmacological assistance is possible,” says Roman Rozhivanov. - But carrying out androgen replacement therapy is a strictly individual issue. All drugs are prescribed and self-medication is unacceptable. There are such contraindications as elevated hemoglobin level, some tumors. Prostate cancer is an absolute contraindication (but with benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment is possible). There are no special age restrictions, the question often asked by patients. If quality of life is not satisfactory and a man wants to improve it and there are no contraindications, please start therapy at any age and carry it out for life.”

Will hormone replacement therapy help maintain virile strength?

This is usually the first question that interests men more than anything else. The doctor says, it will help but this is not the main point. First of all, maintaining testosterone levels preserves muscle strength, prevents secondary obesity, and improves metabolism.

“There is a curious fact regarding the rehabilitation of sexual function. When problems begin men usually do not refer doctor, but go to pharmacy and ask for something effective for erection sustention. They start taking drugs but due to lack of effect get completely disappointed,” said the professor. - But no one warned the man (and the pharmacist does not have to know such details) that stimulant drugs do not work well with hormonal dysfunction. If hormone deficiency is eliminated the effect will be much better.”


Photos are from open sources.

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