Understanding Hormone Health as You Age
September 20, 2023
Welcome to Issue #3 of Nourish, a newsletter designed to give you actionable tips and information on how to take control of your mind, body, and spirit. If you missed Issue #2 in our series, Why Self-Diagnosis Leads to Trouble, you can click here to read it now.
In today’s blog, I will be sharing insights about what happens to your hormones as you progress through life:
To really sink our teeth in on this one, we must first understand what’s happening hormonally as we age. Hormone changes are understood to be normal parts of the aging process. This includes estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, as well as insulin, cortisol, and melatonin.
In your 20s, testosterone levels have reached their peak by 18 to 20 years of age. Estrogen levels reach their peak in the mid to late 20s for most women.
Generally, we start to see circulating testosterone levels decrease around 35-40 years of age, bringing about some symptoms like changes in muscle and fat, or decreased libido. Likewise, estrogen and progesterone continue to decline gradually in women throughout their 30s, impacting mood, libido, and fertility.
In women, there is a drop in progesterone and shorter cycles, then more irregular cycles until they finally stop with menopause. In men, testosterone continues to decrease by roughly 1% each year.
Around the age of 50, the ovaries produce very little estrogen and progesterone. The pituitary gland tries to compensate by producing more follicle-stimulating hormones. At this age, some men may experience andropause, a significant dropoff in testosterone production.
Both men and women need to maintain a healthy hormone balance. A few ways to promote hormone balance include:
- Exercising regularly. Exercise helps to boost estrogen and testosterone production.
- Eating a balanced diet filled with fruits and vegetables reduces sugar/alcohol intake. Eating plenty of protein also helps release hormones that control your appetite.
- Placing an emphasis on self-care by reducing overall stress. With long-term stress, adrenaline, and cortisol stay elevated, increasing your risk for anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, obesity, and even heart disease.
Decreased testosterone symptoms:
- increased body fat
- decreased strength/mass of muscles
- fragile bones
- decreased body hair
- swelling/tenderness in the breast tissue
- hot flashes
- increased fatigue
- effects on cholesterol metabolism
Signs of low estrogen:
- Dry skin
- Moodiness and irritability
- Vaginal dryness or atrophy/painful sex
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Irregular or no periods
- Headaches or worsening migraines
- Increase in UTIs
Common symptoms of low progesterone:
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Difficulty conceiving
- Mood changes, anxiety, or depression
- Trouble sleeping
- Hot flashes
- Bloating or weight gain
If you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms and have been unable to pinpoint why, it’s likely that a hormone issue is the root cause.
Thank you for reading.
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