Let's be honest, we all think hormonal imbalance is a female problem...
Only women suffer from the debilitating effects of messy hormones.
But statistics actually show that about 40% of men above 45 suffer from low testosterone, with many more suffering before they reach that age.
Furthermore, many of them also suffer from estrogen dominance.
Unfortunately, this goes undiagnosed for many years because we all (including our doctors) believe that they are merely 'overworked' and stress.
In many cases, the situation often progresses to chronic disorders.
In this episode, I share with you what male hormonal imbalance look like, and how you can help the love of your life to start turning this around.
Other episodes referenced:
Well hello my friend, and welcome back to episode 41 of the Beauty in Balance podcast!
As always, I’m so grateful to have you here, and having the opportunity to share my thoughts and research with women all over the world has been a true joy and privilege for me. So thank you for being here and for sharing this with friends and loved ones.
Now as you may now, this podcast is all about women, our hormones, how to achieve balance, what are the things that disrupt our hormones, etc.
But today, I wanna shift the focus slightly, because I’ve had some enquiries about this.
So let’s spend some time today and talk about hormonal imbalance in men, what it looks like how it impacts their lives, and how likely your husband is to develop hormonal imbalances.
Hormonal imbalances amongst men is much more common than you may think. Generally, men don’t tend to pay any attention to this but also, the majority of us typically believe that only women experience hormonal imbalance, so we don’t even consider this as an option for our husbands.
The American Urological Association reports that about about 40% of males ages 45 and older have low levels of testosterone, so almost half of the men aged 45 and over have low levels of testosterone. And this has a significant impact on health and quality of life.
It also doesn’t mean that men younger than 45 won’t be affected by this. There is certainly still a significant percentage of men that start struggling with the effects of low testosterone at an earlier age as well. And it’s quite easy to assume the symptoms are there because of being overworked, or being tired. But if left, these symptoms will eventually have a significant impact on health and the quality of life.
So what does hormonal imbalance look like in men?
Well, just like we have small quantities of testosterone, men also produce small quantities of progesterone, which is important for their testosterone levels because progesterone is the precursor, or building block for testosterone.
Progesterone is also important, because it balances out the estrogen for men, just like it does for us ladies.
So hormonal imbalance for men usually looks like low testosterone, low progesterone and estrogen that is out of control.
So what does that actually look like?
We’ll depending on the actual levels of estrogen, and testosterone specifically, symptoms may vary, but will likely include
Mental health issues, specifically depression
Loss of muscle mass
Weight gain, specifically around the waist and sometimes also enlarged breast tissue
And if left unmanaged, it can go on to lead to
and a long list of other chronic conditions that may be specific to each individual.
Sometimes, just like with us as women, diagnosis can take a very long time and often, these symptoms can go undiagnosed.
Now, before we can start addressing these symptoms, I think it is important to understand first what the causes are of hormonal imbalance in men.
Because when we understand the cause, we know how to turn it around from the root cause. And i believe that is crucial.
Understanding why things have happened, and then start doing things differently so that we can get a different outcome.
So the main causes of hormonal imbalance in men are:
Number 1: Stress
This is probably not coming as a surprise to you.
Most men are the primary providers in our households, so often they feel the financial pressures more than we do.
And I think often men are more driven to reach certain goals and perform.
And my guess is, that certainly in my culture, men don’t find it easy to talk about past trauma, emotions, their feelings of inadequacy, etc. So they work harder to perform better and prove to everyone, including themselves, that they are worthy. This leads to massively high and unrealistic expectations on themselves.
So stress is a major contributor to hormonal imbalance, and until men don’t learn to deal with it in a productive way, unfortunately they’ll keep paying the price with their health, just like we do.
So maybe a conversation about this could be a really good start. And exploring the causes of stress for the man in your life and how you can support each other to overcome this.
There are definitely some supplements which could be helpful, which I’ll get to at the end of this episode.
Number 2: Exposure to xeno-estrogens. These are molecules that act like estrogens in our body.
Particularly with men in their older 30’s, as production of testosterone and progesterone start to decline, these additional hormones can lead to estrogen getting out of control and leads to a wide range of symptoms like the ones I”ve mentioned before, but also an increased risk for various cancers and bone disease.
This is a factor that I believe is very underestimated in our society.
For years, I naively believed that the governing bodies in my country would never allow harmful chemicals to be sold in our supermarkets. But nothing can be further from the truth.
The cleaning and beauty products in our supermarkets are filled with chemicals that act like estrogen molecules in our bodies.
Hence why girls now go into puberty at a much younger age.
But this is also the reason why men suffer from estrogen dominance.
Not only are xeno-estrogens in cleaning products, fragrances and selfcare products, but it’s also on and in our food.
The majority of fresh produce in NZ is not organic, which means ur food is covered with herbicides and pesticides. And I’m guessing it’s the same in the US, australia and other countries.
So it’s important that we are very mindful about the food that we eat and I’ll provide you with more information towards the end of this episode.
Number 3: Nutrition
In my years of working with people, I’ve noticed that, in general, women are more aware of the foods that they eat. Men on the other hand, tend to eat whatever they want, as they usually don’t struggle with weight gain in their younger years as much as we do. So they get away with a lot more in terms of their health.
But as they age, this will start to catch up with them.
High intake of beer, low intake of veggies and a diet that generally is lacking in many nutrients will eventually lead to lowered production of hormones like testosterone.
Just as it is critical for us to eat foods that will provide adequate nutrients for hormonal balance, it’s the same for men. And even though I’ll provide you with some ideas at the end of this episode, I would love to encourage you to listen to episode 37, where you’ll get heaps of ideas around building hormone healing meals. And all of that information in there will also be useful for your hubby.
Ok, moving to number 4: Lack of sleep
Just like with us, men also need good quality sleep and enough hours in order to heal and recover. If they don’t get that for an extended period of time, their hormones will certainly start to suffer. So a good bedtime routine, and making sure he gets enough good quality sleep is really critical. You can refer to episode 39 to get some ideas and maybe the 2 of you can discuss a bedtime routine that you can practice together. This is something that Michiel and I do. We combine our bedtime routines and it works so well for us. We keep each other accountable in terms of when is a reasonable time to be going to bed and neither of us have FOMO if only one of us go to bed. So maybe the 2 of you can explore some options together.
Number 5: Lack of exercise
I think the problem here, is that men are often totally overworked and exhausted by the time they get home in the early evening. They have no desire or energy to exercise and they get stuck in a very negative downward spiral. Because the less the exercise, the less they have the energy to actually start exercising. And weight training is absolutely critical for testosterone production.
Exercise also helps to improve sleep quality.
Which brings me to number 6: being overweight.
Excess fat tissue leads to higher levels of estrogen and you’ll remember that estrogen dominance is one of the biggest forms of hormonal imbalance that men struggle with. So the less the exercise, the more they pick up weight and the more their hormonal imbalance is aggravated. But breaking out of this cycle doesn’t have to be complicated and it’s truly possible. And I’ll get to in just a second
Ok so let’s get to the real practical stuff. What can you do to support your husband through this and what kind of lifestyle changes can he make to start supporting his own hormonal imbalance?
Well, the good news, is that it’s very similar to what you need to do to balance your hormones. So it can be a team effort for the 2 of you.
So here goes.
Firstly, consuming enough protein and healthy fats
We know that the building blocks for all hormones include cholesterol. Your body physically can’t create hormones without healthy fats.
I know men love eating meat, but in general, their intake can be very carb heavy. Also, I think the focus can be a lot less on healthy fats too.
So make sure that each meal contains plenty of healthy fats and proteins.
Some examples of healthy fats include avocado, olives, olive oil, salmon and other fatty fish, nuts, and seeds
And like always, dress those carbs with proteins and fats.
In other words, encourage hubby to not have carbs only in any one meal or snack, but rather to balance those carbs out with fats and proteins.
Secondly, include plenty of plant-based foods and a probiotic every day
Gut health is incredibly important to maintain healthy hormonal balance.
So taking a probiotic every day is very important to make sure you maintain the healthy flora in the gut.
And then you need to keep that bacteria alive by feeding it prebiotics. You may have heard of this.
Generally, my recommendation is that you don’t need to supplement prebiotics, if your diet is filled with plant-based foods.
The fibre in plant material is the food that the good bacteria need to stay alive!
I generally make sure I feed my family plant based foods for every meal and snack.
And here’s what I want you to take away from this episode today: start counting the number of plant-based foods on every plate.
That will help you to be more mindful of how much vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds you eat every day and I guarantee that this practice will help you to increase your plantfood intake!
The third factor that is important to address, is stress management
No this is a tricky one.
I think in our western society, we all learn to such it up and get on with it.
Women tend to speak easier about their struggles, but I think men get a little bit more stuck here.
Their stress is very high and their skills to cope with it is very low.
They tend to not pay any attention to their bodily cues and push it to the side.
I think women sort of reach the point where they break down and talk to somebody, but in my experience, this is not the same for men. They can keep pushing through this for years.
So what i try to do to support Michiel (my husband) is to pay attention to him and his mental wellness. And when I notice that something is off, I try to pull his attention to that in a gentle way. Just so that he can be more aware of his body response and internal struggles.
I don’t always try to solve his problems, but rather bring his attention to his physical response.
I think this is very useful for men, to learn to pay attention to their body cues.
But then obviously some practical things to support them through higher stress will include exercising, getting out in nature, having a hobby that they practice regularly and then supplements like ashwagandha that will help the body to adapt to stress in a stronger way.
Which brings me to number 4: Good quality sleep
You can not manage stress without having good restorative sleep.
And you also can’t have healthy hormones without it!
No matter how nutritious his diet or how consistent his exercise routine, getting enough restorative sleep is crucial for optimal health. Poor sleep is linked to imbalances in many different hormones, including insulin, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin and growth hormone. So it will ultimately not only affect testosterone and estrogen levels, but also hormones regulating appetite and also gut health.
So it’s important for men to have healthy night routines. This can include
Doing something that helps them to wind down
Not consuming alcohol or caffeine before bedtime
Heading to bed at a reasonable time every night
Having a consistent routine every night
Not exercising within 2 hours of bedtime
And making sure that he gets about 8 hours sleep every night
Number 5: Exercise
So often, I see specifically with men, that they assume exercising means they need to go to the gym and lift heavy stuff.
I can’t say this enough, exercise is movement. And although high intensity and weight training is important, when you have severely unbalanced hormones, the best thing that you can do is to walk.
Quite often, with unbalanced hormones, specifically low testosterone and estrogen dominance, men tend to gain a lot of weight, especially around the waist.
What you need in a case like that, is not necessarily higher intensity or tough exercise. These men need to walk, as it will calm the cortisol stress response, facilitate good lymph drainage, increase cardiovascular funcion, it serves as resistance training and so much more.
So if you suspect your husband is struggling from hormonal imbalance, or even if it has been diagnosed and he is on some sort of medication such as synthetic hormones, get him to walk with you every single day and I can guarantee that he will start to see some improvements real soon.
Walk walk walk, until his body is in a healthy balanced state, and then take up all of the hard core exercise again. Because that kind of exercise is also important for production of testosterone and bone health. But just remember that healing requires a lot of patience with yourself, intentional effort and…….. walking!
And finally, limiting those beers!
Here’s something you may not have known.
Beer contains phytoestrogens and prolactin, 2 chemicals that can increase estrogen production in the body. Not only will this lead to estrogen dominance, but it will also decrease the production of testosterone.
Now listen to this interesting fact. Menopausal symptoms are largely due to the low levels of estrogen.
A study was done in 2021 on menopausal women, where the intervention group consumed beer every day, and the control group did not.
They found that those that consumed beer every day, had a statistically significant improvement in menopausal symptoms compared to the control group.
Now I’m not suggesting that you start drinking beer every day, but what I am saying, is that beer can have a significant effect on hormonal profile, specifically estrogen. Which is largely why these women saw an improvement in their menopausal symptoms.
So you can imagine, if your husband is having a beer every day, how it is most likely affecting his hormonal profile? Specifically potentially leading to estrogen dominance.
So my recommendation would be that he would have no more than 4 beers in a week.
If he is motivated to get fast results and support the underlying hormonal imbalance as fast as possible, my recommendation would be to avoid alcohol, specifically beer, completely for about 3 months to allow his body to heal as fast as possible. And from there, always be mindful of the amount of alcohol consumed during a 7 day period. Like I said, limiting alcohol intake to 4 drinks a week.
I hope this was a helpful episode.
A little bit out of the ordinary for my usual podcast episodes, but I’ve had a few instances where women have asked about this.
So I want you to know that men can also experience the debilitating effects of hormonal imbalance, it may just look slightly different for them.
And if left unaddressed, it will lead to kidney impairment, bone density issues, sleep apnea, other breathing issues, cardiovascular disease, the list is really long.
So if you see these signs and symptoms, it may be time to look at the 6 things that I’ve mentioned here today.
If you’ve found this episode helpful, please share it with a friend or loved one, and subscribe to my podcast to get the latest updates straight to your phone.
Thanx for being here friend.
Until next week
Bye for now