By Dr. Lydia
This week I prescribed a prostate supplement to a woman. She was shocked! “Dr. Lydia, this is basic anatomy! Women do not have prostates.” Which is completely true, but sometimes women do have too much testosterone. The same type of testosterone that causes benign hypertrophy (a fancy way of saying non-cancerous growth) of the male prostate gland can cause health problems for women as well. I treat many different types of hormonal concerns, but in the last few months I’ve seen numerous patients, both male and female, who have testosterone levels that are either too high or too low.
Testosterone is an androgenic hormone present in men and women. Androgenic means that it creates male sex characteristics in the body. For example testosterone causes males to have a deeper voice, increased body hair and loss of hair from the scalp, which is known as male pattern baldness. Testosterone helps us feel energetic and builds muscle and bone. Hormones are like a symphony orchestra, every instrument has to be balanced to create beautiful music. Too much or too little testosterone, or any hormone, can wreak havoc on your body.
If you are a male who is feeling more fatigued, less muscular or is having issues with your sexual performance, get your testosterone checked. This simple blood test is best performed between 7am and 10am. Timing is important to get an accurate reading.
Low testosterone can be corrected with either natural means or pharmaceuticals. Bioidentical hormones, gels and creams are emerging as a more popular way to boost testosterone, than the injections previously used. Between 2001 and 2011 testosterone prescriptions tripled for men over 40, as hormone replacement therapy gained popularity as the fountain of youth. Correcting hormone deficiencies will improve your health, but should be supervised by your naturopathic or family doctor.
Why would a woman need a prostate supplement? Well, there is a certain type of testosterone that can be problematic. Dihydrotestosterone causes enlargement of the prostate and male pattern baldness. When women have high levels of this form of testosterone they notice hair growth on their chest, face and a trail of hair from their navel to pubic region. Jaw line acne is another telltale sign that this testosterone has gone out of whack. Male pattern baldness, thinning hair at the crown and a receding hairline, can also happen to females if hormonal imbalances go unchecked for long enough.
The bottom line is that hormones are an important determinant of your overall health. Getting your levels checked with your naturopathic doctor can help you get to the bottom of some all too common and pesky health concerns. A word of caution; do not treat suspected hormonal problems without medical supervision.