Alternative Names age-related changes in hormone production
Definition As the body ages, the amounts of certain hormones the body produces change.
What is the information for this topic? There are many different hormones in the body. Each has different effects on the body. The hormone changes seen in women at menopause are most likely to cause symptoms. Menopause occurs when a woman stops making enough of the female hormone called oestrogen. The ovaries make oestrogen. Menopause usually occurs around age 50. A woman may go through menopause earlier if she has her ovaries removed. Low oestrogen levels can cause many symptoms. These may include:
The level of most other hormones in the body either stays the same or decreases slightly. However, these age-related changes do not seem to affect people. For example, the adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys, may make fewer hormones with age. Though these hormones are important in fluid and salt balance, problems do not usually occur. Insulin secretion, which helps keep a normal blood sugar, usually decreases with age. However, healthy older people do not usually have a problem with blood sugar.
There is little that can be done to reverse the age-related changes in hormone levels. However, hormone replacement pills or Injections are helpful in some cases. Oestrogen replacement for women is usually the most helpful. Oestrogen pills can get rid of hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and vaginal dryness. Hormone therapy has risks and side effects, however, and women should discuss these with a doctor. Rarely, testosterone can help an older man feel better.
Taking other hormones, such as growth hormone, has not been shown to be helpful in healthy people and may cause harm.
Author: James Broomfield, MD Reviewer: HealthAnswers Australia Medical Review Panel Editor: Dr David Taylor, Chief Medical Officer HealthAnswers Australia Last Updated: 1/10/2001 Contributors Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request
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