Hormonal imbalances are often associated with the development and aging of women. However, hormonal imbalances caused by fluctuating testosterone levels may also be present in some adolescent males. Discover how to recognize such imbalances in a teen boy in order to help him understand what's happening to his body, as well as to assist him in getting medical treatment when applicable.
Look on the boy's chest for gynecomastia, enlarged breasts, that are not attributed to exercise and muscular development. Enlarged breasts can be differentiated from muscular growth by their softer appearance over the boy's entire chest, while muscular growth will be firmer and more defined. Additional symptoms include increased nipple sensitivity and tenderness around the general chest area. Gynecomastia will typically go away on its own after one to two years. Medical attention is not necessary unless the boy experiences emotional problems attributed to the breast growth.
Watch for severe weight gain, which is often connected with gynecomastia. An inadequate supply of testosterone and an excess of estrogen will cause unusual weight gain. Similarly, increased weight gain will further the production of estrogen, thus creating a cycle of hormonal imbalance in teen boys. Exercise and weight loss may help stave off further hormonal imbalances.
Ask if the teen boy experiences problems with his erectile tissue. This is a sensitive issue, and you may not wish to broach this topic unless the boy brings it up himself. Insufficient supplies of testosterone will exhibit itself physiologically as erectile dysfunction, which typically is highly unusual among adolescent males. Furthermore, prolonged testosterone deficiencies may cause the male reproductive organs to decrease in size.
Be aware of rapid mood swings, including prolonged periods of fatigue or depression that is not the norm for the teen. This may be difficult to judge without a professional consultation, as teenagers may experience mood swings normally. However, any extreme changes in mood that are noticed by a parent or caregiver should be taken into consideration as a potential sign of hormonal imbalance.
Tips & Warnings
- Hormone imbalances in teen boys can often be moderated by an dosage of testosterone through a patch or injection as prescribed by a doctor. Teen boys who exercise, consume wholesome food and integrate other aspects of a healthy, active lifestyle may minimize their risks of experiencing testosterone imbalances.
- Hormonal imbalances may be caused by steroid usage, a rising trend among some adolescent males.
- Gynecomastia - A medical Dictionary, Bibliography and Annotated Research Guide; ICON Health Publications; 2004.
- Mark H. Beers; The Merck Manual of Medical Information; Merck; 2003.
- "Gynecomastia." C.S. Matt Children's Hospital. University of Michigan Health System. 2009.