What is HGH?
Human growth hormone, or Growth Hormone (GH), also known as somatropin, is an important hormone that is naturally synthesized in the human body and is secreted from the anterior pituitary gland also known as the adenohypophysis.
Growth Hormone is a vital and essential peptide hormone, especially during the early childhood years and also during adolescence as it boosts bone growth and metabolism. Furthermore, GH also plays a crucial role in the regeneration of cells as well as reproduction, thereby maintaining an overall homeostasis in the human body.
HGH also regulates the release of the insulin-like peptide, namely IGF-1 which is important for proper metabolism and bone growth in the human body.
Read Also: HGH and Its Anti Aging Effects On The Skin
HGH is a vital hormone for the proper functioning of the human body and therefore the deficiency of this hormone can be extremely detrimental to one’s health. HGH deficiency can either be congenital or acquired, transient or permanent, and of childhood or adulthood onset.
In children, HGH deficiency manifests as short stature with a young-looking face, mild to moderate chubbiness, delayed or no puberty, and impaired hair growth. Whereas in adults, HGH deficiency presents with higher fat content in the body, anxiety, and depression, decreased sexual libido, fatigue, and loss of muscle mass.
Moreover, HGH deficiency also results in decreased bone density and insulin sensitivity, which can result in the development of comorbidities.
HGH deficiency can be due to several etiologies, each of them diagnosed and treated accordingly. Generally, congenital HGH deficiency is treated using recombinant human growth hormone (r-HGH) injections. Although not supported by any strong studies HGH supplements are also available for those who have acquired or adult-onset HGH deficiency. These oral HGH supplements are not HGH themselves but instead work by increasing the HGH secretion in the body.
These supplements are often used by bodybuilders and athletes for the purpose of increasing lean muscle and decreasing body fat content. This is one of the reasons why discussions of HGH and its deficiency are almost always surrounding their effects on men, although the disease itself has no predilection for the gender.
HGH deficiency in women
In fact, women have higher levels of the hormone than men. Moreover, growth hormone levels are strongly associated with estrogen levels in women, hence explaining the decline of growth hormone in peri-menopausal and menopausal periods where estrogen levels decrease significantly.
Symptoms of HGH deficiency in women
Women who have HGH deficiency can suffer from a variety of symptoms during this period such as:
- Sleeping Difficulties such as insomnia
- Weaker bones with reduced bone density due to osteoporosis leading to bone fractures with minimal trauma
- Increased fat around the waist
- Obesity and Overweight
- Loss of lean muscle mass
- Irregularities in the menstrual cycle that can lead to infertility
- Fluctuating moods, anxiety, depression, or other psychological disorders
- Overall increase in body mass index
- Decreased sex drive
- Vaginal Dryness that can lead to early-onset senile vaginitis
- Premature aging
- Hair loss
- Thinner skin
These symptoms can be explained due to the direct reduction in both, estrogen, growth hormone, and a consequential decrease in IGF-1.
In an Australian study, the researchers hypothesized that GH actions were attenuated by estrogen administration and SERM (Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators) use. To test their hypothesis, they treated GH deficient women with Raloxifene, a potent SERM medication.
The use of raloxifene resulted in a gain in muscle mass and improved IGF-1 activity, hence providing conclusive evidence of estrogen and SERMs effects on GH deficient women.
Treatment of HGH deficiency in women
1. Ipamorelin Acetate Treatment
This treatment option is the gold-standard of HGH-alternative therapy since it is the safest and the most effective option available. It’s a bioidentical treatment option that stimulates the release of GH from the anterior pituitary.
2. Sermorelin Acetate Treatment
This HGH-stimulating therapy is a great option for women as it not only stimulates the release of growth hormone but also increases the IGF-1 levels.
3. r-HGH injections
These HGH injections are recombinant human growth hormone that works directly on the body like the naturally occurring growth hormone would, rather than stimulating the secretion of HGH from the anterior pituitary gland.
Gupta, Vishal. “Adult growth hormone deficiency.” Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism vol. 15 Suppl 3,Suppl3 (2011): S197-202. doi:10.4103/2230-8210.84865
Birzniece, Vita et al. “Effects of raloxifene and estrogen on bioactive IGF1 in GH-deficient women.” European journal of endocrinology vol. 170,3 375-83. 4 Feb. 2014, doi:10.1530/EJE-13-0835