in recent years there has been increasing discussion about the effects of changing hormone levels in men. As women age and reach menopause, so do men reach andropause, which is characterized by a gradual decline in the production of testosterone, an androgen hormone that is produced in the testicles and adrenal glands. It is responsible for the male physique including sex drive, sperm production, and production of red blood cells.
According to male specialist in Fertility, Sexual Dysfunction, and Erectile Dysfunction, Michael A. Werner, andropause occurs to 2%-5% of men aged between 40 to 49. This figure rises to between 6% and 30% for men between the ages of 50 and 59, 20%-45% for men between the ages of 60 and 69, and 70% for men between the ages of 70 and 79. By the time a man reaches 80 years old, the andropause rate is at 90%. Younger men between the ages of 30 and 40 may also experience symptoms of male menopause.
If you suspect that you are going through male menopause, read on to find out what symptoms to look out for as well as the causes and treatment of andropause.
Symptoms of Andropause
Men undergoing andropause will experience varied symptoms. In fact, not all men will go through any symptoms including low testosterone levels whereas some will have a normal level of testosterone into old age.
Nevertheless, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine has identified low libido, erectile dysfunction, and fewer morning erections as top signs of andropause. Other symptoms listed include:
- Loss of energy. Being unable to walk for more than a mile as well as having trouble completing certain strenuous physical tasks.
- Fat building up around the abdomen and chest
- Excessive sweating
- Hot flashes
- Loss of body hair
- Height loss
- Diminished sex drive
- Reduced body muscle
- Swollen breasts
- Shrunken testicles
- Irritability and moodiness
- Thinning and drying of the skin
- Having difficulty bending, kneeling, or stooping
- Fatigue and depression may also set in as a result of changes in hormonal levels.
Since these symptoms are varied across all men, the only sure way to find out the testosterone levels is to do a blood test.
Diagnosis of Andropause
There is no defined way for a physician to test whether or not a man is experiencing andropause. This is because there is yet no scientific research to back up andropause as a medical condition. However, medical practitioners recommend a blood test to determine the level of testosterone hormones.
A physician will use the symptoms and the test to deduce whether a man is going through andropause. That being said, these symptoms may occur as a result of a wide range of lifestyle and environmental factors or worse, underlying disease.
Causes of Andropause
Generally, as a man starts aging (from the age of 40), he begins to experience a decline in testosterone. The testosterone will decrease at a rate of one percent annually. The older he gets, therefore, the fewer hormones he will have. A normal man has testosterone levels at about 1000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl) but by the time he gets to 80, the levels are at just 200 ng/dl.
The andropause process is a natural one. However, there are certain causes that are thought to trigger or accelerate the effects of male menopause, including:
- Lack of exercise or not being physically active
- Alcohol consumption
- Stress, depression, and anxiety
- Not getting enough sleep.
Andropause could also occur as a result of an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or heart disease.
Treatment of Andropause
Since the symptoms vary from one man to another and there are no set conditions for andropause, treatment is done according to the symptoms that each man experiences.
The doctor will carry out a detailed diagnosis of the symptoms to check if there is any underlying medical condition. The tests include scans, blood tests, and urine tests.
Available treatments for andropause include:
Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)
This is so far the primary treatment for low testosterone. Although it has had a lot of controversy in the past, its recent popularity indicates that it has a high success rate. Obviously, risks are involved, especially for men who suffer from heart disease and prostate cancer.
TRT can be prescribed either as skin patches, gels, injections, pills, or lozenges. Another form of TRT that is usually given as the last resort is the surgically implanted pellets. These pellets release testosterone into the body passively.
Most men will typically notice some relief from the symptoms anywhere between 4 and 6 weeks after starting TRT.
Some men report having found some relief in herbal supplements. However, the safety and effectiveness of these supplements have yet to be medically proven.
Natural Ways to Boost Testosterone Levels
For those who may choose to go the natural way, they would need to adopt a healthy diet with a focus on foods rich in proteins and healthy fats. These foods may be of help:
- Lean beef
- Fortified cereals
To boost your testosterone naturally, you will also need to be physically fit – exercising at least three times a week. Similarly, it will help if you reduce alcohol intake, quit smoking and taking recreational drugs, sleep for the recommended 6-8 hours daily, and manage stress. All these will significantly increase the testosterone levels.
How Long Does Andropause Last?
According to some sources, the effects of male menopause may last as long as 15 to 20 years since the process is gradual. However, if left untreated, the effects may last a lifetime. Some men may feel the discomfort caused by the effects while others may not even notice the gradual changes. As we said earlier, not all men experience andropause, mostly because it is not as dramatic as female menopause.
Quick Facts About Andropause
✔️ There are no sufficient medical studies to qualify male menopause as a diagnosable condition
✔️ Once a man reaches 40, testosterone levels decrease yearly at an average of 1%
✔️ Almost 40% of men over 45 have tested low testosterone levels (International Journal of Clinical Practice)
Learn more about how testosterone therapy can help boost your sexual life and get you back to your youthful vigor. Contact us at Optimal Health for a free low testosterone consultation by calling us at 1-888-763-4221.