Andropause or male menopause are both terms used to describe age-related hormonal changes in males. This stage in life has also been known as testosterone deficiency, androgen deficiency, and late-onset hypogonadism.
Whatever term you use, male menopause involves a drop in testosterone and similar symptoms in men over the age of 50. Unlike the menopause that women experience, male menopause does not affect every single man.
Testosterone is a sex hormone responsible for all the physical changes men experience during puberty.
♦ Growth of body hair
♦ Deepening of the voice
♦ Changes in sexual functioning
♦ Growth of muscle mass
♦ Your levels of this hormone are low before puberty, and as they increase around that time, you become sexually mature.
Male menopause is caused by a reduction in testosterone. Hypogonadism is a common cause for reduced testosterone levels, and this condition can last for years or be life-long.
Testosterone is the hormone required for changes during puberty, and it also fuels the sex drive as well as mental and physical energy in men. This sex hormone also regulates the fight-or-flight response and maintains muscle mass.
The main symptom of male menopause is reduced levels of testosterone, and this can cause many noticeable issues in the body.
♦ Low energy
♦ Increased body fat
♦ Lowered self-confidence
♦ Reduced libido
♦ Reduced muscle mass
♦ Difficulty concentrating
♦ Decreased testicle size
♦ Loss of body hair
♦ Decreased bone density
♦ Erectile dysfunction
These symptoms get worse as you get older, but this is not the case for all men. Unlike female menopause, male hormonal changes do not shut down the reproductive organs, but they can cause sexual complications as a result of reduced levels.
A simple blood test can determine the levels of testosterone in your body, and once diagnosed, treatment can begin. In most cases, treatment for male menopause is successful in restoring the quality of life.
The main problem with diagnosis is getting men to openly discuss the issue. Men are likely to avoid bringing this to their doctor’s attention out of shyness to discuss sexual topics. Without diagnosis and treatment, your symptoms will remain and can get worse with time.
Male menopause is treated with hormone replacement therapy, but this is usually only tried if lifestyle changes do not work. Hormone replacement therapy involves using synthetic testosterone, which can have some drawbacks.
Studies have shown links between hormone replacement therapy in males and an increased risk for prostate cancer. Hormone replacement therapy can be prescribed as:
♦ Tablets or pills
♦ Skin patches
♦ Topical gels
Make sure you discuss all options with your doctor before deciding on a treatment plan.
In cases of hypogonadism, hormone replacement therapy may be the only successful way. Antidepressants and therapy can also be used to treat some of the symptoms of male menopause.
There is no diet to treat male menopause, but what you eat can impact your testosterone levels. There are certain foods that contain ingredients found to boost testosterone levels naturally while also improving your overall health.
Adding these to your diet can help prevent male menopause or help reduce symptoms:
♦ Tuna is full of vitamin D, which has been linked to testosterone production.
♦ Egg yolks are also full of vitamin D to boost testosterone production. Men with cholesterol problems may want to limit egg yolk consumption to one a day.
♦ Fortified cereals are filled with vitamin D and other heart-healthy nutrients to improve overall health and testosterone levels.
♦ Beans are plant-based proteins that are good for your heart and are also full of zinc and vitamin D to boost testosterone if you need it.
♦ Shellfish, specifically oysters, are full of zinc, which is an essential nutrient with regards to sex hormones. Zinc can help keep hormones in check through adulthood.
♦ Beef contains several nutrients that boost testosterone. Beef liver is full of vitamin D, and ground beef contains zinc. Make sure you choose lean cuts to protect your heart health.
Lifestyle changes are a popular way to treat male menopause and have proven to be effective. Your doctor will likely recommend that you try the following:
♦ Eat a healthy and balanced diet
♦ Get regular exercise
♦ Reduce stress levels
♦ Get adequate sleep each night
In most cases, where men adhered to these changes, they reported improvements in their overall health and a reduction in symptoms associated with male menopause. In addition to lifestyle changes, herbal supplements such as DHEA, ashwagandha, and ginger have been found to be effective for age-related low testosterone levels.
♦ Approximately 30 percent of men between 60 and 70 years of age have significantly low levels of testosterone.
♦ Close to 70 percent of men between the ages of 70 and 80 have significantly low testosterone levels.
♦ Hypogonadism is found in 3 to 7 percent of men with low testosterone levels.
♦ Obesity is strongly correlated with male menopause, with obese men having 63 percent lower levels of testosterone
♦ Excessive alcohol consumption causes a 19-27 percent reduction in testosterone levels.
Testosterone is an important hormone in the male body, and reduced levels can have a significant impact physically and psychologically. If you notice a drop in testosterone levels beyond the normal amount associated with aging, make sure to speak with your doctor.
Do not be shy about opening up because you will benefit from the treatment provided. The symptoms of male menopause are manageable, and your doctor can help you devise a treatment program to manage symptoms and improve quality of life no matter how old you are.